Fandom: Invisible Man

Pairing: Bobby/Darien

Spoilers: probably. Who cares?

Rating: Hard M for language, adult concepts

Disclaimer: No owning, no selling, promise. If you ever find anyone who made a cent from writing fan fic, let me know who figured out how to without getting the lawyers' drawers in a bunch about it. In the meantime, it's safe to assume that I am not profiting. Simply borrowing some underused boys for some fun and games. I'll put them back when I'm done.

Pop Quiz

By Suz

Darien shifted uncomfortably, the van's old bench seat lumpy with sprung springs and worn padding. This stake-out thing was getting seriously old. This was week two of an ongoing investigation about which he personally couldn't have cared less. Janitorial supplies? Could the Fat Man possibly sink any lower in his pimping of the Agency's finest? I mean, come on. Not even the wildest stretch of the imagination could possibly link this case with the current national security craze. He shook his head ruefully, cast one last glance out the window at the warehouse that he'd come to call 'home' and then eyed his partner's profile. Hobbes was focused as always, mini binoculars held before his eyes as he scanned the area for any signs of activity.

That there was none, by this time came as no surprise to Darien. Or Bobby, either, he'd be willing to bet. He heaved a sigh, hoping to spark some sort of comment from his partner. It failed, as had pretty much every other conversational gambit he'd put forth in the past 3 days. Hobbes was irritable in the extreme and their close, ongoing confinement together was wearing on both of them. Darien, however, was willing to be it wasn't for the same reasons. Not the same reasons at all.

OK. This was getting him nowhere. Glancing around at the detritus that littered the van's cab, he spotted the crumpled brown paper bag at his feet. He reached down, grabbing and opening it, pouring the contents into his lap. He sorted through the collection of mail he'd brought along when Hobbes had come to collect him that morning, opening bills, scanning the junk mail for anything interesting, then finally tearing open the opaque gray mailing wrapper of his favorite magazine.

He'd debated a long time over whether or not to reveal this particular eccentricity to Hobbes, and had finally decided that he wasn't going to make much in the way of progress towards realizing his favorite wet dreams if he didn't start somewhere. At the very least, it'd let him know in no uncertain terms what Hobbes' opinion of homoerotica was.

As usual, the cover featured a mostly unclad studly hunk of masculine perfection, this one not dissimilar in build from Bobby, though naturally with a full head of hair, and Darien relished the thought of some quality masturbatory time with this month's centerfold.

He scanned the cover's headlines, noting the article on gays in prison, the top 10 homo-friendly cities in the country, the assorted top male porn models featured in the current issue, and the catch phrase; "Pop quiz: How well do you know him?"

Now that sounded interesting, and he flipped open the magazine, scanning the abundant, exposed male flesh in passing, until he reached the correct page. He read the introductory few paragraphs with scant attention, then browsed the list of 7 questions. Hardly a daunting number, given that it claimed to be the basis for honesty in a relationship. Not that many gay men, or even bisexual ones, were interested in relationships, if magazines like this were any sort of accurate cultural barometer.

Darien was still unsure where he stood on the issue of relationships, but one thing he was sure of: his partner, Bobby Hobbes, turned him on. Big time. More than that, he couldn't even imagine a day in which he didn't spend 80 of it in the little tiger's company. It was way more than the simple lust, though that was part of it, and a welcome one, given he hadn't felt that way about anyone since his disastrous courtship of his former girlfriend. It was the fact that they seemed able to talk about nearly anything together. No subject was off limits. Darien had enough faith in that comfort to push the limits a bit further than he had ever before.

"Hey, Hobbesy. Pop Quiz. Describe your favorite sexual position."

That got Bobby's attention in a way nothing else had for days. "What?" he asked, clearly non-plussed.

"You heard me, describe your favorite sexual position," he repeated, wagging his eyebrows at Bobby, who had lowered his binoculars in surprise and was starting at Darien bemusedly.

"I heard you, I just don't see what that's gotta do with a stake-out," he said shortly, raising the glasses to his eyes again. Only, Darien caught the slight tremor of his partner's hand.

"Call it a way to kill time while we wait for 'Mr. Clean' to show up," Darien suggested dryly.

The binoculars came down again and Hobbes threw him a skeptical look, reaching over with his free hand to flip up the magazine Fawkes held so that he could see the cover. "'Men'?" Hobbes queried, voice flat.

Darien couldn't tell if his choice of reading material had shocked his smaller partner or completely failed to impress. So he grinned and nodded. "It beats Penthouse for raunchy," he said impishly.

And was rewarded with a luminous glint in Hobbes' amber-brown eyes. "That it does," he agreed.

Darien's heart skipped a beat before accelerating into hyperdrive. Hobbes knew this magazine. Personally. Oh, man. Talk about serendipity. His grin widened. "So what is it?" he pressed.

"What is what?"

"Your favorite sexual position," Darien grinned, knowing the day's boredom had just been banished.

"Wouldn't you like to know," Hobbes responded sarcastically as he raised the glasses coyly.

"Yeah, I would, actually, "Fawkes grinned wider. "So spill it."

Bobby considered this in all seriousness, still processing the startling revelation that he and his partner had one more, rather unexpected, thing in common. He had to give the kid credit for balls. The casual perusal of a gay erotic magazine he himself subscribed to in plain sight, in broad daylight, well, that won points for both honesty and ingenuity.

The fact that his partner shared his refusal to limit his romantic, or at least sexual, prospects to one or the other gender won him some additional points, too, and all in all, Bobby considered the day, indeed the whole to-date pointless stakeout, suddenly worth his time. He mulled over the question, wondering if Fawkes was actually ready for the answer to this, or any other of the questions the magazine proposed. Even the split-second glimpse of the cover had betrayed the sex quiz inside those titillating pages, which meant at least a dozen provocative questions still awaited exploration.

"You really wanna know this?" he asked Fawkes, lowering the glasses again, one eyebrow arched inquiringly.

"What, you think I could care less how you like to fuck?" his partner quipped.

Hobbes blinked at the sudden turnabout, until Fawkes' teasing tone clued him in that sarcasm was a double-edged sword. That little tidbit swayed his decision and he smirked slightly, prepared for anything. He shrugged, and returned his binoculars to his eyes nonchalantly. "Then don't ask," he replied pleasantly.

There was a minute or two of frustrated silence from the other end of the van's bench seat.

Bobby stifled a grin that fought his conscious control, and eventually relented. "I dunno, it's kindova tough choice. I guess it depends a little on who I'm with. Male, usually doggy style. You get the best penetration that way. Better for them, better for me. Women, well I want what they like best, so it's a crap shoot, most of the time. Gotta admit, though, I like it when a chick rides me. Takes control and makes sure she gets what she wants."

