One More Second in Sanctuary
It felt odd, being there, using a forged passport no less, looking for a single, young man who had run all the way to Edinburgh, Scotland, from his home in Dunedin, New Zealand. A kid that had run away from home, via Auckland and a brief stint in University there. His trail had led him here, to Edinburgh. He had heard much of this city all about how it was so like Dunedin, in school as a youngster. They were right though, Edinburgh city centre was identical to Dunedin, just the pubs and shops had different names. He kept expecting to round a corner and see a familiar face.
Like that one! He thought as he came face to face with someone he never expected to see anywhere, not on any city street anywhere in the world, especially not there!
"Terry Bowers?" Lawless spoke in a rather hushed tone, not too willing to start a fight in public, least of all a fight that might attract the cops.
"Oh, if it isn't Johnny Wilson.. no, wait, it's his long lost cousin, John Lawless, isn't it?" Bowers' voice didn't hold its accustomed rasp of unbridled hate and fury, the tone that Lawless had grown so accustomed to hearing during their long association. Sarcasm, though, was still present in abundance. The cold blue eyes Lawless always remembered about Bowers, seemed now to dance with an inner light. A light that almost drew Lawless into them. He shook his head, as if denying what he was hearing, and looked back to Bowers' face and saw nothing but the familiar angular features he knew of old.
"Whatever! What the fuck are you doin' here? Last I heard, you was going down for a ten to fifteen stretch?" It had been a while since he'd been home himself, but during the odd phone call to Dave or Jodie, he'd thought they might have mentioned something like 'oh, by the way John, Terry Bowers was freed today!' wouldn't they?
"Last I heard you were up on charges of a 'Class A' variety. Now here ya' are, clean passport, able ta' wander free as a bird! Hey, if you can do magic, then so can I!" Terry Bowers made to push past the ex-undercover cop before him, but Lawless moved to block his escape. "You going to arrest me? Got jurisdiction here? Are we undercover again?" Bowers looked up into Lawless' face. The hair was a little shorter, the beard a little neater, but the eyes were as dark and dangerous as always. Despite his direst warnings, his body felt those oh so familiar yearnings for this man, this man who detested him.
"I want to know what you're doing here, walkin' free like you owned the place?" Lawless still kept his voice low, still not wanting to attract attention.
"I live here, cop, what you doing here?" This time Terry stepped backwards, before stepping out over the road. Lawless followed him, that he couldn't do much about, but he put up with it.
"Bowers, wait!" Lawless caught up with his target, and paced him.
"Why should I?" Terry spared him a glance, but that was all. As he turned his face away again, John Lawless saw the scarring around his eye, scars he had put there. That came as a bit of a shock, he hadn't ever bothered about the damage he'd done to the younger man. All he'd done was beat his face to a pulp and leave him for the cops to pick up.
Still Terry walked on.
"What are you doing here? I mean, Edinburgh? It's a bit coincidental isn't it? I mean, you being here, and now I'm here?" Lawless looked ahead, into the direction they were heading. "Where we going?"
"Don't know about you, but I'm going home. Butt-out Lawless, leave me alone!" Bowers walked a little faster, heading back the way Lawless had just come, heading for Princes Street, and the bustling city centre crowds. Crowds that might let him lose his unwanted companion. Crowds that seemed lamentably unco-operative that day, they all seemed determined to part company and let Lawless through.
"Look, can we go some place and talk?" Lawless didn't know why he wanted to talk to Bowers, why was this so damn important to him, but he was willing to go with the flow!
Terry Bowers looked at the ex-undercover cop and snarled, looking so very much like himself, like the Terry Bowers John Lawless knew of old.
"What the fuck, c'm'ere!" He grabbed the trailing detective by his wrist and dragged him towards his favourite bar. It meant pulling Lawless along, damn near hand in hand, up over the bridge over the railway, and down The Mile. Then into his favourite pub. "Sit!" He commanded his countryman, pointing at the nearest empty table.
John Lawless sat, he shuffled in his seat, somewhat embarrassed at being physically dragged through the streets of a foreign city, by a less than stable psycho like Bowers no less.
In a minute or two Bowers had returned to the table, with two pints of dark, heavy ale.
"What is it?" Lawless asked, peering into the depths of his glass.
"Real ale, now shut up and drink." Bowers tipped his head back and took a long draft of the cold ale. "Ah, that's better!" He muttered half a pint later.
Lawless took a tentative sip, then a swallow, then knocked back almost as much as Bowers had. It was a lot stronger than the beers he was used to, but it tasted truly delicious.
"So, you wanted ta' talk, so talk!" Bowers glared at Lawless.
"How did ya' get out?" Lawless asked.
"I walked out. I had ta' go get this operation on my face, see some idiot damaged the nerves in my left eyelid. I woke up way before they expected me too, an' I got up, got dressed an' got outta there..." Bowers looked at his companion. "My turn now, so, how did you get outta the country, you being found guilty of possession of Class A's?"
"They found John Lawless guilty, not Johnny Wilson, ok?" There, he had admitted it, he was in the UK on forged papers. "So, why the UK?"
"Still the easiest place ta' get into, they don't pay too much attention ta' Aussie or Kiwi passports at customs, an anyway, I got a pal in Edinburgh. He's at the Uni here!" Bowers took another long draft of his ale, as did Lawless. "And you?" He asked.
"I'm lookin' for a man." Lawless caught the silly expression on Bower's face and giggled. "Not that lookin' for a man!" he too drank from his pint again.
"So, you still a cop?"
"Nah, Snow did it fer me! I went private, me an' Jodie, ya' don't know her, she was in the car that stopped the other Aussie.. oh, you were well out of it by then." Lawless looked at Bowers' face, at the scar under the younger mans left eye. "Did I really damage your eye, or was it a rouse ta' get outta the poky?"
