A/N: I am sorry for taking this long. For real. It's been too long! But hopefully, I've past through the rut and will be able to get on a more regular schedule with it. I'd say this thing is about 2/3 done. Thanks to all of you reviewing! And to those simply reading. I eat up all those hits and reviews, so please feed me. :-D

Chapter Twenty-One

The moment he heard the knocks on the front door, Tom bolted upright and stared in its direction. Was it them? Had they decided to follow through with their threats?

It had completely slipped his mind that Doug was coming to pick him up to drop off applications.

Struggling to his feet, he limped away from the couch and approached the door tentatively. When more rapping on the entrance sounded, he froze and stopped breathing. His heart was racing and his eyes were wide. Even though he did have a peephole to confirm who it was, his fear rooted him to the spot. Not until Doug called his name did he relax somewhat and stepped forward to grasp the doorknob to let him in. He exhaled a shaky sigh of thankfulness and smiled sheepishly.

"Hey," he greeted lamely.

Doug studied him, concern creeping into his expression. "Hey, uh, are you okay?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. Come in."

He retreated back into the apartment, Doug following him, and snatched the note he had left lying on the table so that Doug would not see it. He stuffed it behind the waistband of his boxers at his side, casually saying, "I'll be ready in just a few minutes," and went into the bedroom. Once the door was closed, he pulled the paper out and stashed it under his pillow.

Five minutes later, he was casually dressed in navy basketball shorts that reached an inch or so below his knees, a white t-shirt, and a blue-plaid flannel shirt over it.

"Alright, let's go."

Not long after he had stepped inside the video rental store, he could feel the people present in the store watching him, stealing glances in his direction and whispering with their friends about him. The fact that he would be recognized by what seemed like everyone out in public still had not settled itself in his mind. It was nerve-racking, and he worked hard on keeping his anxiety at bay. Trying to exude all the confidence he had, which by no means was much, he went to the counter and placed the piece of paper he had been clutching tightly onto the counter top.

"I'd like to turn this in," he said a bit quietly.

The teenage boy had a less than friendly expression on his face as he took the application and tossed it onto a stack of papers. "The position's been filled," he stated curtly.

"But there's still the 'now hiring' sign in the window," Tom replied, pointing over his shoulder at the notice.

"We just haven't gotten around to taking it down yet."


As if his pride had not been damaged enough, a group of three male teenagers approached the counter and gathered around him.

"Well, if it isn't Tommy Hanson," one of them said smartly. "Or should I say Tommy Fagson." The insult garnered amused snickers from his friends.

"Mason Hinkley," Tom responded dryly. He remembered Mason and his gang from one of the undercover jobs he had gone on with Doug posing as the McQuaids. Though none of them had been suspects or involved in the crime in question, it was no secret that they never got along well with Doug and Tommy McQuaid.

"Quite the change from trash-talkin' McQuaid. Who knew you were actually a filthy faggot who likes taking it hard up the ass?"

"Shut up," Tom growled. "You don't know anything."

"Oh yeah? I know you had sex with five different guys. Everybody knows. You should just go stand on a street corner."

With the sound of crude laughter ringing in his ears, Tom hurried out of the store to his parked Mustang not far away. He got into the passenger's side, put on his seat-belt, and muttered, "Let's go," to Doug.

By the expression and tone of his voice, Doug could tell his friend did not want to discuss whatever had happened in there. Starting the car, Doug said, "Alright then. Off to the next stop."

The day was a failure. Each employer had some reason not to hire him. The position was filled; he was not what they were looking for; he was not in good enough health. Some even outright told him they did not want him.

Doug felt for Tom. He really did. And there was not a thing he could do for him.

They arrived at Hanson's apartment and sat down on the couch beside one another. Neither spoke or moved much. Hanson was itching to get drunk and pass out, to forget the awful, disappointing day, but he knew he would not come close to getting any of his alcohol while Doug was around.