He didn't lower the field glasses to check on the sort of reaction this had received, the audible gulp from the opposite side of the van a good indication that his point had been made.

A few moments later, he went on. "But I guess the old reliable is still the best bet. At least with someone I'm serious about. I wanna see their face when I do the deed. When I fuck 'em for all I'm worth."

The sputter of laughter from his partner made his mouth twitch in the effort to suppress the grin that threatened to split his face, along with his chance to turn the tables on his smart-aleck partner.

"You're kidding me, right?" Darien asked incredulously.

Hobbes made no response, exercising the control learned over years in the espionage business. He thumbed the focus wheel of the binoculars casually as if striving for a clearer view.

"Hobbes. The missionary position?" Fawkes demanded, still clearly shocked at this pedantic choice.

"Hey, don't knock it 'til you try it, my smooth-talkin' friend. When's the last time you actually fucked someone you cared about?" Bobby asked pleasantly.

This time, the silence was… painful. Bobby gritted his teeth unhappily, knowing that had been a low blow. He lowered the binoculars and turned to face his partner, ready to accept responsibility for an unfair snipe.

Fawkes was staring out the windshield of the van blankly, his thoughts obviously a million miles away.

"Fawkes. Hey, kid. I… I was tryin' to make a point there, hotshot. There's a reason the classics are classics, right? I mean; Mister king of the Clif Note, you seen every basic scenario there is. But when you care about someone, well, at least for me, I wanna see them. Wanna know I'm the only thing they're thinking of. Wanna know that I'm the one they're fantasizing about while we fuck. Hell, kid, sex is 80 mental, 20 physical. It's the mental part that really gets you off, big time. Tell me I'm wrong, Fawkes."

This time the silence was contemplative, even if 'hurt' still infused it. Damn, but he was keyed into Fawkes if even the kid's speechlessness could be correctly interpreted.

"When you screwed what's-her-name, the Casey dame, tell me you didn't do it missionary style most of the time. Maybe I'll even believe you." He didn't look away from his partner, knowing that Darien Fawkes was nothing if not a romantic. He had a soft spot for people he cared for a mile wide. That, and the foot-thick calluses Darien had in some other areas of his life, were what made day-to-day life with his partner interesting.

Fawkes considered this, and unlike most of his partnerships, Bobby was reasonably certain that Darien really was thinking about the question instead of framing a reflex denial.

"OK, maybe, yeah. But it's not exactly excitement central, most of the time, is it?" Fawkes asked rather sharply.

"Speak for yourself, Romeo," Bobby responded. "Excitement is a state of mind, my boring friend."

Fawkes' indignant exhalation spoke volumes. "State of mind? he demanded.

"Yeah," Bobby reiterated. "Mind. Like mind over matter. That kinda stuff. Your mind is the biggest sex organ you got, pal. The sooner you start thinkin' about it that way, the faster you're gonna get laid."

"Hobbes. Hobbesy. Anyone ever tell you you are fulla shit?" Fawkes asked with suitable mock-seriousness.

"All the time, partner, all the time," Bobby grinned at Darien smugly. "So… What's yours?"

Darien debated whether or not to be honest - or go for shock value. He decided on honesty, mostly because the stirring in his pants made him wonder if this conversation might, just possibly, lead to an evolution in his partnership with Hobbes. Well, that and the fact that Bobby had clearly been forthright with him, when he'd finally answered the question. Never let it be said that Darien Fawkes could be bested in the true confessions department.

He pondered his top options, wondering which to pick as his favorite, then mentally shrugged. Since Hobbes had voiced several, then so could he.

"Like you said, it depends who I'm with. Guys, well, I like the full frontal rub-off, you know, classic frotage. Something about feeling another guy's dick along mine just does it for me… But I gotta say, I'm an oral kinda guy," he qualified himself with a slight smirk in Hobbes' direction.

"No kidding," Bobby responded dryly. "The amount of gum you chew, not to mention the cheese burgers you chow down on, that's not exactly breaking news, slim."

Darien made a face at his partner. "You wanna hear this or not?" he demanded with a hint of his trademark whine.

Hobbes grinned and shrugged. "Hey, there, wiseguy, you're the one who brought it up. I was just agreein' with ya."

Darien paused a moment, then elected to go on. "I like goin' down," he said succinctly.

Hobbes waited a moment, then nonchalantly returned the binoculars to his eyes, apparently assuming Darien was finished. Damn. So that hadn't been enough of a hint, clearly. Darien decided to indulge himself, to see if he could tease his partner into betraying his interest in the topic.

"You know how the head tastes? The sort of salty-bitter taste? Well, that's gotta be one of my favorite flavors. It's up there with chocolate. And I like the way the skin on a dick kinda stretches and wrinkles when I lick it… And I love it when a guy is cut. Man, a slick, smooth head, that really gets me going. And they aren't as likely to go off on me before I can really give 'em a good going over. " He paused, eyeing his apparently oblivious partner out of the corner of his eye, watching for any hint that this was messing with Bobby's self control. Damn. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. This was shaping up to be more of a challenge than he'd figured on. "And that big vein underneath… Oh, and the hair on his balls. Not too much, just enough to kinda tickle my tongue. And the way a guy smells, when you get your nose right into his pubes."

He was looking out the windshield of the van, ostensibly ignoring Hobbes, but the tiny strangled noise from his partner was unmistakable. He shoots, he scores! Darien thought smugly to himself. He let Hobbes dwell on that series of images for a moment or two.

"With a chick, well, I like the oral there, too. You ever notice how a woman tastes different, depending on where in her cycle she is? Everything from lemon to catch-of-the-day." With that small observation, Darien shut up, content to let his little partner stew in those particular juices.

To Hobbes' credit, it was nearly five minutes before he managed a response. "You never said what your favorite position was," Bobby pointed out with strained casualness, still veiling his eyes with the ubiquitous binoculars.

Darien chose to ignore the prod. "Any sign of McInerney?" he asked instead, doing his best to sound interested.

Hobbes grunted, a world of annoyance in the sound. Serves you right, you sadist, Darien laughed to himself.

Bobby lowered the binocs long enough to glare at Darien. "Like you could care less?" Hobbes asked rhetorically.

"Actually, the sooner our king of clean shows up, the sooner we can get off this pissant detail and back to work," Darien said calmly, mimicking Hobbes' delivery a few minutes before.

"Back to work?" Bobby growled. "Whaddya call this -" he waved the hand holding the binoculars in a small arc. "- chopped liver?" He glowered at Darien evilly. "In case you forgot there, Gilligan, surveillance is the cornerstone of any investigation. "

The grin Darien had been struggling with crept out of his control, and as it registered with Hobbes, he could see his diminutive partner fuming over on his end of the bench seat. "Whatever you say, there, Hobbesy," Darien replied, not bothering to conceal his satisfaction at having gotten a rise out of Bobby yet again. Too bad it wasn't the kind of rise he'd spent many a night fantasizing about, but at this point, he'd learned to take what he could get. There was more than one way to tease his tiger.

