Disclaimer : I do not own any of the characters mentioned herein. This is pure fiction, written for entertainment only.

NEVER SAY NEVER

Jeff Hardy/John Cena pairing

Nothing here is to be construed to be true. Customs, religions, practices and beliefs … they are all made up, birthed from figments of my imagination.

-ooo-

Chapter 1

The movie playing went unseen. The man's eyes were fixated on the television screen, but nothing registered in his mind. On auto pilot, his hand raised the bottle of beer to his lips and he realized that it was empty. Sighing, he got up to go to the kitchen to fetch another bottle when the phone rang. He glanced at his watch and frowned. Who would be calling him at this time of night? He was on leave for an indefinite period of time and the department knew better than to call him. He reached the phone in a few big strides. "Yeah," he spoke in a disgruntled tone.

"John! I'm glad I caught you! Look, can I come over? I'm on my way over to your place right now. Something just came up and … I'll give you the details when I get there!" the voice at the other end piped up excitedly.

"What if I say no?" John said wearily. "Have you forgotten I'm on leave?"

"I know that, but this is important! Please John, I won't take up too much of your time. Just give me fifteen minutes!" the man pleaded.

There was some hesitation and John finally relented. "Bring me a large chicken supreme pizza and some beer on your way here," and he hanged up without waiting for his reply. Deciding to grab a quick shower before his guest turned up, John turned off the television set before heading to the bathroom. He was out in ten and decided to restore some order to his otherwise cluttered apartment. There were discarded half-empty food boxes and beer bottles littering the place and for the first time, John noticed a distinct unpleasant odor in his apartment. Wrinkling his nose in distaste, he went to the kitchen to grab a trash bag and started picking up the trash. He was clearing the night table when his eyes fell on the picture standing in a frame. His eyes dimmed as he reached for it. Sitting on the bed, he gazed forlornly at the picture. It had been two weeks since his partner died in a shoot out during a drug bust. Dave was more than just a partner, he was his mentor and friend since he was transferred to the precinct a year and a half ago. They had grown close, so much so that John, who grew up in an orphanage, was accepted into Dave's family with open arms. He was invited to anniversaries, birthdays, thanksgivings, Christmases and New Year's parties. They made him feel belonged. All that remained now were just memories because Dave's family hated him with a vengeance. He couldn't blame them because he was responsible for Dave's death.

The door bell chimed and he replaced the picture frame on the night table before getting up to answer the door. Chris Jericho grinned as he thrust the pizza box at him, "Thanks for agreeing to see me," and he made his way past him, carrying the dozen beer bottles into the kitchen. He stacked the bottles into the fridge before making his way back into the sitting area with two chilled bottles in hand.

"So, what have you been doing for these past two weeks?" Chris asked as he sat down and joined John who was already half-way through a wedge of pizza.

"Nothing much," John replied around a mouthful of pizza.

Chris took a swig of beer and sat back, making himself comfortable. He studied John intently and his normal cheerful demeanor changed abruptly to somewhat serious. "Stop blaming yourself already," he spoke quietly. John continued eating, feigning indifference. "Once the grieving stops, they will come to their senses and stop blaming you. Matilda and the kids will understand that it was no way your fault."

Once again, John remained unresponsive. Chris realized that John couldn't forgive himself even if Dave's family were to forgive him. He understood what John was going through. He had lost a partner himself three years ago. Mike Mizanin was not only his partner, but was also his soul mate. His death left a void in his life which had yet to be filled. Chris hadn't found, or, was unwilling to look for someone to replace him in his heart.

Chris reached for a pizza and started to eat. In between bites, he kept John updated on what was happening at the Los Angeles Police Department. John ate silently, seemingly listening to him. He polished off three slices before deciding he had enough. Sitting back in a relaxed manner, he took a swig from his bottle before getting into the conversation. "So, what was it you wanted to see me about?" He checked his watch and grinned, "I believe your fifteen minutes starts now."

"I have a job for you," Chris got to the point. He cut off John's protests with a raised hand. "Hear me out first. I know it's not easy to overcome what you're going through and that was why I wanted you to take all the time you need before you're ready to come back to the force. But, from the looks of things, I can see it's not doing you much good. I don't want you sitting and moping around with too much free time on your hands. I know you far too well, John, so I have a little task for you to keep you occupied. It's nothing that you can't handle. In fact, it'll be a walk in the park for a guy like you."

"You just can't leave things alone, can you?" John said in a disgruntled tone before taking another swig of his beer.

