Dedicated: To Tkegl ... because she purchased me... at auction.
But it was for a good cause...and she didn't make me write Carlisle smut! So yay!
Disclaimer: Do I look like Stephenie Meyer to you?
Being an FBI Special Agent wasn't as glamorous as it all sounded. There was a shit ton of paperwork, for one thing, and if you worked - as Riley Biers did - on the technical side of things, day to day life was downright dull.
Of course, there were perks. The work was interesting and important. And if he was being honest, Riley knew there were advantages to simply owning the badge.
"I would pay good money to see you try to work that badge," one of the other techs, Bree Tanner, snickered one day when he enumerated the benefits of their job. She grinned at him, flipping her long pony tail over her left shoulder as she shook her head. "Biers, smooth you're not. The way you mumble, you'd have a hell of a time even getting to that point in conversation."
Riley grimaced, pushing his glasses back up his nose. She was right, of course. About a year previous, when Bree was new to the department, she'd shown a great personal interest in Riley. He'd had absolutely no idea how to respond, and so had done his best to ignore her advances and flirtation. Finally, Bree had point blank asked him out for a drink. Quite a bit of stuttering later, Riley managed to convey that her lack of a certain appendage was a deal breaker for him.
Proving she was a good sport, Bree had taken him out for a drink anyway. After they talked, she accused him of being incurably shy. He'd protested. She challenged him to a flirt-off (her words) - whomever could get a date first won.
Bree won, hands down.
Even though it was a gay bar.
A wounded ego was a small price to pay for the friendship he found in his fellow tech-head, so he couldn't complain much.
Before Riley could think up a good retort, the doors of their lab came flying open. One of the other considerable perks of his job came bursting into the room.
Special Agent Jasper Whitlock was a legend at the Houston branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Working with a team who investigated kidnappings, the man had found himself on the wrong side of a case, being abducted in the place of a young girl the Bureau was trying to protect. He'd been viciously abused before the team could get to him. As a result of saving the girl from harm and surviving captivity, Jasper was something of a hero.
And he was ridiculously good looking to boot.
Ridiculously, fantasy-inducing, rugged scars and all good looking.
And he was headed in Riley's direction.
"Agent Biers," Jasper called when he was barely a foot in the door. "I need your help. We got a call on the Newton case."
Riley looked up as Jasper stopped at his desk, glad that when there was work to be done his mind shut off his typical nervousness, and he was able to concentrate on the task at hand. He was a professional. He didn't notice how stunningly blue the blond man's eyes were when he was so singularly focused. He didn't observe that the jagged scar over Jasper's right eyebrow and the one that bisected his chin only added to his outrageous beauty rather than detracting from it. He certainly didn't acknowledge that he felt a distinct, if ridiculous, thrill that Jasper had singled him out of all the techs.
"Biers! Did you hear what I said?" Jasper demanded, bending his face near Riley's and glaring with a harsh expression.
"Uh," Riley stumbled. "Yeah, of course. You need me to pull what I can from the sound file. I'm all over it."
"Good," Jasper said, straightening up again. "Be as quick as you can, Biers. Time is running out for this Newton kid. If we don't get to him soon they're gonna start cutting off body parts."
Jasper walked away as quickly as he'd come, obviously in a hurry to get back to his team. The minute the door slammed shut behind him, Riley let out a long, gusty breath, shaking his head sporadically.
A whistle drew his attention, clearing his head considerably. "You don't fuck around, do you?" Bree asked, sounding amused.
"What?" Rather than look at her, Riley busied himself, shoving the disc drive Jasper had left with him into his computer.
"You like him," Bree accused.
"Everybody likes Agent Whitlock," he muttered.
"Don't give me that shit, Riley. You know what I mean."
Riley sighed and growled under his breath. "So what if I do? What does it matter?" He slipped a pair of noise cancelling headphones over his neck, pulling up the right programs on screen. "He's so far out of my league, it's stupid to even talk about it."
Before she could respond to that, Riley brought the headphones up and over his ears, getting to work.
It took Riley twelve straight hours, listening to the four minute phone call over and over and over again before he heard, in the far distance, a siren.
In Texas, the old air raid sirens left over from World War II were tested the first Wednesday of every month. More than that, though, it narrowed their search area down to two specific locations.
It was more than Jasper and his team needed to solve the case. Once they had that information, the Newton boy was rescued and back in his parents' arms within 48 hours.
Riley was at his computer, as usual, working on some more mundane sound clean up from a bugged warehouse when the distinct noise of chattering drew his attention. He looked up in time to see Jasper push the door of the lab open. He leaned on the door jamb, his leonine figure looking, as usual, perfectly cut in his sharp suit. Riley bit his lip unconsciously.
"Hey, Biers," Jasper greeted with a grin that, had he not been seated, would have knocked Riley's knees right out from under him. "Get your ass out of that chair. We're going to the Cherry Pit."
"Wh-what?" Riley stumbled, unsure if he'd heard right.