Hobbes smacked the field glasses onto the seat beside him as he twisted to fix an angry glare on Darien. "You tryin to piss me off?" he asked, fuming. "Cuz if you ain't, you're getting mighty close to dangerous territory."

Darien ignored the outburst, gazing out the windshield instead, humming to himself. When Bobby had turned in his seat, Darien had been hard-pressed to ignore the telltale bulge in his partner's pants. One that corresponded ever so nicely with the one in his own. Take that, Hobbesy, you prick tease, he taunted silently to himself.

"Fawkes. Answer the question. What's your favorite position?" Bobby demanded, voice raspy with something Darien couldn't quite identify. Anger? Lust? Annoyance? All of the above, most likely.

"I've pretty much never met a position I didn't like," he said casually, still not looking in Hobbes' direction.

Bobby's snort of ironic amusement was explosive. "Why does that not surprise me?" he retorted. "Fawkes, you're a walking poster boy for sex. I bet I look it up in the dictionary, 'slut' would have your name next to it."

Darien smarted under that observation, eyeing Bobby with wide-eyed hurt. "You're calling me a slut? I haven't been laid more'n 3 times since my brother put this gland in my head, and all I get to hear about on Monday mornings is how you went out tom-catting all weekend. Pot, meet kettle."

He looked away again, a sudden surge of loneliness sweeping through him like a tidal wave. It was pretty much a fantasy love life he'd had to make due with in the last 2 years. A fantasy life that put his little partner front and center. As well as behind and center. Or on his knees and center…

It was in the wake of Hobbes' foray down the paths of artificial genius that he had had his first wet dreams about his partner. He'd really tried not to think about the ramifications of what he'd done, what he'd risked when he had purposefully injected himself with the same retrovirus that had transformed his instinctively brilliant partner to an intellectually brilliant one. The fact that it would have literally killed him if Hobbes had not relented and, voice choked with emotions neither of them had ever put a name too, given Claire the formula to destroy the mutation the virus carried, was something he'd tried awfully hard to ignore. Only, the look in Hobbes' cinnamon-colored eyes that afternoon, bright with tears and something far more, had haunted him since.

And then, not 4 months later, he had foolishly taunted a suspect instead of apprehending him, a suspect who had then pitched Bobby off a fire escape in a fall that caved in his skull. It was an injury that would have rendered Hobbes unfit for duty permanently if a research doc with delusions of grandeur hadn't used his partner as a guinea pig and restored function to the damaged area of Bobby's brain. He'd nearly lost Hobbes twice in rapid succession. It had been a revelation he'd done his best to dismiss, and had failed utterly. The wet dreams, and then the fantasies that had slowly become the only way he could get himself off, had made it clear that for him at least, Hobbes was a partner in far more then their work.

It wasn't until recently, though, that it had even occurred to him Hobbes might harbor similar feelings. The day not so long ago that he and Hobbes had been sent to retrieve a suspect and been involved in one of their usual pointless arguments designed to bug the shit out of Monroe. The day Bobby, out of a clear blue sky, had said, apropos of nothing that Darien could identify; 'we love each other, right?'

If they hadn't been on their way in the front door of the suspect's abode, Darien would have marched Hobbes back to the van and proven the point right then and there. He'd had the best jerk-off session of his life that night, reliving that awkwardly casual statement by his partner. Oh, yeah, he loved Bobby Hobbes. Loved him in ways he had no experience with. Loved him obsessively, possessively, helplessly. Loved him enough to smile with gritted teeth and nod through Bobby's relentless tales of his sexual prowess with the ladies in his alter-ego of successful textile salesman. Loved him enough to hope he succeeded with Claire. Loved him to the point that he'd reached today; the point where he could admit what he felt, consequences be damned, because he wanted Hobbs so badly he could taste it. And his partner though of him as a slut. Figured. He couldn't win for losing. He heaved a sigh and rested his forehead against the passenger window, doing his best to shut down both lust and hurt.

Bobby winced as Fawkes turned to stare out the window. He cursed his short temper, and the hurt feelings he'd inflicted on Fawkes twice now in less than 30 minutes. The problem was, he hadn't been lying. Fawkes was the poster child for sex. Long, slinky body, graceful, agile, athletic, lean — hell, skinny, except there was too much muscle for the kid to qualify as a stick. Hobbes could hardly look at his partner without feeling blood rushing to points south.

And then there were those nipples. Taut little nubs that always seemed to be erect, thrusting against the confines of whatever ratty retro shirt Fawkes happened to be wearing at any given moment. Not to mention his hair. Thick, dark, dusted with a hint of gold in the summer, and as erect as the kid's nipples were. Bobby had woken up more than once from wet dreams in which he'd been doing nothing more than caressing that spiky mop. The waves and curls it had when it grew out a little made his mouth water.

He growled low in his throat, annoyed at himself. Here he was, sitting next to what was pretty much the hottest piece of ass in San Diego, and all he could do was fight with the kid? Hell with that. "Fawkes."

Darien ignored him, no big surprise. He swore, this time audibly. "Fawkes, dammit! Don't you know a complement when you hear it?" he demanded.

Fawkes turned his head slightly, scowling fiercely. "Calling me a slut is a complement? Since when?"

Bobby's growl intensified. "Fawkes, you are the frickin' hottest thing I've ever been partnered up with. Bar none. You sit there day after day in your sprayed-on shirts with your goddamned gorgeous hair and eyes to frickin' die for, and I can't so much as lay a hand on you! Yeah. You're a slut. A tease. A goddamned pain in my ass. Not to mention my dick, there, Batman." He knew he was making a monumental mistake, stepping over the line the Official had forbade him to cross when he'd first been assigned this junior G-man wannabe as a partner. But it was way past time for this to get out into the open. Darien had only himself to blame for priming the pump with his stupid sex quiz.

Fawkes' scowl had evaporated, replaced by a smoldering look of such intensity, Hobbes felt as if he'd been caught standing too close to a wildfire — singed, scorched, and best of all, warmed more thoroughly than he'd ever been in his life. Oh, man, he was in deep, deep shit, here.

"Why not?" Darien asked quietly.

"Why not what?" Hobbes asked, feeling dazed, his train of thought totally derailed by the expression in his partner's eyes.

"Why can't you lay a hand on me?" Fawkes clarified patiently, as if talking to a three-year-old.

"Because Bobby Hobbes does not fish off the company pier, my friend. Or had you forgotten that little rule of mine? Top of the frickin' list of things I. Do. NOT. Do." It came out as a snarl, unmistakable frustration punctuating the words.