"Oh, you really did a number on me. Guess I should sorta' be grateful, seeing as how things worked out. So, who you lookin' for then? What's he done?" Bowers drained his glass and less than subtly pushed the empty item over at Lawless.
"One Barry Redpath. His dad's lookin' for him. He did a bunk an' I've been paid a lotta dosh ta' get 'im back for 'is old man!" Taking the hint Lawless stood up, lifted the glasses and leaned over Bowers.
"I take it ya' want another one? What was it anyway?"
"It's from pump four.. they never name it, not this early in the week, it's always the guest mystery beer. Ask for two fours!" Bowers met Lawless' eyes, he looked up into the bigger man's face and again felt that old urge he'd once given into, the urge to kiss the man. He dropped his glance before Lawless might see anything, or so he hoped.
Lawless crossed to the bar, which was rather quiet, it being mid afternoon and the lunch crowd fading fast. He looked at the collection of pumps and saw number four was unnamed, Bowers hadn't been simply yanking his chain.
"Two fours, please." He said to the barmaid, pointing at the appropriate pump.
"No bother. It's been a popular pint this one has, you going to be here when it's named Saturday night? I'd bet damn near anything Terry will be." She nodded her head in the direction of Terry Bowers.
"You know Terry well?" Lawless quizzed the barmaid, smiling at her.
"Sure do, he's a regular in here. Nice guy Terry is, would give you the shirt off his back!" She grinned at Lawless, a decidedly cheeky grin. "But then, you probably know that better than me?" She winked at him, unsettling him slightly. "You known him long yourself?" She placed the first pint of real ale before Lawless and got on drawing the second one.
"Yeah, could say that, we kinda worked together back home." Lawless smiled, trying to not give totally straight answers.
"Well, you must be special then. Terry never talks about his times back home. He prefers to put it all behind him an' just get on wi' his life, ya' know?" She put the second pint down and looked up at Lawless once more, smiling again. "That'll be four fifty?" She told him. Lawless drew out a five pound note and handed it to the barmaid, once he pocketed his change he picked up both pints and made his way back to Terry Bowers.
"Here ya' go!" Lawless put one pint down before Bowers and placed his own in front of himself as he retook his seat. "This is your local then?" He asked, making polite conversation.
Terry had been listening to Lawless chat to the barmaid, his face was a little red as he heard her inferences, and looked up, a little relieved, a little disappointed that Lawless hadn't seemed to take her hints at all.
"Yeah, it's got a nice atmosphere, suits me." Bowers took a little sip of his pint. "Thanks by the way." He took in Lawless' puzzled expression. "For the pint!" He added, for clarification.
"Oh!" Lawless didn't know where to look, so he settled on Bowers hands as they held the aforementioned pint. An uneasy suspicion was forming in his mind, what had the barmaid been alluding to? "You're welcome." He added for politeness sake.
"So, this Barry Redpath, why'd he run? What's he look like? See, I might know him, there's not that large a community of ex-pats here in Edinburgh, ya' know?" Bowers leaned in towards Lawless, cradling his glass in his cupped hands. Hands that John Lawless suddenly noticed had long, slender, supple fingers.
"Ah, yeah, gotta' picture of the bugger, somewhere!" Lawless patted his pockets, searching for his picture, finding it he showed it to Bowers.
"Ow, christ! Him? His old man's found him? You told him he's here yet?" Bowers looked up at the now private detective.
"Why? What's wrong? What'd he done that he ran away? His dad said they'd had a fight about nothing an' Barry just up and left.. I've not actually spoken to the kid yet, but his old man knows he's in the U.K. If not exactly where here, if'n ya' catch ma' drift?" From Terry's agitated state, Lawless knew it was something big, something Mr Redpath senior had failed to mention.
"Yeah, well, not really my secrets ta' tell, are they?" Bowers sat back in the chair and slowly sipped his ale.
"Do you know him well?" Lawless asked, thinking about the barmaid's inferences, he blushed. He also felt a faint stirring of something, something remarkably like jealousy.
"Not that well. I just know him, he hangs with the crowd I hang with, ok?" Bowers looked at the table top, not his companion.
"What you doin' here, Terry?" It felt odd calling Bowers by his given name, odd but nice too, like they were almost friends.
"Haven' a pint with you, whatcha' think I'm doin'?" Bowers' head shot up to look him in the eyes. "Oh, you mean, like what am I doin' here in Edinburgh? Am I still the viscous little thug you put away, and all that?" He laughed, a short, brittle sound.
"Well, are you?" Lawless pressed him for some form of an answer.
"No, yes, yes and no. I'm still, you know, keepin' my hand in, deallin' and the like, just hash an' the like, the 'socially acceptable' stuff, but the heavier stuff? Nah, can't be bothered, after all, I don't really have the contacts and stuff, not here." He laughed, genuinely amused this time. "I actually work for a living. Can you imagine it? Me, going out and working?" He laughed, again, actually amused this time, enjoying the look of disbelief that cloaked Lawless' features.
"Doing what?" Lawless asked.
"I work in an office! Believe it or not, I sit at a terminal and key in data all day long, for good money. I have friends, I have a reasonable income, I have a legit roof over my head, food on the table and friends." He repeated that last word, it was obviously a big thing in his life. "Like Barry, only, I know him as Benny, Benny Rogers, he's at Uni with my friend I mentioned. They're both doin' psychology. Smart buggers, the pair of them!" Terry sat back, drank a little more ale and looked at Lawless. "See, his old man, he did a number on Barry, but good, ya' know? Found out he was gay, didn't take it well, the whole no son of mine shit!" His face closed in, shadowed in anger. "His dad bought the whole macho bull shit comedy show. Typical father, so fuckin' typical. So when Benny, or Barry rather, when he healed up, he headed over here, escapin' he called it. Him an' me both!" And Terry realised just what he'd said, and it was far too late to call it back unsaid. He just sat there, watching Lawless digesting the information.