Jasper pushed himself off the door and walked the few steps to Riley's desk, grabbing the other man by the arm. "Come on. That bullshit will wait. We're going to celebrate, and you're coming with us."
"Us," Riley echoed dumbly, letting Jasper pull him to his feet. He looked over to the doorway, belatedly noticing Jasper's team milling in the hallway. Waiting. "Oh, right."
"We couldn't have done it without you, buddy," the blond man said, clapping him hard enough on his back that Riley very nearly stumbled. Luckily, Jasper didn't seem to notice. He looked over at Bree and grinned. "You too, Tanner. You can buy this one a drink."
"Lucky me," Bree muttered, but she got to her feet anyway. "Sure, why not. Someone always gets drunk at these things, and I could use leverage on some of you fuckers."
Jasper threw back his head, laughing heartily. "You're alright, you know that, Tanner?" He shook his head. "You guys know where it is?"
"Sure," Bree answered for both of them. "We'll be there."
As soon as Jasper and his entourage had disappeared, Riley let out a soft groan, rubbing his eyes under his glasses.
Bree smacked him upside the back of his head. "What are you moaning about?"
"Christ! What the hell was that for?" Riley groused, rubbing the back of his head.
"Get your head in the game, Biers. We're going to a bar. There will be alcohol and the object of your affection." She grinned at him impishly. "This could be your golden ticket."
Riley scoffed. "Come on, Bree. You know that's not how the world works. This place isn't that much different than high school. The jocks don't mingle with the nerds." He sighed as he pulled his jacket on. He was more than aware of how they compared. He was skinny and awkward where Jasper was muscular and poised. Jasper was handsome, Riley was... well.. not. "Besides, he probably doesn't even swing my way, so the point is moot."
"Oh, he swings your way," Bree chortled.
Trying not to let on how curious he was, Riley looked at her out of the corner of his eye. "How do you know?"
"I have my sources," she said cryptically. "Anyway, let's get to the gone. One way or another, this shindig is going to be fun."
"Well, hell, look at this," the bartender said, throwing her arms wide as the agents filled her bar. "What can I do for the FBI? I have a speakeasy set up in the back, but they told me that wasn't illegal anymore."
"Rosalie! My angel!" Emmett McCarty, Jasper's partner, cried, throwing himself forward on the bar. "Give me a kiss!"
She smirked, putting a hand over his face and pushing him back. "You wish, McCarty."
Cackling, Emmett put his feet back on solid ground and wrapped an arm around Jasper. "You heard about the Newton boy?"
"Of course," Rosalie said, shaking her head. "Mike and Jessica Newton's only son, Eric, heir to Newton Outfitters Co. and a vast fortune therein. His kidnapping has been all over the news since last week."
"Well, he's safe and sound. All thanks to this man right here," Emmett said, thumping Jasper hard on the chest. The gathered agents let out a general whoop of excitement.
Jasper shook his head, grinning from ear to ear. "I wasn't working alone. This was a team effort."
"Well then. There's only one thing to do here," Rosalie said with a grin. "The first round's on the house for all."
That was met by a raucous cheer as the agents began to drag tables together.
Before Riley could sit down, Bree grabbed his arm, dragging him and pushing him into the seat at Jasper's right. Leaning away from Jasper, Riley hissed at her in a whisper. "What are you doing?"
Bree just looked at him innocently, depositing herself in the seat next to him.
Rosalie came by then, taking drink orders. Intimidated by Jasper's nearness - and holy Christ, he smelled so good, the flavor was almost edible - Riley blurted the first drink that came to mind. "Blueberry Bellini."
Of course, everyone seemed to hear him, and turned, incredulous smiles on their faces. "What?" Emmett snorted. "That doesn't constitute as a drink, Biers. That's chick stuff."
"Hey," Leah Clearwater protested. "I'm not gonna drink any of that fruity shit."
"I said it was a girl's drink," Emmett retorted.
"Yeah, Biers," one of the other agents, Tyler Crowley, joined in. "You're not gonna catch a woman with that."
"Maybe that's the point," Leah suggested. The others made a low, 'Ohhh' sound as they laughed.
Riley didn't say anything. He couldn't. His hands were tight fists under the table, but his tongue was tied.
"Hey!" Jasper interrupted in a loud voice. "That sounds pretty tasty, actually. The night," he consulted his watch, "errr, afternoon is young. Plenty of time for the hard shit later." He looked to Rosalie. "I'll take one of those... panini's too."
"Bellini," Rosalie corrected with a smirk. "Blueberry or peach?"
"Blueberry," Jasper said decidedly. He turned slightly, offering Riley a broad grin. "Like my friend here."
Riley felt his lips tugging up at the corners and he was helpless to stop it. He met Jasper's eyes briefly, hoping he saw the thanks there, before he looked down at the tabletop, blushing furiously.