"Your rule? Or the Fat Man's?" Darien asked astutely. "And I never said I lived by the same ones there, Hobbesy. So if you won't drop any bait over the side, well, then I have to, don't I?"

Hobbes swallowed. "Jesus. You are a tease!" he said, stunned. "You mean to tell me, you're aimin' the skin tight shirts and the doe eyes at me?" His voice cracked a little.

Darien shook his head in mild amusement, a smile flickering on his perfect, goddamned cupid's bow mouth, and Hobbes fought both the urge to belt him and to kiss the hell out of him. "For a veteran secret agent, you're pretty slow on the uptake there, partner," Fawkes said wryly.

"Fawkes," Hobbes snarled dangerously.

"OK, you wanna know my favorite position, Hobbesy?" Fawkes interrupted, unperturbed by the lather Bobby was working himself into. He focused fathomless dark eyes on Hobbes and continued without waiting for a go-ahead. "Bent over the back of your leather sofa with you balls-deep up my ass."

This time, Hobbes gulped, light-headed with the rush of blood from his brain to his cock. "Awww, crap," he whispered, voice choked.

Darien looked smug, clearly satisfied at Hobbes' reaction. Picking up the magazine from the bench seat, he glanced at it, then back to Bobby with hands down the sexiest look Hobbes had ever seen. "So. Where is the most unusual place you have ever had sex?" Darien asked, presumably quoting from the magazine that now lay in his lap, nudged up against the visible bulge in his worn brown cords.

Bobby tore his eyes away from that blatant statement of Darien's interest to stare out the van' s windshield blindly. He considered for what seemed like an eternity, training that told him to avoid intimate relationships with partners at war with the instinct that told him he was face to face with the opportunity of a lifetime. For a long moment, he wavered on the knife-edge of indecision, then inhaled through his nose, filing his lungs. Because he was about to take that step off the company pier and into deep water. He only hoped he remembered how to swim…

He stole a sideways glance at Darien who just sat there, looking as though he could see every thought running through Bobby's head. Who knew? Maybe Fawkes really could. The way they were tuned into each other sometimes scared the hell outta him….

Exhilaration swept through him as resolution solidified. It was time to see just how big a splash he could make as he dove off that pier. "The women's quarters of Sheik Achmed bin El Kabar," he replied, turning his attention back out the window, reflex setting him to watching for their quarry.

Darien's startled inhalation was reward enough for taking off the kid gloves. His partner wanted an idea what he was getting into? Well, Bobby would be only too happy to oblige. No holds barred. Nothing would be too outré to confess. Every kink, every twist, every last outrageous escapade he'd ever indulged in was fair game, now.

"Wait. A sheik? Like, a real one? With, you know, the robes and palace and all that crap?" Fawkes asked, eyes a bit wider than before.

Bobby nodded. "And the harem," he added.

"Holy crap," Fawkes breathed. "They still have those?"

Bobby was pleased at the note of awe that colored his impressionable partner's voice.

"So?" Darien prompted. "What happened?"

Darien unconsciously leaned forward a little, expectant. He was only too familiar with Hobbes' prowess in the art of the tall tale. He'd long since lost track of the number of wildly improbable yarns his partner had tried to persuade him had actually occurred.

Of course, there had been that picture… of Bobby and Yasser Arafat. So at least one of the stories might have had a grain of truth in it. It'd be interesting to see if there was more than a grain. In more than one of the stories. But even if not, at least his partner's vivid imagination would prove a diversion from the absolute boredom of a stake out. And now that he'd put his cards on the table, anything that got Bobby talking sex had to be a good thing. He licked his lips a little, this a conscious gesture of enticement. If he'd had the correct equipment, he'd've been wet for Bobby right about now. As it was, his groin ached, cock perpetually tight in his baggy pants. Someday, he'd tell Bobby why he wore such loose trousers when he cultivated the skin-tight shirt look.

Bobby shrugged dismissively. "Just some old war stories, kid. Don't wanna bore ya or anything." He raised the field glasses again, focused on the world outside the van, much to Darien's irritation.

"Hobbes." Fawkes eyed his diminutive partner, annoyance warring with arousal. "What happened in the frickin' harem?"

"Ha-REEM, Fawkes," Hobbes corrected absently. "Not HAIR-um."

"Tomato, tomatoe." Darien glared unsatisfyingly at his oblivious partner. "Are you just gonna leave it like that? Me wondering how many dancing girls you screwed?"

The snort of laughter gave Hobbes' baiting away, and Darien resisted the urge to throw his magazine at Bobby with only the greatest of difficulty.

"They weren't dancing girls. Well, not all of 'em," Bobby admitted, still not making eye contact. "OK, some of 'em were, but the whole reason I was there was to track down the daughter of an American oil tycoon who'd gone missing from her college dorm in Oxford."

"Wait a minute. You were on some kind of hostage rescue mission?" Darien asked, struggling to follow Hobbes' peculiar brand of logic. "Where'd the sex come into it?"

Bobby's laugh was silent this time, but unmistakable in the shaking of his small frame. "One track mind. That's my partner," he commented as if to himself as he scanned the view out the front window of the van then finally turned to meet Darien's gaze. "She wasn't a hostage. She was a… well, I guess you could call her a white slave."

Darien couldn't help the skepticism that colored his reaction to this piece of absurdity. "Now you're starting to sound like one of those bodice-ripper romances," he complained. "Gimme a break, Hobbes. How stupid do you think I am?"

Bobby cocked a single eyebrow, and Darien reconsidered the question. "No, don't answer that," he recanted. "If you're yanking my chain, Bobby, I'm gonna -"

"Gonna what?" Hobbes asked with an evil grin. "Report me to the Romance Writers of America?" He waited while Darien struggled to muster a suitable response.

"Just tell me what really happened, Hobbes," Darien said at last, knowing the odds were against him getting Bobby to tell him the truth when a tall tale was so much more entertaining for his partner.

Hobbes shrugged placidly. "My CIA contacts got me into El Kabar's palace as the assistant to a high-level rep from Standard Oil. My mission was to case the joint to see if I could track Melissa down. Our intel was sketchy, to put it mildly, but the Sheik's oldest son had been going to school at Oxford too, and he'd been expelled for stalking 'Liss two months before she disappeared." Bobby paused, as if waiting to judge Darien's interest level before he continued.

In spite of himself, Darien was intrigued. While he had his doubts about the harem line of BS, he'd come to recognize the hallmarks of a tiger's-tale that had at least some basis in reality. "'Liss?" he settled for asking, putting his best 'punk' inflection into it. He squelched the tiny flicker of mingled prurient interest and jealousy under that snide comment.

