"God, you're in a pissy mood."

Warrick looked at his wife, noticing how tight her shoulders were with tension and anger. She stood there, placing the cups into the cupboard one by one, visibly having to restrain herself from hurling one in his direction.

"I'm sorry." He turned back to the task at hand. He couldn't face her because she was right; he was acting like a brooding teenager. But she wasn't the one he was pissed at, it was himself and it was unfair that she paid the price.

Tina turned and looked at him. "Go see him!"

"What?" He almost lost the silverware he was loading into the dishwasher.

"You heard me."

He looked up, seeing her leaning back on the counter, hands by her hips. Legs crossed leisurely and head tilted to the left.

"Tina." He walked up to her, hand stretched out to take her wrist and pull her into an embrace. She stopped him with a hand on his chest, pushing him away.

"Honey, you mutter his name in your sleep, when you sleep at all. I know Warrick. I know how you feel about him and I don't blame you. I knew since that night what I was getting into."

He was speechless.

"You need to talk to him Warrick, you need to get this all off your chest or it's gonna eat you alive. Better still, you need to fuck each other's brains out once and for all. You can't even be with me like before; you're tense all the time. Go, get this out of your system or I'm leaving. I can share you but I need to have at least some part of you for myself. And right now he has all of you."

"You don't understand."

"Yes, I do Warrick. I do understand. I know that you love him and right now you need to do something about that. I'm leaving for work in an hour and I'm pulling a double so I won't be home until late and after that I want to sleep and not listen to you tossing and turning, mumbling his name. I love you Warrick but I know you need more than me, I know because I need more than you too. We both knew this going in."

He reached out and wrapped his arms around her. She was a wonderful woman and he hated himself for not being able to give all of himself to her. She deserved that much. She hugged him back, smiling against his shoulder. "Tell him I said hi. I don't know if I can face him yet but someday I will. As soon as you've made peace with the fact that you do love and need him."

"You're amazing," he whispered, kissing her hair.

"One in a million," she laughed against his shoulder.

He missed him. On the surface nothing had changed but the fact is that he was married. Warrick Brown was a married man and it changed everything. His bro was definitely out of reach now. The realization hurt and he rose from the chair and started to re-arrange the content of the fridge. Throwing out half-empty bottles of stale ketchup, half eaten conserves his mother sent him; he needed to get rid of old food just as much as old dreams.

He's such a fool.

He should have known that it was just a figment of his imagination. That long body would never belong to him, he would never touch him like he always wanted to but never dared. There had been moments where he'd thought he'd seen the same in Warrick; brief moments of longing in the green eyes. But those moments were always too fleeting for him to latch onto and actually do something about.

Because deep inside Nicholas Stokes is a fucking vile, sorry excuse of a man and he'd always hated that side of himself. The inability to just grab what he wanted, the need for consent, waiting until the moment slipped through his fingers and was gone forever. Now, here he was, aimlessly re-arranging his fridge in a moment of restlessness. Three months ago they both decided to make a night off the play-offs, arranging to have the night off together. Three months ago was a lifetime ago.

It was all over now and he needed to move on.

Needed to, but didn't want to.

He let the jar with rum-soaked cherries fall into the garbage.

He arrived at Nick's door with a six-pack and taco-chips. That was kind of their tradition and he wasn't one to break that. It was a fall back if he chickened out and didn't take the step he'd been planning, a kind of safety net. He felt more than ridiculous realizing he needed one.

Nick opened the door, looking a tad surprised.

"What?" Warrick asked with a grin, "forgot the game tonight?"

"Thought you got married," Nick grinned, "can't get enough of me can you?"

"Tina's working a double and then she's going out with the girls." Warrick leered, already on his way to the

Nick shook his head, "and you're not invited?"

"Not house trained enough she says," Warrick responded and stuffed the beer into the fridge.

"I gotta meet this girl," Nick laughed, "she's got you pegged all right."

