Author's Note: This is the first story for my bingo card over at the kiss_bingo community at LiveJournal. And I'm going for a blackout, which means that there's twenty-four more to go.
Stealing Kisses From a Boy
"What? You want me to kiss it better?" (body: toes)
The bust had been going wrong from the second he walked through the door. He'd spent over a month establishing credibility with the dealers, buried himself in the identity he'd created, and the only other person at the department who knew about it was the Chief – he hadn't even breathed a word of his assignment to O'Hara. All to catch the SOB who'd sold drugs to his neighbor's son and put the kid in the hospital.
And now he found himself staring down the barrel of a nine millimeter, watching his life flash before his eyes.
He was surrounded by nervous men with twitchy trigger fingers, and he was barely breathing for fear of setting one of them off. He was so beyond screwed, right now.
As the lead dealer stalked forward, gun trained on his heart, Carlton started to regret giving up on his Catholic upbringing. He had a moment to wonder if it was too late to get in good with the man upstairs when a sound like a gunshot echoed through the warehouse.
Reflexively, he looked down at his chest, expecting to see blood blossoming from a hole in his heart, but he wasn't hurt. And when he looked back up a second later, his would-be captors had all ducked instinctively at the sound, looking around for the hidden shooter.
Taking the opportunity they'd left open, Carlton kicked the nearest one in the face, sending him flying backward and knocking the gun from his hand. Grabbing the gun, he bolted across the warehouse for the relative safety offered by the stacks of shipping pallets.
He managed to make it to make it behind the nearest stack of pallets without getting a bullet in the back, breathing a quiet sigh of relief only when he was sure he was safe. He took a quick look around to assess his situation, and that was when he saw the broken brick lying in the middle of the warehouse. And when another brick joined the first one, with a crack that echoed throughout the warehouse, he realized that had been the gunshot that had made his escape possible.
"Give it up, cop!" one of the dealers yelled, his voice echoing through the warehouse.
He wondered if they'd gone into hiding at the sound of the pseudo-gunshots, but he realized that they couldn't take the chance of him escaping, even if someone was firing on them. Now, the men were prowling around the warehouse trying to find him, and swearing underneath his breath, he started to move, keeping a wary eye out for his pursuers.
Carlton wasn't complaining about the chance he'd gotten to escape, but he was wondering how his unexpected backup had found him. It wasn't like the Chief would have told anyone in the department what he was up to, and he couldn't think of anyone who knew him well enough to figure it out on their own.
He risked a quick glance up at the catwalk, figuring that where the bricks had been thrown from, but for a second, all he saw was shadows. Then, he caught a flash of movement, of someone crawling along the catwalk. Then, a hand snaked out over the edge of the catwalk, pointing almost directly downward.
Taking a chance, Carlton craned his head around the stack of pallets he was hiding behind, and saw two of the dealers standing underneath the catwalk. He bit back a smirk as he sighted along his borrowed gun, aiming for their legs. Two shots later, and the pair were on the ground, screaming, as they curled around their newly-shattered kneecaps.
Carlton nodded, briefly, at his unknown rescuer, getting a quick thumbs-up in return. Then he started moving around the edges of the warehouse, again. He dispatched two of the remaining three dealers in quick succession, leaving only the leader.
"You're surrounded, Mulvaney!" he yelled, taking a chance and addressing the other man. "Give up, now!"
"Like I'm afraid of two cops," Mulvaney sneered.
"The entire building is surrounded, you idiot," a new voice called out, and Carlton wondered what cosmic power he'd pissed off recently, that his rescuer would be Shawn Spencer.
"Yeah, right," Mulvaney replied, and that was all Carlton needed to pinpoint the other man's location.
Moving quietly, he snuck up behind Mulvaney and had the barrel of his gun at the back of the other man's neck before he could even twitch. Mulvaney froze, his hands going slowly in the air, and Carlton made the rookie mistake of relaxing his guard.
The next thing he knew, something had slammed into the side of his face, knocking him to the ground. When his vision cleared, he found himself staring up at Mulvaney, who had the gun pointed at his head.