"Well… you're right about that. I don't want you to sit here alone in your apartment and replay the events in your head and start blaming yourself all over again for what happened to Dave. You'll only feel more depressed. We all know what our job entails and we live with the fact that when we step out the door each morning, it may very well be our last. I want you to be kept busy, so there is this little job that just came to my attention and I think its right up your alley," Chris remarked with a smirk.

"Can I say no?" John sent him a pleading look. He didn't feel up to doing anything at that point in time.

Chris changed tactics, determined to get him to agree to take on the job. "Help me out here, will you? It's a favor to me. A close buddy of mine needs help. It has got nothing to do with the department. I swear it's nothing too difficult. Hear me out before you turn me down. I promise you won't regret this."

John let out a sigh of resignation. Chris was not only his boss, but a friend who was deeply concerned about him. He didn't want to appear ungracious and decided to listen to what he had to say. "Okay, let's hear what you've got."

Twelve hours later, he was on a plane heading towards Morocco. He felt more relaxed than ever and realized that Chris was right. He needed to get out for a while, leave the country to get his head and thoughts straighten up. The offer that was dangled in front of him was too attractive to turn down. How else can a guy go on an all expenses paid trip to an exotic destination to do a simple job? His accommodation, food and travel would be provided for and he would be getting a handsome payout on top of that. He counted himself fortunate. He hadn't been to Morocco and was excited about his first trip there. He did some reading on the mystery land with its rich indigenous culture and customs, well known for its dark veiled beauties that were skilled in pleasuring men. Well, it wasn't something he paid particular interest to, since he preferred men.

When he got off the plane hours later, he was hit by a blast of scorching heat. Unaccustomed to the heat, he loosened his tie and quickly removed his jacket before getting off. He started perspiring under the humid and hot climate. Stepping into the cool environment of the building with a sigh of relief, he looked around. Chris told him that he would be picked up at the airport. His eyes fell on a tall Arabic man, dressed in traditional Arabic robes and wearing a headdress. He was holding up a board, with his name, 'John Cena' written on it. He stepped towards him and before he could introduce himself, the man spoke first. "Mister Cena?" he spoke politely, taking his hand in a warm handshake.

"That's me," John smiled at him.

"I'm Ashad, Mister Hardy's assistant. Please, let me take your bag."

John willing relinquished his hand carrier and followed him outside … to a waiting limousine. He let out a low whistle of admiration before climbing in. Ashad followed behind and sat opposite him. As the car started forward, John made conversation, "I didn't expect to ride in style. Where exactly are we headed to?"

"Casablanca. Mister Hardy has a house there. It will take us about half an hour to get there. Do you want some refreshments? I know the weather here gets to most people, it's extremely hot during the summer." Ashad opened a mini fridge and John helped himself to a bottle of mineral water.

"How long have you been working for Mister Hardy?" John asked casually as he drank from the bottle, politely waving away the glass Ashad offered him.

Ashad broke into a grin, "I've been his assistant for almost three years. He's a very good man, very kind to all of us. He treats his workers like his own family."

John nodded and smiled. Chris briefed him on some facts about Matt Hardy. They met at the University in Florida and formed an immediate friendship. Matt was a born entrepreneur. He majored in business management and was an outstanding student. He had a brilliant mind for business and his professors knew he would make a name for himself some day. Matt's dad was an American but his mom was of Spanish descent. Matt took over the reins of Meccazine Oil United when his dad passed away about three years ago. He had done an excellent job of managing the business, reaping in huge profits in three consecutive years. It was an admirable feat since he was then only twenty three years of age, with no experience to speak off and yet carried the company well on his own. John did some checking and found out that the now twenty-five year old had assets worth well above half a billion dollars. Matt Hardy was an extremely wealthy man. But, wealth had its price, and that was where he, John Cena, came into the picture.

Ashad gave him a brief rundown of the history of Morocco while they continued their journey and soon, they reached the house. It was surrounded by high walls and they passed through tight security. The limo climbed up the beautiful driveway before finally stopping in front of the mansion. John got out, staring in awe at everything around him.

"This way please," Ashad led the way forward. They were met by two young men at the entrance. "These boys will show you to your room. You may want to rest for a while and then familiarize yourself with the grounds. They will take you on a tour at your leisure. I'll inform Mister Hardy of your arrival," and politely excused himself.