"So, uh," he began hesitantly, rubbing the back of his neck. "You got plans for tonight?"

Doug sighed and nodded. "Yeah. Got a date. You gonna be okay?"

"Yes, Doug," Tom answered with a small smile. "I'm a grown boy, you know."

"And a smart ass too."

"You love me anyway."

Doug smiled, wrapped his arm around the younger man, and said, "Yeah, I do."

A short time later, Tom was alone, and he wasted no time in taking the opportunity to rummage around his liquor stash for the perfect bottle of medicine.

By twelve-thirty AM Doug was back at his apartment, alone for once, and tired. He planned on going straight to bed after trudging into the kitchen to have a glass of water, but it was evident that his night was not quite over yet when the phone rang rather loudly. Muttering a few curse words under his breath, he traveled over to the desk at the far side of the apartment and snatched up the receiver.

"Hello?" he answered a tad tartly.

"Hey Dougie!" was the enthusiastic reply.

"Wh-Tom? Is that you?"

"Who else would I be?!"

"Tom….it's almost one in the morning. What are you still doing up? Is everything okay?"

There was a heavy, dramatic sigh before Tom announced gloomily, "I'm lonely."


"Why don't you come over?"


"I'll make it worth your while."

Doug swallowed hard at the sudden, seductive tone in his former partner's voice. "Wh….What's that supposed to mean?"

"Anything you want. Come over and find out."

"I don't know-"

"Pleeeease Dougie?"

Penhall closed his eyes, exhaled a deep breath, and responded with, "Alright. I'll be right over."

"You won't be disappointed."

The line went dead and already his mind was concocting pornographic images of what Hanson was alluding to.

When the door opened, Penhall could not believe that he was looking at Tom Hanson. The younger man's hair was completely disheveled; his eyes appeared darker than usual and certainly livelier than they had been in a while; his mouth was quirked upward into a lopsided grin; and he was holding on tight to the doorknob to keep from falling to the floor. He had not needed his crutches much in the past couple of days to get around, and Doug could see that his clumsiness was not due to not having the aides with him or from his knee and/or feet hurting. Tom Hanson was wasted beyond all reason.

"Come on in," he said casually and began stumbling back to the couch.

Penhall entered his friend's apartment, shut the door and joined Hanson on the sofa. There was a handful of beer cans and liquor bottles scattered on the floor and table; Hanson had his fingers clasped around a can and chugged down whatever was left, tossing the can over his shoulder and grinning at Doug when he had finished swallowing.

"Want some?" he asked, his words sounding a bit lazy.

"No, I'm good." For a brief moment, Doug merely regarded his tremendously intoxicated friend and wondered what the hell he was supposed to do. "Tom….Why are you doing this?"

"Doing what?"

"This. Getting hammered….Alone. Don't do this. It doesn't help. It doesn't make your problems go away. Believe me, I know."

"Psh, you worry too much, Dougie. I'm fine. Really. I just wanted to have some fun."

"And me?"

Tom's smile grew wider as he crawled to sit between Doug's legs. The older male's eyes grew slightly larger and his breathing accelerated as Tom's hands went under his shirt and started sliding upward to his chest. "Thought we could make our own fun," Hanson half-whispered before rocking his hips forward. The movement caused a sharp gasp from Penhall.

This was what Doug had been waiting for – a consensual, intimate romp with Tom. His self-restraint was dwindling fast as the younger man kissed up and down the length of his neck, yet he soon realized it was not fully consensual. Hanson was severely inebriated, saying and doing things he would never do if he were sober. It would be extremely wrong, Doug knew, to take advantage of the current state his friend was in. But the temptation….

"Tom, I don't think we should do this," he reluctantly stated.

Hanson pulled back to stare at the older man directly. "You're not likin' it? I could put my mouth to use elsewhere-"

"No, no no no, that's not what I mean. You're drunk, Tom. You're not thinkin' clearly."