"Melissa Gordon, daughter of Stuart Gordon. Back then, he was near the bottom of the Forbes 500 richest men in the world. Now, well, I think he's up to about 23rd, last I bothered to check." Bobby turned to glance out the van's window again, too much the agent to simply ignore the reason they had been sitting out here in the waterfront warehouse district for two interminable weeks. "Man. She was a sweet, sweet treat. Easy on the eyes doesn't even start to cover it. No wonder El Kabar's brat had the hots for her. So did half the blue-bloods in England."

Hobbes paused long enough that Darien wondered it that was the end of the story, then went on. "So anyway, her daddy was ready to call in every favor he had out there to get a black-ops team sent into the Sheik's palace in Dubä. The State Department talked him outta doin' anything at least 'til we had some idea if 'Liss was even there. So they sent me in to scope out the situation."

Another pause. This time it went on long enough that Darien began to lose his temper. "And?" he prompted.

"Huh?" Hobbes grunted, glancing back at Darien. "Oh, you mean what happened when I went in?" he asked disingenuously.

"No. I mean what happened when you went to the dentist last week," Darien snapped irritably. "Of course I mean what happened then, Bobby, geeze. You need to brush up on your story telling technique, there."

Hobbes' eyes sparkled with mischief, and Darien knew he'd been had, which only increased his resolve to get this story - whether real or imagined - out of his usually loquacious partner.

"Oh. Well, you coulda just said, ya know," Hobbes grinned.

"OK. Consider it said, Bobby. Now would you just tell me what the hell happened? And how you ended up in a ha-REEM?" Darien snarled, pointedly stressing the correct pronunciation of the word. "And if you ended up boffing the co-ed?"

Bobby chuckled. "Easy, there, junior. Bobby Hobbes never fucks and tells," he teased, and Darien groaned piteously.

Hobbes relented cheerfully. "OK, OK, I went in as an attaché to the Standard Oil big-wig, like I said, and while he was busy schmoozing bin El Kabar senior, I struck up a little line of chatter with the kid, Fiesal, who was skulking around the palace, kinda grounded for getting his ass kicked out of Oxford. We hit it off, actually, and he took me around the place for a grand tour when I put on the 'stupid American' act for him and started spouting off on what I supposedly knew about Arabic culture, a la Arabian nights kinda crap. Well, he thought that was a riot, and he spent the better part of three days, while his daddy and my cover story negotiated some deal for putting the squeeze on American consumers, setting me 'straight'. We went hunting warthogs, riding his daddy's prize Arabian mares, hawking for doves in this oasis at the edge of his estate, and lay around eating dates and drinking peppermint tea in the afternoons while we talked." Hobbes scanned the area around the warehouse outside once again before continuing.

"So, anyway, I started in on him, asking where the chicks were, you know, the belly dancers, and all that shit, and he finally got tired of me bugging him about it, because he took me into the part of the palace where the men get to cozy up to the ladies. Any way, to make a long story short, I spotted 'Liss, even through the disguise - not that transparent veils were much of a disguise."

Darien shifted restlessly, wondering when the question that had precipitated this whole fantastical tale would get answered.

"Am I borin' you, hotshot?" Hobbes asked sarcastically.

"Just cut to the chase, Hobbes," Darien suggested tersely. "That is, if there was one."

"The point, huh? Well, it turned out, the only way to get Melissa out was with the help of the household guard. Ended up they weren't any too thrilled with Junior's plans to marry an 'infidel', so after some carefully dropped hints, I secured the help of two guys who had connections with the Harem Guards. Lemme tell ya, those mooks have the best damned job in the frickin' universe, Fawkes." Bobby's brandy-colored eyes were warm with whatever memory he was reliving.

It was Darien's turn to snort. "Yeah, right. Get your balls cut off so you can spend all your time around a bunch'a half-naked women. Sounds like my personal idea of heaven, alright - NOT."

Hobbes snorted with amusement. "You got it wrong, my friend. No naked women, for one thing. And not a eunuch in the bunch. I hung with them for about 12 hours until I could get close enough to 'Liss to let her know I was there to get her out. Best 12 hours of my life." Bobby's contented sigh made Darien grit his teeth.

"That's it? You 'hung' with a bunch of castrati and call it the best 12 hours of your life?" he shook his head incredulously. "Your standards need some serious revising, Hobbesy. Upwards." Deliberately, he ran his open palm down his hip and out over his thigh, brushing past his still-rigid cock.

Annoyingly, Hobbes ignored the blatant suggestiveness. "No castrati, either, Fawkes. Nope, the whole castration thing, well, lets just say they've got themselves a workaround. Allah may not like fags, but they're the perfect foxes to guard the henhouse, if you get my drift," Hobbes grinned. "And foxy was no understatement. Me and the prettyboys, we had ourselves one hell of a good time, lemme tell ya."

Darien eyed his partner in exasperation. "Oh give me a frickin' break, here, Hobbes. First, there's no such thing as harems any more -"

"Ha-REEMs, Fawkes," Bobby interrupted patiently.

"-And even if there were, you can't tell me you spent 12 hours fucking the guards guarding the so-called honor of the women in this place that doesn't freaking exist!" Darien shook his head in patent disbelief.

Bobby laughed.

"Hobbes, asshole. Where is the most unusual place you've ever had sex?" Darien asked for the second time, voice taut with irritation.

"And like I said the first time you asked, Fawkesy; the women's quarters of a Sheik's palace." Bobby returned his attention out the window, apparently satisfied that he'd sufficiently annoyed Darien.

"Bobby, I swear to god -" Darien started, only to be distracted by the loud rap on the passenger window next to his head. He nearly jumped out of his skin in surprise and whipped around to see who was interrupting their stakeout conversation so inconsiderately. "Oh, crap," he muttered as he recognized two of the Agency's bullpen come to relieve Hobbes and him.

Hobbes cursed silently even as he grinned at his partner's over-reaction to the unexpected interruption. He checked his watch, surprised that it was in fact the end of their shift for the day. Fawkes' startle response had thankfully resulted in the trashy magazine they'd been diverting themselves with ending up on the floor by Darien's feet. Just as well. It was one particular foible he didn't think was on the 'need to know' list of the rest of the Agency.

He and Fawkes removed themselves from the premises as quickly as they could, the handoff relatively smooth after two weeks of practice, leaving Agents Alice and Green in place to mind the warehouse.

They were a fair way from both the Agency's downtown headquarters and their respective abodes, having to come in from Coronado Island across the bridge. The fact that it was rush hour and all the civilians who worked at the Navy shipyards on the island were going the same way made him wonder if they would be wise to find some dinner before they joined the lemmings on the roadways.

He took his eyes off the traffic for a split second to glance at his partner who sat brooding at the far end of the seat. "Hey. Fawkes. Wanna get some food before we head in to start the paperwork?"