"You too? Your old man was like that? You're sayin' that you're 'gay' too? You're one of the hardest, meanest, shit ugly natured villains I ever met, an' you're sayin' you're gay?" Lawless didn't shout, he didn't need to, his disbelief was all the more believable simply because it was so damn quiet.
"So what? You can only be a fuck wit if you're straight? Ya' can only be a bad guy if'n ya're a straight, stick it up a whore's cunt, straight guy? Don't tell me, I shoulda' stuck with flower arrangin' and maybe interior designin' an stuff like that? But actual violence, oh, I'd break a nail? Mustn't do that!" Terry leaned forward once more. "Come off it, Johnny whatever you wanna be called, you saw where I lived, where I grew up! Wasn't exactly Ponsonby, was it? Could you see me sayin' not now lads, I'll kick the shit out ya' later, 'cos, see, I gotta go to the flippin' Hero Festival? Can you imagine what it was like? Growin' up where I did? Being that bloody different? Seeing what they did ta' guys like me? I had ta' be harder, tougher, worse than any of them just ta' survive. And when I got the respect, the power, the position, I found that I liked it. Even my old man never came near me ever again. I felt safe, ya' know?"
"Holy shit!" Lawless responded more on automatic pilot than anything else. He sat there, emptying a good half of his pint of ale, just watching as Terry Bowers mirrored the action.
"Now what d'ya' wanna' do?" Terry finally asked.
"Get somethin' ta' eat. I think I've drunk enough of that stuff. Damn, but it's strong!" He placed the now empty glass back on the table and looked slightly unfocused as he looked at Bowers.
"Come on, let's go feed ya' then." Bowers put his empty glass down and stood up, offering a hand to his drinking companion.
"Where ya' got in mind?" Lawless asked, reaching for the proffered hand and getting to his feet.
"My place, it's near here. Hey, I did say I was goin' home, didn't I?" Bowers smiled at the bemused detective. "Look, you've had enough shocks for one day. I promise, I won't try it on, ok? Anyway, who says you're the type I really fancy?" Bowers waggled his eyebrows at Lawless, giggling at the affronted expression on the man's face.
"But you kissed me, once." Lawless clamped his mouth tight shut, but too late, he'd let the genie out of the bottle and there was no way he was going back in.
"I did, din't I." Bowers replied, noncommittally.
"I always wondered, why'd ya' do it? Why'd ya' kiss me?" Lawless whispered again, now that they were outside once more, heading down the long slopping hill that was the Royal Mile.
Bowers stopped walking, he turned to the detective beside him, catching his eye.
"I did it because I wanted to, okay?" Then he started walking again. They were almost at the foot of the hill before either man looked directly at the other. Saying nothing, but indicating their direction Bowers crossed the street, heading for a narrow, green door beside a book shop. He pushed the door open and headed in to the building. Finally, he spoke. "This way, up one floor." Getting there, he put the key in the locked and welcomed John Lawless into his home.
"Jeez, this hasta' be costin' a bundle. Right in the city centre like this." Lawless hung his jacket on the back of a chair and looked out the window. "Some view!" He observed.
"Well, it was kinda costly, took all the money I'd been able ta' bring out with me, but I like it, I love the view, see, look down the hill, see there?" He stood beside Lawless looking out the window, pointing where he wanted the other man to look. "Down there's the Queens Palace, and what remains of old Holyrood Abbey, in the olden days, folks could claim sanctuary there. Stay for a year an' a day and start life free again. It kinds inspires me, ya' know?" He turned away from the view. "You wanted somethin' ta' eat, give us a mo' wontcha'?" Terry Bowers headed for his kitchen and soon the sounds of activity filled the flat.
John Lawless was left looking at the view, the idea of sanctuary appealed to him too. Someplace you could run to and start life over again. Should he leave Bowers to his new life? Listening to the off key whistling from the kitchen he smiled, he'd never thought Bowers could possibly be domesticated. Hell, he could never imagine someone as viscous as Bowers could be a fag.. gay. He deliberately caught himself up and changed the word he was going to use.
Terry Bowers was gay. He was a viscous psychopath in his past life, in this an office bod? Was this possible? He looked back out the window. Sanctuary? A year and a day and whole new life?
And he had kissed him because he wanted to.
Just as that thought crawled into his conscious mind he turned to see Terry Bowers bringing two plates of food out of the kitchen.
"Just noodles and things, okay with you?" He asked, putting both plates down on the coffee table.
"Yeah, sure, fine." Startled from his inner thoughts, Lawless crossed over the sofa where Bowers sat. He sat beside his one time nemesis, side by side and looked at the plate of noodles and things he had before him. It actually looked rather nice. He started eating, it was nice. "Hey, ya' sure can cook!" he smiled, around a forkful of noodles and settled in to eat his meal.
"Ya' never know, maybe, one day, I'll make someone a wonderful wife, hmm?" Bowers giggled at his own observation, teasing an answering laugh from Lawless.
"I havta' admit, I really don' see ya' as the what's it? The bottom? The womanly type." Lawless shrugged. "This friend of yours, the one studying with Redpath, is he... does he live here too? With you sorta thing?" Lawless blushed, deeply, evenly, and looked at his noodles, not Bowers.
"Him?" Bowers was amused, and surprised at the question. "No, he's got a partner, an' they're happy together, they're just friends of mine. I met Tom, my pal, when I first got to the UK. We met up in London, he was staying there for a few days, I met him through a mutual contact, he suggested Edinburgh as a much nicer place ta' make a fresh start than London, and hey, funnily enough, he was right. Nah, I live here alone." Bowers ate on, not actually looking at Lawless.
"You goin' ta' go home? Ever?" Lawless asked, bluntly.