"Don't tell me what I'm thinking, Doug," Hanson said with grave seriousness. "That's somethin' only I know. No one else. No one can get in my head." He looked down, an abrupt expression of misery written on his face. "They can't get in. I won't let them," he started to mumble, shaking his head. "Not again. I won't let them."

"Tom," Penhall voiced gently, "it's okay. They can't get in and mess with you anymore."

"What if they do?"

"They won't. I'll be there to protect you. I promise." He cupped Hanson's face in his hands, making the other man gaze into his eyes. "I promise."

It was a minute before either one made any sort of move. It was Tom who acted first, removing his shirt and tossing it to the other couch. There was an innocence present in his brown eyes that made Doug's heart pound faster – and his cock grow harder. Taking his time, Tom unfastened the other male's belt, unbuttoned and unzipped the jeans, and eased himself onto the floor to kneel on one leg. With a small tug on the jeans to prompt Doug to come forward a little on the couch, Penhall resituated himself towards the edge of the cushion and leaned back. He could not believe what was happening and what was about to happen. It was like one of his dreams as he intently watched Tom pull down the hem of his boxers, exposing his erection. Timidly, Hanson wrapped his fingers around the large member and began rubbing up and down on the sensitive flesh.

"Tom," Doug whispered. "You don't have to do this. You don't have to prove anything to me."

Those doe-like eyes peered up at him from behind heavy eyelids, telling him otherwise. "I won't remember anything in the morning," he confessed sadly. "Just let me do this."

Without waiting for an answer or response from Penhall, Tom bowed his head and took the throbbing organ into his mouth, his hands resting at the base of the shaft and softly stroking the testicles. Doug threw his head back and let out a deep moan, his breathing becoming quicker and hands tightly gripping the edge of the cushion.

"Tom," he huffed, incapable of any other speech other than his partner's name. "Tom."

Enthralled, he watched as Hanson's head bobbed up and down between his legs, sighing in ecstasy whenever Tom's talented tongue licked all along him and teased the slit of the head. He had a good idea of where Tom had learned to give such a stimulating blow job, but at the moment, he could not find it in himself to feel sorry for him. This was turning out to be the best oral sex he had ever received, making him incapable of dwelling on anything other than the astounding pleasure he was submerged in. Reaching out a hand, he ran his fingers through the young man's hair once before taking a hold of it.

Tom listened to the low groans coming from Doug and felt the man's thighs tense up every once in awhile as his climax neared. He began moving his mouth up and down faster as a result, occasionally taking the whole length of Doug's penis into his oral cavity, which seemed to be greatly appreciated judging by Penhall's shallow rasps mixed in with his heavy panting. Finally, after withdrawing a little, he felt the hard cock slightly twitch for a few seconds before streams of semen spurted into his mouth. He swallowed the milky substance as it came and licked the head clean when no more leaked out. Pulling away and sitting back, he wiped his lips with his hand and stared up at Penhall, who was working on recovering from the powerful orgasm. Slowly, he got to his feet and sat between the other man's legs again. He started placing delicate kisses along Doug's neck and all over his face. He stiffened from feeling strong hands rub his bare chest and side, though hurriedly relaxed under the affectionate touches. Soon, they were silently gazing at one another and before either knew it, they were vigorously kissing with such heat and passion that it made Hanson tremble.

If he was honest with himself, he wanted it to go further.

It was not long before he knew Doug desired the same.

Without a word, they broke apart just long enough for Doug to remove his shirt. The instant it was over his head, Tom's lips were on his own again, kissing him fiercely. Reaching down between them, Hanson gripped the other male's cock and began massaging it, working it up into a full erection within ten minutes. Once it was, he pulled away, briefly looked at Doug, and got up to retreat to the bedroom. While he was gone, Doug stood and quickly took off the rest of his clothes. Tom returned seconds later with a little plastic bottle and condom packet. Tentatively, he approached his best friend, handed him the items, and discarded his boxers. Together, they stood naked in front of one another, and after Doug was finished studying his partner from head to toe, he whispered into the younger man's ear, "Lie down on your stomach."