Darien grunted unintelligibly.

"That a yes or a no?" Bobby asked. Darien was sulking. He'd lay odds he knew why, too: his partner's little sex quiz hadn't produced the results he'd clearly been hoping for. Or so the two-bit little thief thought. The opposite was closer to reality, however. Hobbes hadn't been this horny in he couldn't remember how long. The fact that it was his partner he felt that way about was something he didn't want to look at too closely, having already decided to break his staunchest rule of engagement. The problem was, that first step off the old company pier was a doozy.

Another grunt met his question and he scowled. Darien was going to be a pain in the ass. Even more so than usual, apparently. Which was saying something. OK, if the kid wasn't going to offer an opinion, he was just gonna have to take potluck. Hobbes kept a weather eye out for dining establishments, finally taking the turn-off towards the famous old Del Coronado Hotel. There were a half-dozen seafood places along the beachfront road leading to the massive red-turreted landmark. He pulled into the parking lot of the first one he came to, a deliberately down-at-the-heels looking place that had opted for the Cape Cod-rustic style of décor. The fact that it had some of the best fish and chips anywhere in San Diego was the only thing that allowed him to forgive whoever had decorated the place with dusty fishing nets, glass floats and ghastly plastic fish, crabs and seabirds.

As he turned off the van's engine, Fawkes finally seemed to come out of the stupor he'd gone into when they'd left the warehouse behind.

"Where are we?" his disheveled-looking partner asked, peering around the half-full parking lot.

"Dunno about you, Fawkesy, but I could use some dinner before we tackle the paperwork for this week's exercise in futility," Bobby announced as he released his seatbelt and opened the door. He waited patiently as Darien got out of the van, unfolding himself like one of those time-lapse nature videos of a plant sprouting, then led the way towards the restaurant, trusting that his partner would follow.

Hobbes flirted with the hostess, convincing her to seat them outside on the deck at one of the tables basking in the late afternoon summer sunshine while Darien stood at his heels like a lump. Maybe a few rays would cheer his partner up, though he suspected it would take a return to their earlier sexually fraught conversation to improve Fawkes' mood much.

They ordered and their waitress brought them the beers Hobbes had insisted on, as well as a basket of potato chips to munch on while they waited for their food. They were at the farthest corner of the deck, where it protruded out over the surf, the slanting light of the sun blinding where it gleamed off the water. They sat side by side with their backs to the view, though, just reveling in the heat of the sun on their backs.

The silence went from sulky to companionable as daylight and alcohol defrosted Darien's bad mood. Bobby bided his time, waiting to reintroduce the topic of conversation they'd been indulging in until after their meal arrived and the threat of interruption would be minimized. The sound of the surf more or less drowned out the conversation of other diners, so he was reasonably sure of their privacy.

When the waitress plunked down two extra large platters of battered shrimp, cod and lobster tails on a bed of crispy French fries, followed by a bottle of ketchup and pots of tartar sauce and cocktail sauce along with two more beers, he considered the time right.

"So, Fawkesy. You never answered the question," he observed as he dragged a fry through the ketchup and bit off the end, relishing the crispy texture.

"Huh?" Darien asked as he swallowed the mouthful he'd just taken.

"Where's the most unusual place you've ever had sex?" Bobby asked with a waggle of eyebrows.

Darien shrugged a little, dropping his attention to the food. He took a fry and drew a figure eight in the pool of ketchup on his plate, carefully avoiding looking over at Hobbes.

Bobby frowned, wondering what the problem was. "Well, Penelope? Cat got your tongue?"

"No…." Darien said weakly. He shrugged again and looked up, this time at the windows of the restaurant eight or so tables away, glazed with some sort of tinted film to reduce the glare off the water. It served to turn them into effective mirrors, and Bobby wondered if his partner was admiring himself in the reflection. Fawkes went back to eating, the action of putting food in his mouth, chewing it, and swallowing it clearly mindless. By this time, Bobby knew all the signs of a Darien Fawkes in broody mode.

For a split second, his habitual insecurities flared up in an uncomfortable surge of anxiety, but even at his most deluded, he could never have mistaken the hard-on in Fawkes' pants earlier for anything else. Darien was interested. He'd gone out of his way to make it clear. Hobbes worked on this as he ate his own meal, wondering what had changed Fawkes' mood so drastically.

When he began running out of both food and room to put it, Bobby sat back with a sigh, taking a swig from his long-neck. "OK, then lemme guess." He shifted his chair a little so he could look at his partner. Darien ignored him. "Under the bleachers at the Home-Coming game. Probably with the Home-Coming Queen. They always go for the bad boys," he speculated.

Fawkes snorted, half-choking on the mouthful of beer he'd just swigged. Now that was more like it, Bobby thought, grinning as he pounded Darien on the back.

"Try the girl's locker room during the junior prom," Fawkes corrected his guess. "Just like every other red-blooded, horny teenage boy in the universe, Hobbes. Not exactly the height of 'unusual'," Darien scoffed.

"So where is the most unusual place you've had sex, then?" Bobby coaxed cheerfully.

Darien shrugged. "Here and there," he replied uncomfortably.

"Hmm. Right up there with the locker room for originality, there, Fawkesy. Come on, give." Bobby poked him in the ribs gently with an elbow.

Darien flinched away slightly, focused again on the remains of his food. He poked a cold fry into the tartar sauce and chewed slowly. "It's gonna squidge you," he said without looking at Hobbes.

"'Squidge?'" Bobby repeated ironically.

Darien nodded. "Squidge. As in creep you out."

Bobby couldn't help it. He laughed. "Gimme a break, here, Fawkes. You think there's anything I haven't heard of? May be a few things I haven't tried, personally, but it don't mean I haven't heard of other people who have. Don't tell me. You fucked farm animals."

Darien made a face at him. "No, funny man, I haven't fucked farm animals. Not yet, anyway." He opened his mouth to continue, but the arrival of their waitress with the bill forestalled his next words.

Hobbes paid for their meal and together they headed back to the van, climbing in. "So you gonna tell me this deep dark secret?" Bobby picked up where he'd left off.

Darien eyed him, a hint of wariness in his face. "Just spare me the lecture, OK?" he said sharply. "I already know how you feel about Liz."

Hobbes felt as if someone had kicked him in the belly, and he felt the smile on his face evaporate. "Liz," he hissed. "OK, no lecture." He paused, then went on when Darien didn't continue. "Spit it out, Fawkes."

Fawkes sighed, staring out at the setting sun, squinting against the glare. "It was the first time she took me with her on a job. Told me it was time I started using what she was teaching me. God," he said wearily, shaking his head at himself. "I was so high on adrenaline, I could've made it to the moon and back." He paused again, a faint smile flickering on his mouth. "It went like clockwork. At least until the owners came home. We were trapped in the closet of their master bedroom when they came in and started… you know."