"What for? What waits for me there? Prison, an' when I get out? If I get out? Then what? Back to the only life I had there? I'm sick of it Johnny, there's just nothin' there for me, ya' know?" He looked up into the close scrutiny of the former policeman.
"An' here?" Lawless asked.
"I got a whole new life. I'm Terry Buyers, workin' stiff, pillar of society an' all that. I got friends, I got a home, I got a life Johnny! D'ya' have any idea what that means? Ta' someb'dy like me?" He didn't break eye contact.
"Actually, I can. Like a dream, like a dream I had once. Me, my wife, our boat, an' a long, long summer cruisin' an' then you, an' Snow, an' all that shit. You remember Willy Kaa? Ya' kicked him in the balls?" he waited until Terry nodded. "Well, he has this pal, Paul, he had this sister, Sonya. Snow did her good style, lost her her job, just ta' get at me, and she couldn't take it. She killed herself. Her an' me, we were foolin' around, nothin' serious like, an' for that Snow did for her!" Lawless felt the tears forming again, every time he thought about Sonya the guilt tried to overwhelm him.
"I remember Sonya, nice girl, a nurse wasn't she?" Terry could picture the woman in his minds eye. Nothing really special to write home about, but a very generous, kind girl. She'd even been nice to him, once, though it wasn't his dish of choice, she was sweet.
"Yeah." John sniffed, inelegantly, and roughly brushed at the tears forming in his eyes.
"Hey, it's okay ta' grieve, ya' know?" Terry put his plate down, removed John's from his lifeless hands, pushed the coffee table away and turned to face his guest. He took him in his arms and held him. "I 'knew' Sonya, just about everybody knew Sonya. I didn't know she'd died. Damn it, the worlds a bit colder for that info!" He rested his head on John shoulder, rubbing the upset man's back.
"You 'knew' Sonya?" The question came out as a squeal. "I mean, I thought ya' said ya' were gay?" John Lawless hated the idea of being lied to.
"I am, by choice, but when someone offers ta' be sweet ta' me, an' I feel the urge ta' let them, I can swing either way." Terry blushed, sitting there, in such an intimate position, discussing his sex life with John Lawless was not something he'd ever envisioned for his day off work. "So, now you know all about my sex life, shall we get on to yours? You've been married, slept with Sonya, kissed me, any other guilty secrets?"
As he listened to Terry's silly list of his sexual encounters John began to laugh, he couldn't help it, something about Terry Bowers, Terry Buyers as is, made him smile. This young man was a mile above the other, earlier version. No, he shouldn't go home, Auckland had nothing it could offer him.
"That about covers it actually. I'm just not as flexible as you are." He patted one of Terry's hands, almost awkwardly, but grateful of the support.
"Oh, I don't know, sounds more like less opportunity to experiment, rather than a lack of flexibility." Terry sat up, smiled at the older man, a sad, tight smile. "I'll make us a pot of tea shall I?" At John's nod he went back to the kitchen, leaving John to finish his meal and get himself together again. Finally, John put his plate back down and followed Terry into the little kitchen.
"Hey, where the bathroom around here?" To make his point he sniffed noisily.
"Oh, yeah, here, come'n get the ten pence tour." Terry slid past the bulky man in the doorway.
"Shouldn't that be ten cents?"
"Possibly, but when in Britain, an' all that!" Terry giggled. "They don't use cents an' dollars here do they?" He offered his explanation, and enjoyed the strained groan he elicited. They left the living room. "That was the kitchen and the living room. Here's the spare bedroom." He pushed open the door, exhibiting a room with books by the hundred, in stacks, boxes, on book shelves, a couple of wardrobes, a desk with a PC, and a bed hidden under a mountain of other stuff. Closing the door they walked past two more doors. "Those two doors are cupboards, this is the master bedroom." He pushed open the door to his own bedroom. By contrast it was immaculate. And very comfortable looking. "And finally, the bathroom!" Terry pushed open a half glazed door revealing a surprisingly big bathroom. "Go on, knock yer self out! Tea'll be ready when you are, ok?" He turned back for the living room.
"Yeah, fine, thanks." John closed the bathroom door behind him.
Terry got the tea brewed, took everything through to the living room and sat back down on the sofa, waiting for his guest to appear. It all seemed so strange, so surreal, having John Lawless here, in his home. A shocking reminder to their shared past, a past that showed neither of them up in a good light. Especially him, but at least he'd had nothing to do with Sonya's death, at least nothing direct.
His gloomy, depressing thoughts were interrupted by the living room door opening and Lawless re-entering the room. He looked up and smiled, almost automatically, and John Lawless stood there and smiled back at him, like every dream Terry had ever had about that man, and just as unobtainable.
"How'd'a take it?" Terry asked, turning back to the safe sight of the tea pot.
"Milk an' two ta." John sat down, he saw the body language in the younger man, had seen the desire in his eyes. He looked at Terry while he was busy with cups and things. He wasn't an ugly man, okay the one time they'd kissed he hadn't been prepared for it, he'd been more worried Bowers would find the tap and he'd be out on a limb!
"Here ya' go!" Terry handed him a cup. Taking it, John Lawless put it on the table, smiling his thanks, never looking away from the younger man's face.
Before his nerve could fail him, he reached forwards and drew Bowers towards him, and kissed him. Terry responded, immediately, passionately, then when rational thought caught up with his brain, he pushed John away.
"What cha' go an' do that for?" he asked, barely above a whisper.
"Because I wanted to!" John quoted Terry's own words back at him.
"Damn it Johnny, I don't want any mercy whatever ya're offerin' ok?" Terry pushed himself to the other end of the sofa, retrieving his tea cup with trembling hands.
"I didn't mean it like that!" John blushed, deep to the roots of his hair. Then his eyes shot wide open. "Oh, God, you've got somebody, haven't you? An' I just tried ta' oh shit!" He blushed deeper, if that was at all possible.