John was shown to his room which was located on the third floor. He thanked them and as soon as the door closed, let out a whoop of excitement. His eyes took in the magnificent furnishings and the king-size bed, it was luxury personified! He quickly moved to the glass doors opening out into the balcony. He stepped out and gasped at the beautiful view that lay before him. Acres and acres of wide open spaces with well tended green and fountains lay before him. He could see the vibrant colors of flowers lining on both sides of the house leading to an adjoining building. He leaned out of the balcony and right below him was the largest pool he had ever seen. The only thing that marred the whole beauty of the place was the unbearable scorching heat. His shirt clung to him uncomfortably with sweat and he quickly moved back into the cool quarters of his air-conditioned room, shutting the windows behind him. He decided to grab a quick shower before meeting the man he was going to work for the next two months.

As soon as John got out of the shower, he put a call quickly to Chris. "Hey, I'm here," he said, making himself comfortable on the bed. His eyes picked up the platter of fruits and a tall glass of iced lemonade sitting on a table near the windows. He gathered it was delivered when he was in the shower.

"How did the meeting go with Matt?" Chris asked.

John got up to drink thirstily before replying, "I just got here, haven't got to meet him yet. Man, this place reeks of money! A guy can get used to this."

He heard Chris chuckle at the other end. "I told you that you won't regret this. Matt is very generous in his negotiations. He will tell you about it in detail when he sees you. Let me know how things go and don't forget to keep in touch. You know, I wish I could have gone with you but I can't just drop everything and leave. Just say hi to Matt for me. I got to go, duty calls. I'll talk to you some other time," and he hung up.

John helped himself to the platter of fruits. Having had his fill, he decided to check out the place. He opened the door, intending to look for his guides and was surprised to see one of them standing in wait near the staircase.

"Mister Cena, would you like me to show you around?" the man offered with a polite smile.

"Call me John and you are?"

"I'm Hashim," he inclined his head in a bow.

"This place is huge! I might lose my way, so I would appreciate a tour," John grinned at him.

"It'll be my pleasure," Hashim grinned back, immediately liking the visitor.

As they made their way through the house, Hashim showed him the extensive library, the fully-equipped workout room, the games room where there were a dozen pinball machines, three billiard tables, six bowling lanes with a long bar situated at one corner and a juke box which sat at the other end of the huge room with a large sitting area.

"This room is soundproofed so that the noise won't disturb the others in the house," Hashim explained. "There are fifteen guest rooms and Mister Hardy occupies the uppermost fifth floor. Master Jeffrey is on the fourth floor."

"And who is Master Jeffrey?" John asked inquisitively. Chris didn't mention that Matt was married or have a kid.

"He is Mister Hardy's younger brother," Hashim informed him with a wide grin.

John was taken aback. Chris never mentioned that Matt has a younger brother and he didn't come across any records that indicated there was another Hardy in the family. It was news to him.

"Let me show you the grounds," Hashim led the way out. Once they were outside, John found himself drenched in perspiration again. "It's really hot," he grimaced at the unforgiving heat.

"Yes, it is. We wear light cotton around here, it's much cooler than what you're wearing right now," Hashim couldn't help letting out a chuckle. John was dressed in a long-sleeved shirt with camel thread pants.

"I'll just change into t-shirt and shorts after my meeting with Mister Hardy," John quipped as he rolled up his sleeves. He was uncomfortably sticky with sweat and he could really use another cold drink.

They made their way down the winding steps with Hashim pointing out the pool to him. "Its Olympic size," he offered the information with a proud grin. The luscious trees around it provided the necessary shade with the large umbrellas at poolside to assist. There was a large barbeque pit nearby, as well as a sauna room. John chuckled and said, "The heat is enough to make me sweat, I don't need to use the sauna."

Hashim grinned as he explained, "The temperature drops sharply here at night. It can get quite chilly at night.

They cut through the garden and John realized a lot of care must be taken to keep the flowers in pristine condition under the heat. They followed the passage way and came to a three-storey building.

"Master Jeffrey loves to paint and has a gallery and drawing room on the second floor. There is also a study room where he takes his private lessons. Mister Hardy's antique collections are also housed here on the third floor. The first floor has an indoor tennis, squash and basketball court. There's another building behind this one, it's the servant quarters. That smaller building over there is the garage and behind it, a shooting range. The golf course is located on the other side of the house. Mister Hardy loves to play golf," he beamed.

His walkie-talkie suddenly crackled alive. "Excuse me," Hashim said, removing the communicator from deep within his robes and spoke into it. There was a rapid exchange of words in Arabic and Hashim finally turned off the walkie-talkie and said, "Mister Hardy can see you now. I'm to take you to him. Please follow me back to the house."