Hobbes snorted. "Boinking? Screwing? Fucking?" he cocked an eye at his partner. "Lemme guess. You were, what — 14? 15? You got yourself all worked up and conned the con-woman into a little voyeuristic hanky panky." He knew his disapproval came through loud and clear. Not because of what Darien had done, but because of what his criminal mentor had. He had disliked Liz Morgan on sight. No introduction had been needed to tell him this was the woman who had twisted a basically good kid up in knots and sent him down a path that had cost him far more than Bobby suspected Darien even realized. But what got his blood boiling every single time her name came up was the simple fact that she had essentially molested his partner. She had taken the kid's virginity both emotionally and physically, and the fact that she'd been fully 14 years older than Darien and ought to have — hell, HAD to have known better — put her right at the top of his list of people whose knees he planned on breaking some day. And not to put too fine a point on it, he was jealous as hell of her, and had been since he first realized that 1) she'd fucked his partner, and 2) that he wanted to do the same.

"See? I told you it'd piss you off." Darien flopped back against the seat with obvious dramatics.

Bobby didn't even think about what he was doing, simply leaned across the seat to reach down into the foot well on Darien's side of the cab to retrieve the magazine on the floor of the van. And on the way down, he braced himself with one hand on Fawkes' knee and brushed a rapid kiss over his partner's groin, straightening before it could even register.

"Wha -" Fawkes managed, voice a little congested-sounding.

"Next question," Bobby said, thumbing through the magazine to find the quiz Darien had been reading from.

"Hobbes, you just -"

"What is the longest sex session you have ever had; repeated encounters without ever leaving the bed except for necessities," Hobbes read aloud, looking up to meet his partner's flustered expression. He smirked. "Hey, you said you didn't want the lecture, Fawkes. So no lecture. Now answer the question."

Darien opened his mouth, resembling a beached fish more than anything, struggling to find words, apparently. Which is when the phone rang. Hobbes silently cursed the timing as he fished the little cell phone out of his coat pocket and answered it.

"Hobbes here."

Darien stared across the sunset gold-filled cab of the van at Hobbes, focused on the strong lines of his partner's profile as he growled at whoever had dared interrupt this time.

Bobby had kissed him. On the dick. He felt every nerve-ending where Hobbes had touched him tingle with a sudden surge of excitement that threatened to turn his brain to mush. He was light-headed with the sudden return of blood to his nether regions, a giddiness he embraced with the faith that he and his partner were most emphatically on the same page yet again.

Maybe — hell, obviously — honesty was the best policy when it came to scratching what had turned out to be a mutual itch. Hobbes had respected Darien's wish to avoid the scolding that usually followed any mention of Liz Morgan. But he'd seen the flash of bone-deep anger in Hobbes' eyes as he'd brought her up. Or was it really only anger? He considered that, tuning out Hobbes' conversation with the interloper on the phone. Maybe, just maybe, it was jealousy? Could it be that Hobbes had more than a simple case of the hots for him? After all, Bobby was the one who'd brought up the 'L' word in random conversation. Something warm began creeping through him as he considered this possibility. It wasn't as if love was a new thing between them. It was just that the physical elements of that emotion had never really been broached before. But he was beginning to think that was about to change. Still, there were things Hobbes had a right to know about him, about some of the things he'd been through, especially where sex was involved.

He thought about the question Hobbes had just read with a different mindset than he had when he'd first scanned it hours earlier. It wasn't pretty, but it was the truth. His past would be his whether he dodged it or owned it. Owning it meant one less thing to worry about revealing to his partner. It might repulse Bobby, but it wouldn't end their relationship. For pretty much the first time in his adult life, he knew he had a friend. A friend. Someone who wouldn't judge without listening, or understanding. Could he let go of the sex in favor of the friendship? It hurt, but the reality was, spending his days with Bobby Hobbes was more important than spending his nights with him. For three years, he'd relied on Bobby's day-to-day presence in his life to keep him safe, to keep him sane. So if it came down to it, that friendship was his first priority. It amazed him that he was capable of thinking with anything other than his cock, given that was where the blood supply had gone. But he loved his partner more than he lusted after him. Possibly a first in Darien Fawkes' history.

"Nice work, Alice," Hobbes' congratulations penetrated Darien's preoccupation. "Bring the bastard in and make sure you get Eberts out of bed to file the report." Fawkes' ears perked up a bit at that.

"Yeah. No, I'm not kiddin' You think I wanna spend my weekend filling out paperwork?" Bobby asked sarcastically, listening to whatever the reply was. "Hey, you made the bust, you do the paperwork. I got me some plans for the weekend. Fawkes…? Dunno. He probably does, too. Ask him yourself." A beat or two then; "How the hell am I supposed to know? You got his cell number, call him." More silence. "Heh. Nope, sorry. You're on your own. Go ask Green. He'll know. Or not. Fawkes is mine."

Darien blinked, wondering what the hell Hobbes was talking about.

"No, you're good. Call in and get Eberts to authorize the hook-up with SDPD." Hobbes' grin was a mile wide and Darien couldn't help smiling as well. It was contagious. For no reason save it was Bobby's smile, and that was reason enough. "Thanks for checkin' in, man," Bobby said and hung up.

"So… I take it Mr. Clean came clean?" Darien inquired.

"That he did, my friend, that he did. And we are officially off the hook for weekend stakeout duties."

"Sweet," Darien grinned.

"So. Where were we?" Bobby inquired archly as he settled back and eyed Darien speculatively.

Darien shifted in his seat, struggling with his earlier resolve of honesty with Hobbes.

"Oh, yeah. Longest sex session." Hobbes bounced his eyebrows suggestively.

"It wasn't in a bed…" Darien began, that admission alone harder than he'd thought it would be.

"Hnuh," Hobbes grunted.

Darien swallowed, trying to moisten a mouth gone suddenly dry. "11 hours."

Hobbes snorted. "What, that's it?"

Darien turned to watch the setting sun, squinting in the intense light. "I was 18. Hair down to here -" he fluttered a hand at shoulder level. "Thought I was so damned tough." He let the sarcasm dripping off every word reveal his opinion of his attitude at the time. "My first conviction as an adult, and I'm on my way through the processing center for the first time. There was some kind of snafu and me and nine other guys spent over 11 hours in a holding tank with nothing on while we waited for them to bring us clean uniforms." He didn't need to look at his partner to feel the abrupt stillness. He braced himself and went on. "We were all cuffed and shackled, but that didn't stop them. One of them got me in a stranglehold and made me assume the position." Darien paused, shaking his head. "Man, I was dumb. If I'd screamed, yelled, something, it'd have been over in minutes. As it was, they took turns riding my ass all night. I was pretty messed up by the time they finally came in to check on us."