"No, I don't have someone right now, no, that's ok, it's you, Lawless. You're a straight guy, an ex-cop for fucks sake. What're you playing at huh?" Terry busied himself with his tea once more. As did Lawless, while he thought his next action through before trying it.
"It's about comfort, about touching another living being. Ow, shit Terry, you've changed. Back home ya' scared the shit outa' me, but here, here where you've found somethin' you seem so different. I just wanted ta' kiss ya' ok?" He too reached for his discarded tea cup.
"Yer technique sucks!" Terry pointed out, then burst out laughing. "Which is more than I suppose you do? Suck, that is!" He grinned at the older man. And laughed in delight when he blushed, again.
"Well, there's always a first time for everything, isn't there?" he laughed, enjoying the surprised look on Terry's face. Especially when the younger man snorted his mouthful of hot tea down his nose in shock.
"You bastard, Lawless, that was nasty!" Terry got up, left the living room, headed for the bathroom and a towel. John followed, he planned to ambush Terry on his way back.
As he left the bathroom, Terry ran smack into John Lawless' chest.
"No bloody wonder you were so bloody good as an undercover cop! I never heard you. What d'ya' want Johnny? Huh?" Terry stepped back to look at the ex-cop.
"You Terry, I want you. Do you still want me?" Again John took the younger man in his arms, this time he dropped his lips to Terry's slowly, let him see all that was happening. This time Terry was ready for his touch and reached up around his neck to pull him close.
The kiss was tender, it was brutal, it lasted for ever and was over in an instant. It was everything and not enough.
"Oh man, this is such a bad idea, ya' know?" Terry looked up at John's face, skimming his eyes with the hottest look John Lawless had seen directed at him in too long a time. Not since Sonya in fact.
"On the contrary, I think this is the best idea I ever had." He lowered his head and kissed Terry again. Deeper, longer, hotter than before. Again Terry pushed him away, slightly, not far.
"Why Johnny? Why me? Why now? You an' Sonya, remember? You're straight, remember?" He whispered, not even sure of just what it was he was asking.
"Yeah, an' you an' Sonya? An' you're gay? Explain it all to me Terry, show me what I'm missing? Show me what Sonya saw in you? There had to be something she thought was worth her time?" he kissed Terry's jawline between questions and comments. Terry tilted his head over to allow better access to the side of his neck.
"Oh God, Johnny Wilson, I swear, if you don't stop right now, I'm going to take you!" Terry gasped.
In response John Lawless kissed him again.
"Then do it, Terry, keep your promise." John guided Terry to door of the master bedroom. "Invite me in!" He begged.
"Fuck!" Terry whispered.
"I intend to!" John promised him, licking his lips in anticipation.
"Would you come to bed with me?" Terry whispered, defeated.
"Love to!" John pushed the door open, guiding Terry over to the bed, pushing him down onto it, following him, covering his slighter frame with his own, broad muscular body. "Kiss me?" He asked, right before he closed his mouth over Terry's one more time. ___
The afternoon sun warmed the room, bathing the bed in a soothing glow as each man lost piece after piece of clothing. Hands touched, explored, teased and pleasured. Lips kissed and trailed and tasted. Soon enough it was time for Terry to instruct John in the finer arts of fucking a man.
"In the drawer, there, you'll find a packet of condoms and a tube of lube, can you get them out for me?" He stroked one finger down John's chest, dragging a nail over a very sensitive nipple.
"Yeah, sure, this drawer?" John reached for the nearest drawer he could reach, opened it, found what he had been asked for, and drew out the requisite objects. "How are we goin' ta' do this?" He asked. Not giving Terry the chance to answer immediately because his mouth was fully occupied in a deep French kiss.
"Easy, you do me, please?" Terry fussed with the packet of condoms, spilling them over the bed. "Damn, I'm all fingers and thumbs here." He laughed, more of a warm, throaty chuckle than anything else. "C'mon then, help out a bit here, wont'cha'?"
Getting over his slight embarrassment at the sight of all those condoms scattered over the bed, John started to pick them up too. Until he reached for the same one Terry grasped for, and their hands met, holding hands, holding the little package between them, both men looked up, meeting eyes, both amused. All tension between them gone, for now.
"Seems this is the one destined for us?" John smiled, relaxing, happy to finally realise that Terry was just being careful, looking after his own health, and maybe his too. If they got that far? "So, now what shall we do?" He drew Terry's hand up to trail kisses from wrist to shoulder.
"Damn it, Johnny, but you're about he most romantic arse I've met in a too long a time!" Terry smiled, pulling John down so he could kiss him. Once the kiss finished, both men giggled at his choice of words.
"Hey, what's the ultimate Kiwi compliment?" John asked, totally out of the blue, startling Terry into rolling backwards, trying to foresee the punchline.
"Dunno' go on, surprise me." Terry replied, stroking the beautiful body before him.
"You'll do!" John told him. Terry burst out laughing, too able to hear just those very same words, having been on the receiving end of them too damn often.
"Wanna know the ultimate Scottish compliment?" He finally managed.
"Yeah, go on, surprise me." John managed a remarkably good imitation of Terry's voice.
"Not bad!" Terry told him. "Or, if you're truly splendid. That's okay, you know."
"Oh, but we're all masters of the romantic dialogue, aren't we?" John silenced any immediate reply with another kiss. Terry didn't rush to respond to anything but those lips on his.
"Yeah, an' as a great romantic once said, fuck me?" Terry didn't lie down, but stood up and finished getting undressed.
"It will be my pleasure." John knelt up on the bed, making his lips on a level with Terry's shoulders. He kissed the nearest one, softly, and helped Terry's suddenly directionless fingers with his belt and jeans. Slipping the heavy cotton material over slender, almost boyish hips. Sitting on his heels John kissed Terry's belly, finally he stroked one naked hip. Tenderly. Looking up, he caught the soft smile Terry gave him, he smiled back. "My turn, I think." He stood and stripped off, letting Terry see him in his whole, naked, glory. "Well, will I do?"