John sighed with relief as the cool air hit him as soon as he stepped back into the house. He was led through the house and up the stairs to the fifth floor. They passed through the long corridor before stopping in front of a room. Hashim knocked softly before opening the door and gestured for John to enter. John saw a tall, dark-haired handsome man, clad in a suit stepping out from behind his desk to meet him.

"Mister Cena, I'm Matt Hardy. Glad you got here safely. I hope you have enjoyed the tour around the house." Matt grasped his hand in a warm handshake.

"You have a beautiful home, Mister Hardy, and please call me John," John said smilingly.

"Thank you. It's my little private haven. And, do call me Matt. Let's take a seat and we shall talk," Matt led the way to the sitting area. Hashim returned with a jug of iced tea and some sliced lemons and after pouring for them, closed the door quietly behind him.

"I gather Chris told you about me?" Matt began.

John gulped down half a glass of iced tea before answering, "Yes, he did. He has nothing but good things to say about you," John grinned at him.

Matt laughed and said, "We have been keeping in touch since graduation. He's the head of the Los Angeles Police Department, not too shabby I must say."

"That may be so, but you're a multi-millionaire and owner of a huge oil company. I would say you fare so much better than him."

The two men laughed at the exchange. Matt decided to get down to business. "I believe Chris told you that I only need your services for two months?"

"Yes. It works fine by me. I'm on indefinite leave at the moment for personal reasons," John said in an awkward tone.

Matt gave him an understanding smile, "Chris told me what happened and I'm sorry that you lost your partner. It's never easy to come to terms when you lost someone close and dear to you. I hope your pain will ease with time."

"Thank you," John gave him a grateful smile.

"There are a few things that I would like to bring to your attention. I never told Chris what I'm about to tell you now. It's kind of complicated but I need you to understand what I want from you. You have to keep everything that is said here confidential. This is very important," Matt emphasized his words.

John leaned forward, all ears and said, "Go ahead, I'm listening. What is said here will not leave the room."

Matt took in a deep breath and began. "I have a younger brother, his name is Jeffrey and he's eighteen. Except for the people working here, no one knows he exists, and I must add, that it's intentional. When Jeff was born, my dad decided to keep his birth a secret. We have always made our home here on foreign land because dad held major business interests here. But, honestly, it's never a safe place for people like us. Some of these Arabian businessmen are powerful Sheikhs and they do not take kindly to foreign competition. They view us with distrust, seeing us as thieves, who come to their land to rob them. Of course, there are some who view us in a favorable light. They see us as healthy competition. We provide ample employment opportunities to their people and offer competitive wages and benefits, and their economy benefit from our presence. Dad had good reasons for hiding Jeff from the world. I was seven years old when Jeff was born. Dad didn't want me to study in the schools here. He engaged private tutors back home and flew them here to educate me. But, all that changed when I turned eight. He sent me back to America under escort to boarding schools. Mom passed away when I was nine and I never got to see Jeff until I was fifteen when I was allowed back here to visit." He paused to think, a contemplative look on his face. "When I was in America, dad made sure that besides an education, I also learned how to defend myself. I can fence, shoot with firearms and bows, and well-versed in martial arts. I didn't fully comprehend Dad's actions until I came back to visit and he told me he sent me away for my own protection. He didn't elaborate and I didn't ask, but I assumed a wealthy man like him was bound to invite animosity from his Arab peers. I was here only for two weeks and I bonded with Jeff. He puts a smile on my face every time!" Matt broke into a soft smile as he mentioned his brother. "Dad was busy with work and Jeff didn't have anyone but his private tutors and the employees on the grounds to keep him company. We were glad for each other's company and I wanted to stay on permanently, but our Dad said no. He told me he wanted me to go back to the States to further my education. I thought he would want Jeff to go with me but he said he would prefer to keep Jeff here with him, for both our safety. His words puzzled me but I didn't push him for an explanation. I just assumed that he didn't want to be alone and wanted Jeff to stay with him. It's not like I can take Jeff with me when I went back to campus. I thought nothing of it and returned to the States, according to his wish."

