Dennis Booker's head jerked, fighting the encroaching fingers of sleep. He rubbed at tired eyes, then leaned forward to listen to the soft, hitched breathing of the man in his bed.
Who the hell would have imagined Doug would have fallen victim to the vicious band of predators they had been stalking? Doug Penhall, for Christ's sake. How had the little bastard's gang managed to take that vigilant cop by surprise?
But they had, hadn't they? Little weasels that they were, they had lain in wait in the shadows where vermin like them liked to hide. The light of day made them scurry into dark and dank holes, afraid that God might see what they had de-evolved into and strike them dead in their stolen shoes.
Doug had volunteered to take his current act to open mike night at the club they had under surveillance. And why shouldn't he? He always cracked up the room wherever he played. That night he began by pounding on the xylophone he'd bought on a whim because Dennis had happened to mention he liked the soft sound of the keys, and Doug found immense pleasure in serenading Dennis. For once being able to publicly say all the words he wanted to say to him every day of his life, but couldn't because cops weren't gay.
Stepping up to the mike, he'd reeled out a new comic act, finishing his act by belting out an off key version of the latest love ballad on the Karaoke play list, all the while gazing deeply into Dennis' dark chocolate eyes. Being an over the top kind of guy, he'd done the whole act dressed up like Batman. He left the stage by swinging from some crazy batrope he'd rigged to surprise the other man...Just to spice up their already salsa hot night life
It was a bittersweet sight, and Dennis had laughed so hard his sides hurt, then fought tears of his own love for the talented comic cop.
The Jumpstreet squad hadn't suspected a thing. Why should they? Two macho men like Booker and Penhall, gay? Not a chance.
The perps, on the other hand, had seen enough. Four hate blind men had caught Doug coming out the stage door. Armed with lengths of rebar they had swooped down on him without mercy. Welts criss-crossed his back as the clothing shredded under the assault, then his back too shredded under the rabid attack. Doug fought back, taking down first one, than another, but as each man fell, his pack came back, their hatred redoubled, their attack all the more vicious.
It was god's mercy that took Doug into the arms of unconsciousness.
It was love, and a sudden hurt in his heart, that screamed Doug was in trouble. Dennis was a man who followed his gut. His shout that something was wrong brought the rest of the squad to that alley in time to prevent tragedy.
The brutal band of bashers were taken down in record time. Doug was the squad's heart. And no one, no one, stepped on the heart and came away clean.
Doug had awakened in the hospital. He'd immediately demanded to be released and against his better judgement, Dennis had taken him home, sitting watch over the man ever since.
The pure terror of waiting was all worth it the moment Doug opened his eyes and smiled at him, saying in a hoarse voice, "Give us a kiss, then."