"Time to die," Mulvaney said, in a sing-song tone, his finger tightening on the trigger.
"Hey!" Spencer yelled, suddenly, his voice startling loud, and Carlton rolled to the side as Mulvaney jerked, the bullet hitting a spot about a foot away from where he'd been.
Mulvaney spun around, his gun tracking upward, and Carlton swore when he saw Spencer directly in the man's sights. Ignoring the throbbing pain in his head, he tackled Mulvaney, knocking the gun out of his hands a second after it went off.
He had Mulvaney down and restrained in a matter of seconds, tightening the handcuffs around his wrists. Then, he looked up toward the catwalk for Spencer, but the younger man wasn't there.
For a heartbeat, he was sure that Spencer was dead, and the thought had his heart leaping into his throat. Then, he heard a quiet groan coming from the direction of the catwalk, and he started breathing, again.
After he made sure that Mulvaney couldn't possibly go anywhere, he approached the catwalk carefully, in case it wasn't Spencer. But, the younger man was lying on the concrete underneath the catwalk, sprawled bonelessly with his right leg at an unnatural angle.
Spencer opened his eyes as Carlton got near him, and he could see pain in the other man's eyes.
"Tried to catch myself on the railing as I was going over," he said, weakly, flopping a hand for emphasis. "I heard something rip before my fingers gave out, and I'm pretty sure I dislocated my shoulder."
"You're lucky you're not dead," Carlton said, kneeling carefully next to the other man to assess his condition. "How did you even find me?"
"Psychic, remember?" Spencer said, his eyes falling shut as he fought to stay conscious. "I wasn't lying about those cops, by the way. I called the Chief on my way here."
"Then where the hell are they?" Carlton growled, looking around instinctively for the promised backup.
"No idea," came the slurred reply. "You can yell at them when they get here."
"Oh, I will," Carlton vowed, but his words fell on deaf ears as Spencer finally passed out.
A few seconds later, he heard the screaming of sirens in the distance, and he straightened up, ready to lay into the first person to walk through the door.
His cell phone rang for the third time since he'd sat down, but when he saw O'Hara's number on the screen, he shoved it back in his pocket, ignoring the sound. His partner had been trying to apologize ever since she and a dozen uniformed officers had arrived at the warehouse, but he was too angry to listen.
The backup Spencer had called for had been late because O'Hara had brushed him off, and now he was in surgery because of it. And, whatever his feelings for the fake psychic, the man was a civilian and shouldn't have had to do a cop's job because the real cops couldn't be bothered. He certainly shouldn't have been injured, even if he had saved Carlton's life in the process.
Carlton hadn't spoken to any of them when they'd burst through the warehouse doors except to bark orders about taking Mulvaney and his cronies into custody. He hadn't even taken the time to yell at the group, even though they deserved it – although he was saving it up for later. Instead, he'd bullied his way into the ambulance and ridden to the hospital with a still-unconscious Spencer.
Now, he was sitting in the waiting room, his fingers tapping a staccato beat on his leg as he watched the second hand on his watch creep by with agonizing slowness. He hadn't been allowed to go with Spencer once they'd reached the hospital, but he had been taken to an examining room for stitches, since his head was bleeding, sluggishly, from the blow he'd taken. And then he'd been released by the treating doctor with a strict admonition to rest, which he immediately ignored.
He'd found his way to the surgery waiting area, instead, and, after convincing a nurse to get him the second anyone knew anything about Spencer, he'd sat down in a chair and waited. That had been nearly an hour ago.
He looked up at the sound of his name, to see a doctor in scrubs standing in front of him.
"We've got Mr. Spencer stabilized," she told him, and he breathed a sigh of relief.
"Is he okay?" he asked, his voice unexpectedly rough, and he cleared his throat to get rid of the lump that had formed there.
"His worst injury is a broken leg," the doctor told him, sitting down in the chair beside him. "He fractured his femur when he fell, not to mention fracturing his tibia in two places. His left arm is dislocated, along with torn muscles and two broken fingers. And he's got some bruised ribs, thanks to that bullet."