The silence in the van was deafening. Darien swallowed again, concentrating on the sunset, on the seabirds that wheeled over the water like a school of airborne fish, anything but the reaction his little confession had generated in his partner.

"Jesus, Fawkes," Bobby whispered.

Darien shrugged slightly. "Hey, not exactly like it was the first time I'd been fucked by another guy. Just the only time I didn't enjoy it." Finally, he managed to summon the guts to turn to look at Hobbes.

Bobby's face was ashen under the tan, eyes painfully bright with what Darien suspected were tears. "I... Jesus." Bobby began, then hesitated. "Fawkes, if there was any way I could hunt the bastards down, I'd kill them for what they did."

Darien didn't doubt it for a second. The knowledge that his partner would do exactly that warmed him inwardly in places that hadn't felt safe for decades. Bobby had crept into his life, his soul, and quietly, with nothing more than steadfast friendship, healed many of the wounds life had dealt him. "Hey, shit happens, Bobby. It's just that a lot of it seems to happen to me." He grinned a little, marveling at the lack of self-pity he felt.

Hobbes nodded shortly. "Yeah. I hear that, my friend. And as of right now, that changes. For both of us. We got us a lot of lost time to make up for." With that peculiar observation, Hobbes fastened his seatbelt and started the van, pulling out onto the road.

To Darien's surprise, they weren't headed back to the main thoroughfare that led to the bridge and downtown San Diego. Instead, Bobby drove a mere few blocks, then pulled into the parking lot of a Walgreens drugstore, parking illegally, and hoped out. "Back in a second, Fawkesy," Hobbes informed him as he slammed the door shut and loped across the lot to the store entrance.

True to his word, Hobbes was back with a bag of something-or-other in under 10 minutes. He climbed back into the van and tossed Darien the bag with a grin. Curious, Fawkes opened it and peered inside. He laughed at what he saw, the warmth he'd felt earlier now flaring into arousal all over again. Two toothbrushes, an enormous box of condoms and a gigantic tube of lube were what his crazed little partner had gone shopping for. "Something tells me you have plans for the weekend, " he teased.

"Gee, ya think?" Hobbes grinned back at him and put the van in gear once more. "I say we work on setting a new Darien Fawkes record for extended playtime. Whaddaya say, partner?"

Darien laughed again. "Talk about an offer I can't refuse," he said happily.

"And maybe we can take care of a few of the other questions in that rag of yours while we're at it," Bobby added, pulling back out into traffic.

"Such as?" Darien asked, intrigued.

"Such as, upping the ante on the unique locations thing, for starters," Hobbes proposed, zooming through an intersection as the light changed.

"Oh, yeah? And just what exactly did you have in mind there, Hobbesy?" Darien asked, vastly amused.

"You'll see," Bobby replied mysteriously.

"No fair, Hobbes," Darien whined. "Why can't I know?"

"Maybe I feel like surprising you, pal," Bobby suggested.

Darien spent an unsuccessful 10 minutes trying to wheedle it out of Hobbes, only abandoning the effort when they turned into the massive semi-circular driveway of the Hotel Del Coronado and the answer to that question resolved itself.

"You're shittin' me, right?" Darien said in disbelief as Hobbes stopped the van along the passenger loading curb.

"Hey, this is my seduction, so shut up and enjoy it," Bobby laughed as he got out of the van. Darien scrambled out after him, remembering to grab the magazine and their bag of goodies, and followed Hobbes inside to the concierge's desk.

"We'd like a room, Hobbes announced cheerfully to the concierge, who smiled politely.

"I'm afraid we haven't any room vacancies," they were told.

"That's OK," Darien interrupted, the potential expense having freaked him out a little.

"We'll take one of the beach cottages, then," Bobby finished smoothly, every inch the confidant patron. The concierge raised an eyebrow, and Darien knew their rumpled stakeout attire was hardly up to the standards of the hotel's typical guest.

"They're rather… pricey," the concierge warned hesitantly.

"Hob — OW!" Darien's attempt to intervene in Hobbes' headlong rush to extravagance was stifled by his partner's sharp kick to his ankle.

"That's alright," Bobby assured the man. "It's a special occasion." He fished out his wallet and flicked a credit card across the marble counter casually.

"Very well, sir," the concierge agreed, and proceeded to check them in. Hobbes signed the registration forms and pocketed his card.

"I'll call the bellman. Just direct him to your vehicle, and he'll take care of your luggage," the hotel staffer said as he handed them each a key card.

"No need," Hobbes grinned. "No luggage."

Darien felt himself blush.

"You do realize we have a public area dress code?"

"Shouldn't be a problem, pal. I seriously doubt we'll be out in 'public' most of the weekend," Bobby said nonchalantly.

This time it was the concierge's turn to blush. "Well, then, enjoy your stay, gentlemen," he managed weakly.

"Oh, we plan to," Hobbes assured him as he stepped away from the counter. "Got a whole list of activities planned, don't we, Fawkes?" he added wickedly as they headed across the lobby.

Darien laughed in spite of himself, embarrassment warring with amusement at Hobbes' brashness.

Shoulder to shoulder, they headed through the vast old Victorian hotel towards the beach houses on the northern end of the property. "You're a nutcase, you know that, right?" Darien asked rhetorically, poking an elbow into Hobbes' ribs gently.

"So it says in my psych records, Fawkes. Right now, I happen to be nuts about one hot piece of Fawkesy ass."

"But tomorrow, who knows?" Darien asked snidely.

"Tomorrow, I may decide to marry him," Hobbes laughed and turned down the pathway that led to the trio of beach-front cottages, finding theirs and keying open the door. "So consider yourself warned, buckwheat." He waved Darien on ahead, and Fawkes stepped into the lap of luxury — then found himself slammed back-first against the wall, Hobbes' hands under his shirt, rucking up the sweaty, rumpled fabric under Darien's arms so he could nuzzle his chest.

"Hmmmm," Darien moaned happily as his left nipple was caressed by the rough silk of his partner's tongue.

"Whaddya say, Fawkes? Ready to see how many things we can cross off on that list of yours?" Hobbes grinned up at him, then startled Darien into a gasp as he cupped Darien's cock possessively.

"Oh, yeah," Darien grinned back, memories of that first, violent, sexual marathon fading to oblivion, eradicated by his partner's hand on his flesh. "Bring it on!"

end part 1

Questions addressed in part 2 (yet to be started, snort)

4) Please describe the single sexually related thing about your partner you like best; mental, physical, emotional, reactions, whatever.

5) What is the kinkiest thing you have done with your partner?

6) What is the kinkiest thing you would like to do with your partner

but have not?

7) Where does your partner touch you that gets you aroused the

quickest?