"You'll do." Terry told him, grinning. "Come're?" He took John's hand and pushed him down onto the bed , pulling the blankets and sheet out of their way first, this time.
Naked skin met naked skin, for the first time in his life John Lawless felt the touch of a naked man blanketing him. Not just any man either, but Terry Bowers of all people, and he loved it. To show how much he loved it, his cock filled out, harder than ever before, pressing into Terry's belly as the younger man slid down slightly, to nibble John's nipples.
Terry looked up, then down at the straining tip of John's cock.
"For me?" He asked, grinning at the older man. Then he took a great delight in drifting lower, to lick the tip of that hard cock.
John gasped out at the sensations flooding his body and mind.
"Oh, damn, Terry!" He had never known another man could drive him that wild, to that point of no damn return.
"We're getting there, Johnny, we're getting there." Terry dragged himself back up John's almost tortured body. "We've gotta get me ready now, ok?" He watched John as his sweat soaked head nodded, cascading his long dark hair about as he did so. "This is what we gotta' do." He whispered into John's ear, telling him of the next stages.
"Doesn't that hurt?" John's eyes widened alarmingly at Terry's instruction.
"Not for me, not these days. In the early days it did, I'll not deny it, but that's why I'm the one being fucked, an' you're the door prize that's doing the fucking." Terry rolled over, lifting himself up and sliding a pillow under his belly. "Remember, there ain't no such thing as too much lube, until yer date slides clean off the bed that is!" He laughed at his own joke. It took John a moment or two, but he began to relax again, and he finally got the joke.
Gently, he followed Terry's instructions, to the letter. Watching the younger man as his face mirrored the delight he was experiencing. Terry almost glowed in his sensual, sexual thrall.
"Man, you're beautiful, ya' know?" John whispered, kissing the side of Terry's neck, his shoulders, all down his spine, nipping delicately on the upraised buttocks. All the while he was stretching, readying Terry, just as he had said to.
"Oh, fuck, you sure you ain't done this afore?" Terry purred, there was no other word to describe the tone the younger man used. Like a big, sleek cat, he purred in delight.
"Na! Just naturally talented, is all." John saw four fingers disappear into Terry's body. "You ready for me?" He whispered, almost awe struck at the next stage in his lessons in loving Terry.
"Damn, yeah!" Terry moved, breaking contact with John's hand, getting up onto his knees, he pulled John up too. "Here, let me help." Terry opened the condom and began to put it on John's hard cock.
Knowing what was coming next, John shivered in anticipation, he gave Terry a hand getting the condom on himself. Finally, he was ready, Terry was ready, and they would be joined, the possessor and the possessed. Only, he couldn't rightly say which of them was which, nor could he say if it mattered either way.
John was kneeling behind Terry, seeing his own cock, disappear into Terry's arse, taking the smaller, younger man. It was an indescribable sight. Yet, looking up and away from Terry, into the big mirror that covered the outside of the wardrobe door, at the foot of the bed, that was erotic in the extreme. Watching himself, giving sexual pleasure, and taking it. Seeing Terry's face, clearly, contorted with delight, with pleasure, knowing it was his body putting that vision there. Watching himself pull almost out of Terry's body, just to plunge right back in, damn near had him coming right there and then. He had to shut his eyes against the mirror images, against the look of joy on his own face, fit to rival the look on Terry's. Then he came, along with Terry, one triggering the other.
"FFFFFUUUUCCCCKKKK!" John screamed, he would swear to his grave that he screamed, but it only felt like that, his cry hissed in Terry's ear, making the younger man smile even wider.
"Yeah, fuck!" Terry eventually managed to agree with John's sentiment.
They collapsed onto the sun drenched bed, still together, still touching, caressing, holding on to what they could reach of the other.
"Bloody hell, Terry, is it always that intense?" The question was whispered into Terry's lips, right before he was gently, though thoroughly, kissed.
"Only the very best for my lovers." Terry joked, between kisses.
"So, what you're sayin' is I'm one of your lovers now? One of how many Ter?" John pretended to glare at the younger man he had trapped beneath him.
"One of a field of one, Johnny, one of one." Terry smiled and just lay there, enjoying the sheer physical presence of the bigger man.
"Just so's I know, ya' know." John went back to kissing Terry.
Three days later, John had finally spoken to his client's estranged son, and had come up with something he could tell Mr. Redpath, a plausible lie. It was time to leave, to head back home, so say good bye to Terry, and it was proving harder than he ever imagined it could. That Terry Bowers of all people could hold him in thrall like this?
Terry stood on the railway platform beside John Lawless, Johnny Wilson, whomever he wished to be, to him, now, he was his lover. And he was leaving. Terry could feel the tears threatening, he could see the same tight emotional torture playing out on Johnny's face too. Both knew Johnny couldn't stay, both knew it was killing them waiting for him to go.
"I want to kiss you." Johnny whispered.
"Me too." Terry tried to smile, it was strained, but showed willing.
"So, how do you feel about public displays of affection?" The detective asked.
"Dunno' nobody ever wanted ta' share one with me b'fore." Terry squinted into the bright sunlight as he looked up into Johnny's face, trying to see his lover's intent.
John Lawless leaned down and kissed Terry.
"You take care, ok?" He told him as he broke that intimate contact.
"You too, there's more folk'll be after your butt these days than mine!" Terry replied, leaning in against John's strong body.
"She'll be right!" John told him, their eyes met and neither could stop the laughter from bubbling up.
"Away with you, you mad Kiwi bastard." Terry giggled, the high pitched sound of happiness John would forever associate with Terry Bowers, or rather Terry Buyers.