Carlton nodded, thanking God that Spencer had the sense to wear a bulletproof vest before coming in after him. Otherwise, he'd be in the morgue, right now, and that was something that Carlton really didn't want to think about. Ever, if he could help it.
"I can take you to see him," the doctor told him, and Carlton stood up in reply.
"Let's go," he said, shortly.
The walk to Spencer's room was quiet, which, unfortunately, gave Carlton time to think about things that he'd been resolutely trying to ignore for the past couple of hours. Like why he was getting so worked up over Spencer, of all people. And why the thought of losing the other man felt like he'd just gotten punched in the stomach. Things that he really didn't feel comfortable bringing into the light of day.
Thankfully for his peace of mind, they arrived at Spencer's room, and the doctor stopped him before he could enter.
"I should warn you," she cautioned, "he looks in worse shape than he's really in. There's a lot of superficial bruising that should fade within the next week or so, but right now he looks pretty rough."
"Considering that the alternative is dead," Carlton told her, dryly, "anything else is an improvement."
"He's also pretty loopy from all of the pain medication we've got him on," the doctor warned him, and Carlton smirked.
"That's not the drugs, Doc," he told her, pushing past her to enter the room. "That's just Spencer."
He heard the doctor leaving behind him, but his attention was focused on the man lying in the bed. His right leg was suspended in a traction set-up, with a thick white cast covering his foot and running all the way up to his mid-thigh. His toes peeked out, barely visible at the end of the cast. His left arm was tucked against his chest and secured in a sling, and his hand was heavily wrapped in a bandage, with his middle two fingers taped to a splint.
The doctor had been right about the bruising; Spencer looked like he'd gone ten rounds with a prize fighter. Pretty much every inch of exposed skin was covered in varying shades of black and blue, and Carlton winced in sympathy. The bruises, alone, had to hurt like hell.
"Gonna sign my cast?" Spencer slurred, sleepily, and Carlton jumped in surprise.
"Thought you were asleep," he said, as he walked over to the bed.
"Just resting my eyes," Spencer told him, turning his head in the direction of Carlton's voice even though his eyes stayed firmly closed. "Too much work to open 'em."
"I owe you my life," Carlton began, figuring he'd get the hard stuff out of the way, but Spencer waved his uninjured hand at him.
"I was just practicing my Superman imitation," he said, airily. "Thought I could fly."
"Next time, stick to being Clark Kent," Carlton told him, and Spencer let out a short bark of laughter at the unexpected teasing.
A second later, a spasm of pain flashed across his face, and he instinctively tried to curl around the injured area to protect it. It was a completely unconscious move, but it still hurt him, and Carlton pushed him gently back into the bed to keep him from trying again as he rode out the waves of pain. Tears had sprang to the corners of his eyes in reaction, and Carlton reached out to wipe them away before he realized what he was doing. He snatched his hand away like he'd been burned, but Spencer didn't seem to notice his slip-up.
"Damn drugs aren't working," he gasped, breathlessly.
"What? You want me to kiss it better?" Carlton asked, thoughtlessly, trying to distract Spencer from the pain.
But, from the way the younger man had gone still beneath his hand, his words had made an impact. Carlton was completely still as he waited to see what Spencer would do, and then a smile forced its way across the younger man's face.
"Well, I did save your life," he joked, weakly, and Carlton knew it was Spencer's way of defusing the sudden tension and giving him an out.
And, really, he should have taken it. He should have just left well enough alone. Instead, before he could think about what he was doing, he found himself bending forward and pressing a quick, dry kiss to Spencer's toes, the only part of him not covered in a multitude of bruises.
Spencer's foot jerked under his mouth, moving as much as the cast would allow, and when he straightened up, the other man was staring at him with an expression akin to shock.
"Feel better?" Carlton asked, his voice gone suddenly hoarse with strain.
Spencer's mouth moved soundlessly for a couple of seconds, and when he finally spoke, his voice was as rough as Carlton's.
"Yeah," he said, quietly. "I'm feeling a lot better, thanks."
"My pleasure," Carlton said, automatically, as he wondered just what the hell he was supposed to do, now.