Prologue

Skin on skin. He's light headed, everything has taken on a softer edge and it's hard to tell one sensation from another. He feels drugged. Tangled limbs, lips on his and it tastes like sweat and alcohol, like sin. They move harsh and quick, at a bruising pace. He's in pain and then there's nothing but pleasure. He moans long and loud. They speed up and he can't feel anything anymore.

***

Shawn was awake long before he opened his eyes. Lying in the dark, he took in the sounds, his breath echoing of the walls and the traffic outside. It took him a few moments to realize he was not alone, mostly because he hadn't expected anything else.

The cigarette smell was the first thing that tipped him off. Shawn had never smoked in his life. Then he noticed the sound of someone else breathing and the warmth along his side where that person lay next to him.

Finally, Shawn opened his eyes. He was greeted by the sight of Despereaux sitting upright in his bed, still as stark naked as the night before, smoking his usual brand. The art thief glanced at him, then turned back to staring at the wall. Shawn sat up carefully. For once he had no idea what to say. Usually Despereaux was long gone by morning, the only signs of him ever being there the bruises on Shawn's hips and a note on his nightstand.

Shawn settled his back against the wall and stared straight ahead, for once not wanting to talk.

***

"Tell you what, Mr. Spencer. You agree to keep this meeting silent and I will give you a clue as to where, when or how my next crime will be committed."

Like Shawn had a choice. The fake psychic sat down slowly on his bed, his eyes trained on the gun in Despereaux's hand.

"And instead you just want to talk?" For some reason he found it hard to believe. But Despereaux nodded anyway.

"Just talk," the older man said. "It's so very hard to find intelligent conversation these days."

Hmm, couldn't be because you've been spending the past eleven months in prison, could it? But instead of voicing his opinion, Shawn asked:

"And what makes you think I fit the bill?"

"You caught me, didn't you?"

***

Shawn knew after that first time that he should have gone to the police. There was nothing really stopping him from doing it. But his curiosity got the better of him. Despereaux, for all his faults, was a very intelligent person and it had been a while since Shawn had talked seriously to anyone. It was… refreshing.

But as Despereaux's visits got more frequent, so did the crimes. And the older man was no longer content with fraud. At this point it was predictable and the man hated being predictable. Instead he robbed banks, jewellery stores, museums and Shawn swore he had stolen magic his magic 8 ball too, although that might have been Gus.

The clues weren't helping any. They were cryptic and misleading at best, at worst they were plain wrong (and Despereaux had admitted that some of them were written before he himself had any idea of what he was going to do).

It hadn't been too bad though. Sure, Despereaux had been coming over to Shawn's apartment almost every night, and Shawn might have been spending more time on this case than was healthy. And okay, Shawn probably should have told the police or at the least Gus about all this a long time ago, but it could have been worse. At the least they hadn't been sleeping together.

***

Shawn couldn't honestly say he hadn't seen it coming. There had been signs, big, loud, glaring signs, but it's human condition to ignore what you don't want to see and Shawn was no different when it came to that.

So when he found himself being pushed against the refrigerator, eager lips on his, Shawn couldn't honestly say he hadn't seen it coming. Not that it lessened the shock.

It was brief; hardly even a kiss, more like a clashing of teeth. But when they pulled apart, both men were panting and their hearts beating as if they had just run a marathon. Shawn didn't dare make a sound. What the hell had just happened?! Despereaux was grinning now, his eyes glinting strangely and Shawn had to hold back a shudder.

"I must admit that my visit this time had an… ulterior motive," the art thief said quietly, his face still just inches from Shawn's.

"Really?" Shawn laughed nervously. "I hadn't noticed. Heh, you wouldn't mind backing up, just a little bi-"

"I have a new business offer for you Mr. Spencer," Despereaux interrupted. "I help you with your problem, namely, catching me, and you-" here he pressed a little into Shawn, making both their breaths catch and their eyes glaze over. "-help me with mine."

Shawn closed his eyes and bit back a groan. Despereaux really couldn't have picked a worse time, when Shawn was at his most vulnerable in weeks, but then again he was sure Despereaux knew that already. He fought to get himself back under control, but it was very hard to deny that delicious friction.

When Shawn opened his eyes again, they were clear and focused. He grinned back up at Despereaux and reached out his hands to play along the older man's sides. They were shaking, but Shawn felt he was hiding it pretty well regarding.

"Deal," he whispered.

***

Yeah, it had been a pretty stupid move on his part. Foolish even. But his only instincts at the moment were 'don't let him get to you' and Shawn always followed his instincts, no matter how idiotic. So he took over the situation in the only way he knew how (well, how do you act when people are pushing you against refrigerators?). He had regretted it immediately after, but that didn't stop him from repeating his actions every single time Despereaux came over thereafter. Before he knew, Shawn was in too deep to even consider calling the police. He couldn't stop what was happening, and worst of all, he didn't want to stop it. There was still that part of him, the part that made him throw the baseball straight at the neighbour's window and talk back to his father even while he was being arrested by him. The part that made him do reckless things he knew were going to end bad, just because he was curious of what would happen if he pushed things just a little bit further. The same part that got him involved in the whole psychic business to begin with.

Shawn thought he had shown remarkable restraint those first couple of weeks. He had kept himself distant (or as distant as you can get doing something so intimate), he hadn't let it get too far and he hadn't lost control. It was a temporary situation, but at the least it could have been worse…

Ah fuck it, you can probably guess what happened next. It got worse.

And now here he was, sitting in his bed next to a very naked Despereaux and it was The Morning After. Not to mention the son of a bitch was smoking in his bed, so his sheets would forever smell like cigarettes.

What the hell was he supposed to do?