"Shut up bro," Warrick scowled, "wanna order pizza?"

"You're really having a boys' night out aren't ya?" Nick drawled with a wink.

"You betcha," Warrick grinned. "22-18 and the loser pays?"

"Hell if I'm aiding in your slow downfall into bad habits. You got the beer I'll spring for the food."

"You're such a cheap date bro."

They sat close, too close for Warrick's liking and yet not close enough to quench his escalating need. He held the empty pizza box over his groin to hide his erection. It was an old habit of his, he always did this on some occasion when being too close to the man at his side. Nick was his flexible self, one knee up almost under his chin the other leg stretched out as he slowly munched on the taco chips. His tongue darted out to lick the salt off his lips and it killed Warrick to watch without being able to make a move.

He was limited to looking, drinking in the grins and the wrinkles they formed, the gleaming of the dark eyes in the light from the tv, long fingers gripping the beer bottle and head cocked while one eyebrow rose teasingly when Nick's team scored. The ache to touch gripped him like a vice, squeezing the painful realization of what he would never have into his very core.

When Nick rose and took the empty pizza box from Warrick's lap, innocently running his knuckles over Warrick's tensed thigh, he lost it. That simple touch made the sorrow of what would never be explode as if the vice had lost its securing grip and he wanted to scream out in pain. Nick never noticed. Warrick sat there, trying to simmer down, get a grip and concentrate on anything but his own need for the man that had just left him alone on the couch. But he wasn't able to. When Nick re-appeared with two more beer bottles and a small teasing grin that went straight to Warrick's groin, he rose.

"I, uhm, I think I need to, uhm, jet-" he couldn't even form a coherent sentence at this point, knowing his erection was fully visible as he stood. Nick narrowed his eyes and tilted his head, putting the bottles down on the coffee table.

"What's up man?"

The voice concerned, eyes steadily watching him and Warrick had no more cards to play in this game. So he stumbled in the direction of the door, as if he were intoxicated.

""What the-? Wher'ya off to?"

Warrick didn't get very far before Nick was standing in front of him. "Hey man, what's up? Talk to me dammit!"

"I just, I need, I gotta go." He pushed Nick away with a swipe of his arm, taking aim at the door with renewed resolution.

"Hey!" Nick gripped his wrist, holding it steady and a shiver ran down Warrick's spine. The sensation of that strong grip made his breath hitch and he growled at himself; at how easily Nick pulled his hidden emotions to the surface. How he was playing him, without even knowing what he was doing. Jerking his hand free with a low curse he grabbed the door knob.

But he had forgotten Nick used to be a cop and he still knew some nasty moves. He fell to his knees on the rug by the door. Nick draped over him, holding him still with a grip on the arm that was now bent back and hindering any movement on his part. Nick's other hand gripped the wrist that propped him up off the floor and the contact made Warrick relax instinctively.

"You don't understand," Warrick grunted.

"I don't understand but I do see you running outta here like a nut. What did I do? What's happening man? Can't let you drive like this. Talk to me."

Nick's voice was calm and soothing beneath the rushed breaths, but his grip was still hard as steel. Warrick pondered on making a move and actually letting Nick break his arm. At least that would get him out of this for now. But it wouldn't solve anything.

The frenzy had disappeared and the deep sorrow washed over him anew. Feeling the strength of Nick's arms around him, the rushed breaths fanning his hair, he relaxed into Nick's hold and sank further down, resting his forehead against the floor.

"What the hell is this about 'Rick?"

"Nothing." he said quietly.

"Nothing?" Nick was getting pissed. "You tell me I don't understand but you won't tell me the truth. You try to run outta here as if the devil's at your heels and nothing's going on? How the hell am I supposed to understand if you don't spill? Huh?"

"Nick, please."

