Mac lay awake in the dark. The heavy curtains ensured that only minimal light would disturb his slumbers and the double glazed windows did their best to reduce the sounds of the city outside. But it had been neither light nor sound that had woken him from his sleep, but instead a trigger of one of his other senses. His searching hand had found an empty space beside him where by rights, by that time of night, he should have been joined by his partner.
Mac wasn’t worried, at least not at first. If there had been any peril which had kept his lover from him, somebody would surely have alerted him by now. No, it was likely just his partner’s dedication to duty that was responsible for Mac’s current state of solitude.
Mac was on the threshold of falling back into his slumbers, and indeed might already have dozed off when he became aware that he was no longer alone in the room. It wasn’t a sound, more a change in the atmosphere that had initially alerted him, and then there was a rustling of fabric as clothes were shed and replaced. Finally, the bedclothes that shielded him from the chill of the night were lifted slightly and a shapeless form crawled in beside him.
“You okay?” asked Mac, gently.
The figure beside him jumped as if he had been shocked, before slowly relaxing against him.
“Sorry Mac,” said Don, his voice giving testament to his exhausted state. “Didn’t mean to wake you.”
“I wasn’t asleep,” said Mac, as he reached for his partner and pulled him into an embrace. Breathing in the familiar scent, he let his hands make a superficial check to confirm that his Don was safe and had returned to him intact, at least physically. “Bad case?” he added softly, the words more a statement than a question.
“Yeah…pretty bad…don’t want to talk about it.” Don’s voice was muffled as he buried his face in Mac’s chest.
“Then you don’t have to,” said Mac, “I understand.” His hand stroked Don’s hair.
And they knew that they understood each other in the darkness and in the light and in every shade of grey between. In a few hours they knew they’d both have to get up again and face whatever troubles the next day would bring. But for now, it was just the two of them and whatever had to be faced, they knew they’d be facing it together.