Matt stopped, eyes staring into space and his tone changed subtly as he continued in a quiet tone, "I didn't come back because Dad insisted that I stay put in the States. He said it wasn't safe for me and Jeff to be seen together. I asked him if he was having any trouble and he just said it was nothing he couldn't handle. He told me not to ask too many questions and to stay away until he sent word. I live my life in the States, while Dad and Jeff live theirs in Morocco. Then, one day, I received a phone call. I was celebrating my twenty-third birthday with my friends in the dormitory. The authorities here told me that my dad was found dead. He was shot between the eyes and another bullet was put into his heart." Matt brought his gaze to look unflinchingly at John. "Those bastards murdered my Dad!" he spat out with vehemence.

John remained silent, allowing Matt time to regain his composure and continue, which he did after several minutes of silence.

"I flew back here immediately but I didn't come alone. I got the US embassy officials to come with me with an armed escort. I've made friends whose families come from high places and they got me all the necessary help. When I got here, I couldn't find Jeff anywhere. I thought they had killed him as well. And then, Khalif, Hashim's dad, came to me quietly on that night after everyone had left. He told me Jeff was safe and took me to an underground cellar hidden underneath the house. Dad had it secretly built. Khalif told me that my dad had asked him to take Jeff to the cellar and stay there with him until he came to get them out. Dad told him he was expecting some trouble. Khalif didn't know who he was referring to. He followed my Dad's instructions and kept my brother with him in the cellar the whole night. He only found out my dad was killed only when he came back up the next morning to check. The guards at the gate were all killed. Whoever did this murdered every single eyewitness to cover their tracks after they murdered my Dad," he said bitterly.

"I'm really sorry, Matt," John didn't know what else to say. He felt so sorry for him and Jeff, to lose their dad like that and not knowing who committed the heinous deed.

Matt sighed and nodded, "It's hard to accept something like that. Jeff and I have no one but each other. I can't tell you how glad I am to have him by my side. He's my only relation. The officials advised me to pack up and leave but I refused. Dad put his whole life into the company and I refused to let it go just like that. Two days after my dad died, some businessmen came to me, offering to buy over the company. They offered me fucking peanuts!" Matt spat out angrily. "They thought they could take advantage of me but I proved them wrong! I went to my Dad's office and went through every single book! I poured through all the business transactions, accounts, and looked through all the records. It wasn't easy but I was determined to know everything there is to know to carry on my Dad's hard work and no one was going to rob Jeff and me, and my Dad!"

"Did they find out who did it?" John asked.

Matt shook his head, "No, not yet, but I won't let it rest. I will find the culprits eventually!"

He got back to the topic at hand, "The reason why Jeff escaped death was because they didn't know about him. I understood then why Dad kept him hidden from the outside world and why he sent me away. He had enemies who wanted him out and they wouldn't hesitate to use us to coerce him to do their wishes. I was in the States, safe from harm and I'm sure Dad had someone watching over me all that time. He kept Jeff invisible to keep him safe and I intend to do the same until the murderers are caught! It hasn't been easy for me. I have competitors who are lying in wait, waiting for me to make a wrong move and force me out of business. I have to keep my mind sharp and focused and I can't take Jeff with me wherever I go. I can't have both of us shot dead and those hyenas would then plunder our company. And, that is where you come in. What exactly did Chris tell you what I need?"

"Chris said that you needed someone you can fully trust to act as bodyguard. He suggested me to you and you agreed to meet me," John said.

"That is correct. I need a bodyguard but it's not for me, it's for Jeff. Let me explain. Jeff presently has a personal bodyguard. His name is Paul Wight, but he's leaving to get married and he'll be away for two months. I have to travel a lot and I don't want to leave Jeff here without any protection and I can't take him with me. Jeff receives his education within these premises. Our Dad personally chose his tutors and I've carried on the practice. He has never been seen outside the house, or allowed outside it. I wanted to continue to keep his identity a secret as long as I can, but there has been a leak. About a week ago, I received a letter in the mail. I want you to take a look at it and it will explain everything." Matt withdrew a folded letter from his shirt pocket and handed it to John.

Glancing quickly through the contents, John finally looked up and said, "This person threatens to kidnap your brother and hold him for ransom. Why didn't you go to the police?"

Matt barked out a short laugh, "John, things don't work like that around here. In case, you haven't noticed, I'm not of Arab descent. I'm a foreigner who happens to make his fortune on Arab land. They don't give a damn about us!" he said bitterly. Shaking his head, he continued, "Someone outside now knows about Jeff. I can only come to one conclusion; someone working here is leaking out information and may be involved in the plot to kidnap my brother. I need to find out who is the perpetrator!" he spoke in a dangerously quiet tone. "It's most unfortunate that Paul has to leave at this inopportune time where he is most needed, but it's not his fault. He told me months in advance about his marriage plans and I granted him leave. I never expected this to happen. I've been trying to get someone I can trust to take over as Jeff's bodyguard but I just can't trust anyone from around here. I finally approached Chris and he recommended you. He spoke highly of you and told me he would stake his life on you."