The grip on his wrist loosened and he let his arm slide to the floor. He curled up into a tight ball on the floor, resting his forehead against the soft rug. Nick's hand came to rest at the small of his back and a shiver he wasn't able to suppress ran through him. He cursed his own body for giving in so readily. First the acute erection and now this shivering and shaking, the sensations that coursed through him at the mere scent of the body so close to him. He lifted his forehead off the floor, squeezed his eyelids shut for a moment, in pure desperation, before he raised his head and looked at Nick. "Look, man…."

Nick's hand cupped his neck and pulled their lips together.

The kiss was hard and unforgiving. It tasted of years of desperation, it delved deep into secrets and lies, unfolding what Warrick had spent years trying to camouflage with wild tales and coolness. Yet he was unable to do anything but answer the kiss hungrily.

Then Nick let go and rose.

"If that's what you're afraid of it won't happen ever again. I'm not gonna force myself on you, thought you knew that. If not, I'm telling you now and you can let it go."

Then he turned and walked away.

For a second Warrick was frozen to his place on the floor; thoughts tripping over each other in a whirlwind of confusion and hope fuelled with the last shreds of his denial and the burn on his lips from the kiss. Then he was up on his feet. Lunging for the man and gripping his shoulders.

He turned Nick around and backed him up against the wall.

Nick looked to the side, refusing to meet the inquiring gaze, like he were afraid but still ready to accept the punch if one was to be served. Arms loosely by his side; totally open to whatever he imagined Warrick needed to do to him after his revelation. The eyes held fear and that kicked Warrick right in the pit of his stomach.

"Nick," Warrick breathed, "fuck you, Nicky!"

Nick closed his eyes and Warrick leaned in to kiss him.

This time there was nothing of the harshness, nothing of desperation nothing but a long and slow duel of investigating tongues. Warrick soon added hands to his exploration, pulling Nick's shirt up and pushing his own knee in between the other man's thighs; groaning into the kiss as he felt Nick's erection throb against his own. When Warrick felt Nick's hands on his hips he broke the kiss and opened his eyes to look at the man he held pinned to the wall.

His eyes were half closed, a soft moan escaping him from the loss of Warrick's lips. His hands pulled Warrick closer but he was still refusing to meet his eyes. "Rick, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to lay this all on you," Nick said, "I'm so sorry."

"Nicky please," Warrick recoiled from the pain in those eyes, trying to level his gaze with Nick's. "Just shut up. Shut the fuck up!" He bit slightly at the curve where Nick's neck met his shoulders, then licked the pain away at Nick's shudder. Gripping the shorter man's wrists he backed up, keeping his gaze on the man following him shyly as he kicked the bedroom door open and headed for the bed. Nick's eyes finally locked on to his and he smiled, relieved.

"That's it Nicky, get it now?" His voice came out as a deep growl of unleashed need but Nick's eyes were tearing up and he shook his head. "Warrick, you're –"

"You don't get it do you?" He stopped as the bed frame hit his calves. "Tina knows, she told me to get here and get it outta my system. If I don't –"

He didn't have time to finish before he was pushed onto the bed, landing on his back. A hand nestled into his hair, cupping the back of his head as if to protect him before he was pressed down hard. He stopped breathing then, his body feeling powerless in the gaze from the dark eyes he encountered. Nick hovered over him, pushing his knee in between his shaking thighs, exposing the bulge in his jeans for the world to see before he bent over and pinned Warrick in a frozen moment of uncertainty. He looked up at Nick's face, wondering what was coming next, steeling himself for whatever it would be. Then those dark eyes softened and he realized that what he was seeing was exactly what Nick saw in his own eyes; implacable lust and burning need. Warrick moaned and closed his eyes as lips devoured his anew. The silky touch as they met, like testing the waters for the last time before jumping in. The penetrating tongue as his mouth opened and welcomed the tender assault. He was shivering all over now, Nick's tongue deep in his mouth, dancing slowly over his taste buds, teasing the tip of his tongue, making his mind blur from the hot wetness inside him.