"Yeah, you too, ya' equally mad Kiwi bastard." Just then the train arrived. "Looks like this is me then." John turned to the train, waiting for the disembarking passengers to clear the way.
"E-mail me when you arrive, let me know ya' got there safe." Terry asked, slipping his hand into John's.
"Too right." John squeezed the hand, gently. "Ya' know I'm not gonna tell a soul where ya' are, dontcha'?" He smiled, tenderly at his young lover.
"'Course not, if'n ya' did somethin' that loco I'd never make love ta' ya' again. An' you'd have no where to run to, no sanctuary."
"Hey, Ter, does that make ya' Quasimodo?" John teased.
"Only if'n you're Esmarelda." Terry helped carry his lover's bags to the train. Once he was on board, John turned, to watch Terry out of the window. Both tried to smile, neither really managed it. As the train began to pull out of the station on the first leg of John's journey home, it felt as if he was leaving home behind him.
It had been six months since John Lawless had come into Terry's life again. Six months of long e-mails, the very occasional, and emotional, phone call. At least once a week they would write to each other, messages full of missing each other, full of hurt and joy. Now, for the last three weeks, there was nothing. No e-mails. No letters, no phone calls. To Terry it all spelled one thing. Johnny had finally found someone else. Some other body to cling to. Probably a woman, maybe even that tart, Jodie Keane!
So there he was, a twenty seven hour flight later, Terry Buyers was once more standing on home soil. Standing outside the offices of The Private Investigations Agency, Limited. The bloody stupidest name for a detectives agency Terry had ever heard about, and he should know, he was an expert on being bloody stupid. After all, he was only there, about to face his worst fears, risk his future, his freedom, just because he went and fell in love.
He took a deep breath, pushed open the door and walked in. Hoping to God that no one who actually knew him would be on the inside. Luckily there wasn't. The outer office was empty, a gently steaming cup of tea sat on the desk before him, rather suggesting where the desks normal occupant was.
"Erm, SHOP!" he called out, then cocked his head to one side to listen for a response. A fast rush of water confirmed his suspicions as being very well founded. He looked up in time to see a pretty, petite blonde leave the toilet.
"Oh, sorry, got caught short." She blushed, nervously. "How can I help you?" She asked, as she dashed behind her desk again.
"I want to see John Lawless, is he available." Terry remained in control of his temper, but only just. This woman was the infamous Joadie Keane, his arch rival, and he hated her with every ounce of emotion he possessed.
"Is this new business?" Joadie looked quickly at the man before her desk, then let her eyes fall away, unable to mask her concerns.
"Personal. It's in relation to his time he spent in the UK earlier in the year." He kept his voice cold, calm, lacking in inflection, almost menacing.
"Oh, I see... Erm, well, Mr... oh, what did you say your name was?" Jodie cast a lightening quick glance at this strange man, somehow she felt intimidated by him. He couldn't be more and a year or two older than herself, but he seemed a lifetime ahead of her in experience.
"Buyers." Terry told her, gauging her reaction to the name, there was none, Johnny had kept his word and said nothing about them, about him.
"Well, Mr Lawless is in hospital, he was shot three weeks ago.. he's on the mend but it was..." She stopped talking, suddenly aware that Mr. Buyers was hardly listening to her. "Mr. Buyers, are you alright?" She asked, standing to face him.
"Which hospital is he in?" Terry's voice was so quiet, so shocked, Jodie had to strain to hear him.
"The Auckland... Ward.. hey, don't ya' want ta' leave a contact number for when he gets out?" She shouted after the rapidly retreating back of the mysterious Mr. Buyers.
All Terry could think about was Johnny being shot, being hurt and he had never known about it. Johnny had kept his secret so bloody well, he'd almost taken it to the grave with him. He hailed a taxi and directed the driver to take him to the Auckland. Nervously, he watched the streets go by, looking at familiar sights, untouched by glimpses of familiar scenes. Too wrapped up in his anger and fear. Fearful that he hadn't known Johnny was hurt, angry that that bitch, Jodie Keane had been there. Been there, holding Johnny's hands, giving him the comfort and support he simply couldn't.
He wiped a tear off his face, pouting in his annoyance with himself, for his selfish thoughts, for his fears. Suddenly the Taxi driver spoke to him, threatening his hard fought for composure.
"Ya' ok there, mate?" The voice drifted back to him, genuinely concerned.
""Just fuckin' drive!" Terry snarled at the poor man. The tone worthy of his former self, the one that had fought hard and lived hard on this city's streets. One day back and he was sounding almost like his old self. He felt a little guilty at the drivers startled look in the mirror, yet, he still wouldn't apologise.
Once they reached Park Road, Terry fished out some money for the fare, eager to get out that taxi and into the hospital. Slamming the door wide open, he almost threw the money at the driver, and dashed into the main reception area. Calming himself down by sheer will power, he politely enquired where John Lawless was located. Once given the relevant information he ran off to face John, to look at him, see he was alive, reassure himself that he would continue to live. Then he'd give him what for, for scaring him like this. And if he called him Jodie, before he opened his eyes, he'd rip his fuckin' heart out!
That thought made him smile. Looking at his own face in the mirrored walls of the lift, he had to admit to himself that he did look somewhat vicious when he smiled like that.
When he pushed the door to John's room open, slightly, he heard sounds of a muffled conversation from within the room. Slowly he opened the door wider, until he could see John's face, turned to talk to the man who sat beside his bed, with his back to the door. John couldn't help but see him. He didn't smile, he didn't grin. Terry could feel his heart pounding, as if it didn't know whether to break or explode. John fell back, looking exhausted, onto the crisp white pillows of his hospital bed and coughed, dramatically.
"You ok John?" The other man asked, standing, awkwardly patting his friends shoulder.