Hanson nodded and diligently obeyed. He settled himself on the couch, tucking a pillow under his head as Doug moved atop him. Soft lips were suckling on his shoulders and the back of his neck, causing him to sigh contently and close his eyes.

"You sure you want this?" Doug asked tenderly.

There was a short pause before Hanson answered, "Yeah."

With the drunken consent, Doug put on the condom and poured a gracious amount of lubricant into his palm. Leisurely, he coated his hard member, placed a hand on his friend's round backside, and guided his cock into Tom. The smaller male gave a quivering whimper and started to breathe heavier as he felt Doug penetrate him, slowly and cautiously inching farther and farther inside of him. Both already had a light sheen of perspiration glistening on their bodies; both were quietly voicing their rapture. After fully entering him, Penhall pulled back, lifted Tom's hips a little, and thrust into him more powerfully. Tom cried out, his fingers raking down the pillow under him. At one point, he was biting it as Doug made love to him.

Tom turned his head to the side, his eyes shut tightly and mouth hanging open as he moaned incessantly. Doug's hands were everywhere on him, caressing and groping. The older man varied his propulsions, though always maintained a forceful approach. Most of the time he shoved himself in all the way, encasing his whole length within the warm, tight confines of his friend's body. It was heaven. It was everything he had been fantasizing about. He draped himself over the smaller frame to nibble on Hanson's hot skin, eliciting faint sounds of sheer bliss to escape from between those incredible lips. A hand eased itself beneath Hanson to rub against his chest, a couple of fingers fondling a hard nipple that made the younger man tremble and moan freely.

"Tommy," Doug breathed into his friend's ear.

"D-Doug," was the weakly whispered reply.

Several minutes later, Doug slowed and stopped his movements as he climaxed inside of Tom. They were both left panting and sweating, limp and spent. Reluctantly, Doug pulled out of the other male's body and slid off the condom, placing it on a tissue to wrap it up in. He tossed it on the floor and gazed at his former partner. Tom's face was contorted into an expression of satisfaction, relief, and a hint of indignity that Doug did not see. He laid down on Hanson, hugged him close, and kissed his shoulder.

"Hey," he murmured lovingly. "You okay?"

"Yeah. I feel a lil' nauseous, though."

"Alcohol finally catchin' up with you?"


"I'll take you to bed."

Once Doug was on his feet, he turned Hanson over onto his back and picked him up. He carried the exhausted man to the bed, laid him down gently, and covered him from the waist down with the bed sheets. Hanson rolled onto his left side and closed his eyes. It was not long before he was asleep – either from being terribly tired or from simply passing out was unclear. Despite what he wanted, Doug decided it would probably not be the best idea to stay.

He got dressed and turned off all the lights. An hour or so after arriving at Tom's apartment, he was on his way back to his own to finally turn in for the night.

Hanson showed the first signs of life at eleven o'clock that morning. He groaned in pain from the unbelievable throbbing in his head. The blinds did not prevent the sun's light enough for him, making him move onto his back and turn his face away from the window. His body was sore and, combined with the indescribable discomfort encasing his entire head, he continuously moaned and mumbled his distress to an empty room.

"Jesus Christ," he muttered, rubbing his forehead. "What the hell happened?"

True to his word, he did not remember the graphic events from the early hours of that morning.

Upon turning onto his right side, he noticed a glass of water and two white pills sitting on the nightstand. Whatever they were, he did not care; he knew they were some sort of medication and that was good enough for him. Unhurriedly, he sat up and swallowed the capsules one at a time. He polished off the cup of water before lying down on his stomach, burying his face in a pillow.

"What did you do?" he asked aloud, trying to remember anything that could explain his current state. Nothing came to mind.

He confined himself to his bed for the rest of the day, giving up on recalling what had possibly happened to him.