He draped his arms around Nick's waist, pulling him flush against his body. Counting the heartbeats against his heated skin; how many of Nick's would he be allowed to share like this? Separate beats in syncopated rhythm, bodies melded together and dividing the very air between the two of them; Nick's breath providing his lungs with the air that powered his own escalating pulse.

But Nick freed himself and looked down at Warrick, hands on his shoulders, keeping him still. Their cocks still pressed together as Nick closed his eyes and shook his head as if to clear his vision and regain his sanity; "You're married for fuck's sake, 'Rick. I can't -" he spoke softly.

Warrick silenced him with a nibble on the tensed tendon on the elongated neck. The shudder he got in return encouraged him to nip and lick his way down to Nick's collarbone. The hands on his shoulders relaxed and the fingers bent into a caress.

Warrick's held Nick's gaze, while his fingers gripped the hem of Nick's shirt, pulling it off him and letting his eyes stray to drink in the sight of the exposed abs. So perfectly beautiful that it stabbed at his heart. "I want you Nicky," he murmured, "I just need to feel you, please".

Nick looked at him, the sadness in his eyes stabbing at Warrick's heart. "We shouldn't do this."

"Just this once Nicky, just this once." He was pleading now, almost begging for something so close but still not his to cherish. Not even his decision. He briefly wondered if Nick knew that he could destroy him this easily, by denying him the right to love him.

His hand wandered over Nick's side to stroke the hard abs. Nick flexed in response and Warrick groaned deep in his throat as he pulled the other man closer to nibble on his bottom lip. Nick felt even better than he had imagined. His skin was soft, like velvet over the hard abs and he moved slowly over him, hips moving tantalizingly.

"You tease," Warrick groaned against moist lips, kissing him hard, delving in as if his life depended on it. Nick responded willingly, a hand buried in his hair, keeping him in place and the other travelling down and under his waistband, finding the buttons and popping them open. When Nick's fingertips trailed over his erection, Warrick shuddered helplessly.

Nick had to close his eyes as he was pulled down to rest on the strong body, tongue playing deep in his mouth, slowly and with a sense of ownership. Nick groaned as he felt the shivers run down his spine like hot lava. His own hand moving over the strong body moving under him, palm sliding down to the erection throbbing against his hip, fingers curling around it, pulling and teasing until Warrick broke the kiss with a throaty moan.

There was no turning back now, not anymore. He had to have him, he'd pay later, with guilt and for the rest of his life. He rose to his knees and peeled the shirt off the man whose green eyes held him captive. When he had freed Warrick of all his clothes along with his own he let his eyes wander over the perfection finally within his reach. Then he closed his lips around a nipple and teased it to attention.

Alea jacta est , the words came unbidden and they sealed his fate. He'd regret this for the rest of his life, like so many other things. But he would regret not acting on the need coursing through him even more.

He acknowledged his own weakness and moved slowly down over Warrick's body, kissing and licking his way over the taut skin, hand teasing the straining erection. He should stop this, he should have acted earlier, he should have made a move before it came to this; loving a married man, the scarlet letter forever imprinted in his skin but he couldn't care right now. Closing his eyes he banished the regret and took this precious moment to heart. He let his tongue and hands do the talking, banning all future regrets, at least for now.
They'd be there soon enough, as soon as Warrick left his bed. He'd deal then, alone.

"Oh fuck, Nick," Warrick let out with a deep exhale. Relaxing into the mattress he twined his fingers into Nick's short hair.

Nick raised his head and looked at the man he'd wanted for so long. Taking in the need and the unexpected tenderness he sensed in the strength he felt moving under him. Warrick's eyes were locked on him, eyes half shut and fingers trembling slightly. "God, Nicky," he whispered hoarsely.

Nick kissed the slight hollow by his hipbone before he closed his lips around Warrick's erection and rejoiced in the response from his lover.