"Yeah, Dave, just tired, I don't seem ta' have much energy these days, ya' know? I'll be all right, why don'tcha' head back ta' the station? Go save us all from nasty criminal types an' all that." He smiled at his visitor, as well as at Terry, warning his lover to avoid his friend.
Relieved, Terry smiled back at him and retreated down the corridor a little, watching John's door. Watching the big, bulky copper leave, he remembered him, he was the one Johnny had punched on that raid, the very day he'd kissed him. Sure that the cop was gone, he ventured forward, closing the door firmly behind him.
"Johnny?" He asked, a world of questions in a single name.
"Terry, shit, Terry, what're ya' doin' here? Not that I don't want ta' see you, hold you? Damn, Dave ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer but even he'd recognise ya', oh, fuck, Terry, c'mere!" John reached up to pull Terry to him, and they kissed. Six months apart, almost the grave between them. John poured out his longings in that kiss, Terry shared his fears.
"Damn, I didn't even know you'd been shot. Your Jodie told me. I went ta' yer office ta' see ya'. I had ta' see ya', to hear from you yourself why ya' hadn't contacted me. Not one word in three weeks, an' I find this? You've been hurt an' I didn't know! I thought you were seeing that Jodie, or some other woman, that, that.. oh, shit Johnny, don'tcha' ever do this to me again, ya' hear me?"
"Loud and clear." John grinned as he looked up at Terry. He knew just how much Terry was risking, just to come and see him like this. "How long you staying?"
"Only a few days, the less time I'm here the safer it is, an' all that." Terry stroked John's hair, his much shorter, close cropped hair. "At least ya' kept the beard." And again he dropped to kiss John's mouth.
"Damn, Ter, I don't get out till the week end. You come all this way, an' I don't even get ta' fuck. Fuck!" he added the swear word to vent his feelings, his frustrations.
"How about a compromise? I go wait, say, in Wellington? In a nice motel, you come and join me when ya' get out. An' we say a proper good bye before I head back here ta' go back. How does that sound? No body knows me in Wellington. An' it's far enough away from here to cut out accidental sightin's or stuff like that." Terry touched John's face, tracing the contours, as if memorising his features.
"But you stay quietly, no dealing, no takin' risks, ok?" John, kissed Terry's finger tips as they traced over his lips.
"Deal." Terry whispered, kissing him, running his hands down beneath the hospital blankets, only to encounter a large wound dressing over John's belly.
They looked at each other. Both suddenly aware of their own mortality.
"If you'd died, I'd have never known." Terry wiped a tear away with his free hand, still lightly touching the wound in his lovers' belly with the other hand.
"I'll change that. I'll leave instructions, that if ever I'm hurt, ever again, you'll be informed. Ok?" John looked at Terry, long and hard, there was no way he could ever promise not to get hurt, not in his line of work. Just as he saw there was no way Terry would ask him to change his work either.
"It'll have ta' do, won't it?" He smiled, shakily.
"Still love me then?" John asked, cheekily.
"You'll do." Terry replied.
Two months after their stolen weekend, John Lawless found himself the proud possessor of a return air ticket, taking him back to Edinburgh. His compensation money from his injury, not actually sustained in his work, so his insurers had paid out, had finally come in. He'd not told anyone about it, but somehow Dave had known. He was standing there, beside him, in the airport, waiting for his flight to be called. Detective Constable Dave Bruford was there, to wave off a man he knew was travelling on a forged passport, and John knew he was perfectly safe. Dave was a mate, he understood. He felt better knowing he had mates like Dave, but he did kind of wish he were travelling with Terry instead. This time was such a contrast from the last time he'd been in this airport, seeing Terry off, back to safety, back to Edinburgh. This time there wouldn't be a tearful farewell, this time no one would kiss him good bye. And if he tried, he knew full well Dave would punch him one, and no light tap either. Unable to help it, John laughed at the very idea of kissing Dave.
"I don't know why ya' want ta' waist your money going to Edinburgh, I mean, Scotland, off all places? It's bleedin' winter there, bloody cold all the year round, just fuckin' cold now! Why there? What's in Edinburgh?" Dave looked at him, as if not really expecting an answer, at least not one he would understand. Dave was a solid bloke, a true, loyal friend, he just didn't have any imagination.
"Sanctuary, Dave, sanctuary's in Edinburgh." John smiled, a happy smile, full of longing.
"Who is she? This woman you're going ta' go see? Hasta' be a woman!" Dave felt pleased with himself, he'd finally managed to surprise John Lawless, he'd have to write this day up in his diary!
"Terry Buyers." John admitted, truthfully, knowing a name alone was no great give-away. Knowing Dave would hear it as Terri.. a woman's name.
"G'donya' mate, go for it. See ya' when ya' get back, ok? You tell your Terri I said she's to take good care of ya' ok?" Dave patted John on the back and headed back out of the airport.
A day and a half later, a tired, but happy, John Lawless opened the door to a first floor flat, above a book shop. All was quiet in the early morning. Silently, he eased the door shut, and tip toed into the master bedroom. Slowly, not making any noise, he stripped off, carefully he pulled back the heavy quilt covering Terry's bed. As he slipped his cold body against Terry's hot one, his lover awoke with a start.
"What the fu.." He looked over his shoulder at the maniacally grinning face he saw there. "Johnny!" He rolled over, taking his lover in his arms. "Bloody hell, Johnny, yer freezin'!" He snuggled closer. "Ya' shoulda' let me know ya' were comin'. I coulda' been at the station, or the bloody airport, I coulda' met you."
"No problem, Ter, I kinda' wanted ta' surpise ya'."
"That you bloody well did all right. I hope my reaction was worth the effort." He grinned, kissing John's jawline, his ears, what ever part of John's face he could reach.
"You'll do!" John said, just as he claimed his mouth in a bruising kiss...