John flushed at the compliment and yet, felt that he had failed Dave. He pushed that thought away and brought his focus back to the current situation. "Can you clear a few things up for me?" John asked.

"Go ahead, you can ask me anything," Matt invited him to speak.

"I assume you have your own personal bodyguards," and he was surprised when Matt shook his head.

"No, I only have my assistant, Ashad. Like I said, I'm well versed in martial arts and firearms and I can fully protect myself. Ashad serves as my back up. Don't underestimate him, he has killer instincts and I trust him with my life. He comes from a warrior sect, trained to hunt, kill and protect. It's a long story how I got to know him but we will leave that for another day. I assume you were going to ask me, why I didn't just allocate one of my bodyguards to Jeff," Matt grinned at him.

John gave him a sheepish grin, "It did cross my mind. Is your brother …" but he didn't get to finish as screams rang out from downstairs.

"Jeff!" Matt was up like a shot and out the door in a flash. He drew out a pistol from inside his leg trousers, running down the stairs quickly. John followed closely behind him, his pistol on hand already.

They reached downstairs and Matt let out a sigh of relief, which was quickly replaced by a frown at the scene before him. His brother was clinging to a very large man and screaming hysterically, "NOOO…. I don't want you to leave! You can't leave, you just can't! I won't let you!" He then buried his face against the man's chest and heaved with hard sobs. His arms and legs were wrapped tightly around the man and he wasn't about to let go.

"Please Jeffrey, don't make this harder than it is," the large man pleaded, looking flustered but trying to calm the boy down. The servants, who had rushed in to investigate, cooed softly, lending their aid and trying to pacify the distraught boy. "Listen, it's only for two months. I promise I will come back, but I really have to leave. I'm getting married, Jeffrey. Aren't you happy for me?"

"You just told him that you're leaving?" Matt stepped up, after tucking his gun away. Assured that there was no danger, John put his gun away as well.

Paul turned with Jeff still clinging to him, to face Matt. "I thought it was best to prepare him a couple of days earlier before I leave. I didn't expect him to take it so hard," Paul rubbed the boy's back in a comforting gesture.

Matt nodded, "You did the right thing." He stepped up and stroked his brother's hair, speaking gently, "Paul is going away to get married. He has found someone to love and who loves him back. We want him to be happy, don't we?"

Jeff hiccupped through his tears, but he nodded, his face still buried in Paul's chest. Matt smiled, relieved that at least, his brother was receptive to what he was saying.

"I'm glad you understand. Paul will be away only for two months. In the meantime, you won't be alone. I found you another bodyguard. His name is John and he's with me right now. He's going to be your companion until Paul gets back. I'm sure you want to acquaint yourself with him since you're both going to spend a lot of time together. Why don't we take this in the privacy of my study?" and Matt led the way back upstairs.

Paul gave John a smile and nod of acknowledgement before following with Jeff in his arms. The boy had yet to uncover his face and just clung to him like a baby koala bear, arms wrapped tightly around his neck. John brought up the rear, waiting to catch a glimpse of his face. He could only see a blonde head. The boy had long hair which was braided in a tail and tied with a bright green chiffon ribbon. He was clad in a light white robe with baggy green Arabian pants and sequined moccasins.

They reached Matt's study and Paul sat with Jeff still clinging to him. Matt couldn't help chuckling, "Looks like we may have to peel him off you, Paul," he said in a teasing tone, trying to put his brother at ease. "Come on, buddy, meet your new bodyguard, John. He's a detective from the Los Angeles Police Department. I'm sure he has some interesting stories to tell, that is, if you ask him nicely."

Matt fed him enough information to pique his curiosity and get him interested to lift his head to look at John. And true enough, Jeff was intrigued by any newcomers. It wasn't as if he got to see fresh faces every day. He turned his head slightly to one side, more out of curiosity than anything else, stealing a peek at Paul's replacement.

John caught a glimpse of dark green eyes before the face turned fully towards him, bashful but filled with curiosity. His breath caught as he stared at the gorgeous face before him.

"John, I would like you to meet Jeffrey, my precocious baby brother."

-ooo—

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