Afterwards, he held the larger man close, lips resting on Warrick's sweaty temple, breathing him in.

Warrick balled his fists around the sheets as his body arched up to Nick's touch. A steady stream of nonsense, punctuated by raspy breathing fell from his lips as Nick played every string in his body perfectly, making his senses intent on one thing only; Nick, the scent of Nick, the feeling of hands on his skin and lips bringing him to the very edge. Over and over again, always drawing back before pushing him over; it was torture and bliss in perfect mixture. He felt shot after shot of mind-blurring pleasure run through him, making him plead and beg. Then he felt fingers grazing his prostate and there was nothing left but free fall and his own heartbeat thundering as he came with a strangled cry of Nick's name.

Warrick curled his still trembling body into Nick's, lacing their arms and legs together, desperate not to lose contact. Breathing heavily in the aftermath, cursing himself for letting go that soon. Nick held him close, stroking his sweaty back with his long sensitive fingers, lips resting on his temple in reassurance. Warrick realized that this wasn't the way he had expected this to go. He wanted to have the upper hand, making Nick plead and beg and Nick had totally turned the tables around on him.

He opened his eyes; Nick looked calmly at him, like he had never intended to lose control like Warrick had.

"Jesus, Nicky," he said, cupping his hand around the strong neck. "What are you doing to me, man?"

"Sorry, we shouldn't have -"

Warrick kissed him into silence; he didn't need guilt or remorse right now. He had enough of them all on his own. He had to make up for all the years he'd spent in denial. He needed to feel Nick's touch once more. A touch so different from everything he had experienced before, he needed to give Nick the same; something he'd never forget. Something to treasure like these fleeting moments with Nick in his arms. Moments of something more than simple lust. Something that he had no words for.

His hands travelled over Nick's body, never touching his erection, teasing him with lips and hands until Nick writhed helplessly and closed his eyes to hide the need in them. But Warrick already knew and his fingers soon elicited the raspy pleads he wanted to hear.

"Lube?" He asked with his lips pressed to Nick's ear.

There was a pause that made Warrick's heart drop a thousand miles.

Then Nick opened his eyes and made a feeble motion against the nightstand. "Bottom drawer."

"It's ok babe, if you don't want to," Warrick crooned, nibbling at the earlobe.

"I want to, God I've wanted you inside me since…but -" He closed his eyes again and shuddered at the play of Warrick's tongue down the tendon on his neck.

Warrick knew the rest of the words Nick never even uttered, he surely didn't need them spoken out loud.

He bit at Nick's collarbone before he moved to get the lube out of the drawer.

"Condoms are right behind," Nick spoke softly, the voice thick and low, like a purr. Warrick's erection twitched and he had to bite down on his bottom lip not to groan out loud.


He smiled at the scent of the lube he coated his fingers with. So Nick. Laying back down on his side he snuggled up closer, leg sneaking in between Nick's. He chuckled against the hot skin on his lover's neck, holding his straying hands with one of his to stop him from touching himself as his fingers brushed against Nick's prostate and his body tensed and he growled deep in his throat.

"No touching yourself Nicky, you're all mine now."

"Please, 'Rick," Nick begged, "please!"

His words were Warrick's undoing. He couldn't keep this up any longer, not with Nick writhing against him, the muscles under his flushed skin dancing with every move and his pulse thundering in the protruding veins as Warrick kissed him to the brink before slowly easing into him.

He wanted to take it slow and savour every moment, slow enough to make Nick come before he did. But Nick flexed his head back, exposing the veins on his neck offering all he had to Warrick. Opening up totally, taking all of him in and moving his hands to grip Warrick's hips for leverage.

Warrick closed his eyes and rested his forehead on Nick's shoulder, suckling and nibbling on the exposed skin within his reach. His hand finally moved to grasp Nick's erection, moving in rhythm with his thrusts. He used his free arm to press Nick closer against his chest, breath catching and shivers running through him as he fought to hold back. Nick's chest heaved and his body tensed in pre-orgasmic bliss and Warrick's hips took over by their own volition.

"Let it go, babe, just let it go. I'm right here," he purred to the panting man. Opening his eyes he took in the beauty of Nick at the final stage before letting go; jaw slack, tongue momentarily peeking out between the parted lips and then the soft moan of his name as he spilled hot seed over Warrick's hand and clenched around him hard enough to make him follow with a strangled holler while holding Nick flush to his body, trembling and sobbing throughout his own release.

He woke to the sound of rain drizzling against the window pane. Warrick's breath still fanning the nape of his neck and the dim light from the hallway casting faint shadows into the room. His body was encircled by strong arms; Warrick's body nestled against his. Feeling boneless and heavy he shifted closer into the embrace, his eyes tearing up as he watched the raindrops run over the window pane.

He'd never be able to watch the rain without remembering this. He would not cry, no he'd take this like a man. He'd hide this memory deep inside and go on like nothing happened. He'd fight to forget the sensation of Warrick deep inside him, moving him slowly closer to the brink and finally allowing him to take that breathless leap into shivering bliss. He'd forget the musky scent of them together, laced with strawberry. The sense of Warrick's strong grip on him and the tongue that ran over his skin and drove him to the peak, the kisses on his swollen lips, the hands aiding him in landing from the breathless, hot climax he'd been thrown into. How Warrick had pulled out slowly, turned him onto his back and slowly licked his still trembling body clean. He'd forget how soon he had stirred again with Warrick's lips against his hardening cock and the way he had sucked him in and coaxed him to yet another screaming release.

He'd forget that making love could ever feel like this; he'd tuck this away with the rest of those few memorable moments that somehow hurt too much to remember. All those cherished moments with the bitter undertone of something gone forever.

He closed his eyes when he felt Warrick stir. For the longest time he concentrated on keeping his breathing steady and calm as if he were still asleep. He didn't move when Warrick disentangled from him, made no sound when Warrick's voice nearly broke when he whispered his name and kissed his temple. The hard knot in his stomach ached when Warrick's thumb traced his lips but he kept his breath even and his body relaxed. He listened as Warrick searched for his clothes in the heap on the floor, bit his bottom lip as sound told him Warrick was readying himself to leave. Only his fingers twitched when Warrick bent over him and whispered 'See ya tomorrow Nicky' and kissed the corner of his mouth chastely one last time.

It wasn't until he heard the door close that he clutched the pillow and buried his face into it to hide his tears.

Warrick stuffed his hands deeper into his pockets while walking over to his car. The night air felt cold against his hot skin. Reaching his car he turned to look at the dark windows in Nick's apartment, they dully reflected unusually vivid colors of the rising sun after a rainstorm.

Transfixed, he looked at the display before him, dancing shadows and muted colors running over the glass that reminded him of Nick's eyes in the darkness. How he had tried to dull the sadness that Warrick was able to read therein, how he tried to shield him from the need. A feeling of utter guilt washed over Warrick, what had he done?

Not that he regretted loving Nick but he now he knew that one night was not enough and the knowledge was pure pain. Knew that there was no turning back and it was not about just this once, would never be. Because right now he felt ready to walk right back and hold Nick tight. Not make love to him, just hold him. He felt empty inside, hollow like he'd left something there, in Nick's bed and he'd never get it back until he admitted what he truly wanted. Not before he stopped lying to himself.

He turned back and leaned his hot face on the cool surface of the SUV. He'd never have enough, who had he been kidding? This stunt of his had solved nothing; it had just served to fuel his craving for the man he'd just left behind.

One single tear fell on the roof of the car, blending perfectly with the raindrops gathered there, glittering in the light of the rising sun. Just one; the rest he wiped away angrily, with shaking hands. The ache didn't lessen, it accompanied him into the car and almost choked him as he rested his head on the steering wheel and cursed himself.