Afternoon bled into evening, and the party raged on. Bree was having a great time, covertly snapping photos of the frivolity with her phone. That occupied her until a handsome man with thick black curls tapped on her shoulder. He introduced himself as Diego, and Riley could see that Bree was just done.
The accent was remarkably sexy.
Mostly, Riley watched the goings on around him.
Mostly, Riley watched Jasper.
Jasper who liked the bellini so much he ordered a peach one just to try it. When he tasted it, he elbowed Riley's arm. "Good call, Biers."
On his other side, Emmett snorted. "Men do not drink this shit."
"Try it." Jasper slid his drink in front of Emmett. "I fucking dare you."
"Whatever," Emmett muttered, taking the drink and tipping it back. He smacked his lips, staring at the glass for a moment before raising it to his lips again, drinking more fully. "Holly shit. This is candy alcohol."
Jasper snickered. "Hate to say I told you so."
Grimacing, Emmett knocked back the rest of the drink. "You love to say I told you so." His phone rang then and he stood, heading to a spot that was a little quieter.
Watching Jasper toy with his empty glass, Riley considered buying him a drink. He was the man of the hour, after all.
Before Riley could even contemplate wiping off the sweat that accumulated on his palms at the very thought of making such a daring move, Emmett's voice boomed over everyone else's. "What do you mean, she got off? No. No. No. This is bullshit." He listened for a moment, and the bar became quieter as most everyone turned their attention to the very loud, large, fuming man. "Whatever," Emmett growled into the phone, hanging up with a scowl.
"What's going on?" Jasper asked, striding over to where his partner was now pacing.
"It's fucked up." Emmett sighed. "Jane and Alec Scarpinato are out on bail."
The crowd bristled, cries of "bullshit!" and "son of a bitch," going up. It was an unfortunate part of the job that no matter how tirelessly they worked, sometimes the bad guys got away.
It sucked... hard, but it wasn't that unusual, so it wasn't so surprising when most of the gathered agents shook it off. They all vowed to redouble their efforts - there had to be some way to nail the sadistic twins that had tortured little Eric Newton during his captivity. Then, they all shook it off and continued their celebration.
All of them except Jasper.
It was only because Riley was watching Jasper so intently that he saw the blond man's eyes go wide for an extended moment. He saw Jasper's nose flare as he breathed in deep once, twice, before a calmer mask came over his expression.
When Emmett threw an arm around his partner's shoulders, Jasper seemed to go stiff, his body language radiating discomfort. The larger man didn't seem to notice. "We'll get 'em," he said, steering Jasper back to the table.
The blond man grabbed Rosalie's arm as he sat down. "Whiskey. Straight. Please."
There was something in his voice... Something cloying and desperate. Riley couldn't put a finger on what it might be, but it made his heart do an uncomfortable twist in his chest.
There was something wrong. He knew it like a sixth sense. Like the other agents sometimes made a leap that solved a case.
Worried now, Riley watched the other man even more intently. Jasper had almost completely withdrawn from the conversation, only nodding his head occasionally to answer a question someone had asked. When his whiskey arrived, he shot it back without even looking at it and quickly ordered another.
When that drink was, likewise, gone, Jasper stood, ambling away from the table. Riley followed him with his eyes.
"Follow him," a voice hissed in his ear.
Starting, Riley turned to find Bree had re-joined him at some point. Though she had one hand tangled in Diego's hair, she was glaring at Riley impatiently. "You've been eye fucking him all g'damn night. Make your move."
Riley stood, pushing back his seat.
"Are you really gonna do it?" Bree asked, dumbfounded.
He had no intention of making any move. He was just increasingly under the impression that there was something very, very wrong with Jasper and no one else was helping him. He walked to the bar with ever slowing steps, not knowing what he was going to say.
He was well aware that Jasper's distress could be a product of his over zealous imagination.
Leaning against the bar, Jasper was downing what had to be his fourth shot of whiskey. As Riley hovered, trying to decide what - if anything - he should say, he saw Jasper tilt his head, leaning toward the man at the bar next to him and touching his arm with two fingers.
Startled, Riley stood still, taking in the other bar patron for the first time. He looked young - also blond, though his hair was a different shade than Jasper's. When he turned his head, Riley could see the stranger was handsome. Very handsome. His blue eyes were kind and his smile patient as he looked at Jasper.
Because he was a masochist, Riley stepped close enough to hear the conversation.
"I'm sorry," the stranger was murmuring. "I'm very flattered, but..." He looked up as a lovely young woman with caramel colored hair came to sit beside him. "I'm also very taken."
Jasper raised a shot glass. "Well, here's to that," he toasted, his words slurring around the edges.
He pushed himself away from the bar, almost running right into Riley. "Biers!" he said, looking startled. His eyes darted from Riley to the stranger at the bar and he chuckled, running a hand through his hair nervously. "I'm supposed to be able to tell these things, right?" He shook his head ruefully. "That one was so pretty... I thought for sure..." He shrugged. "Guess tonight isn't my night after all."
Riley found himself, as usual, too flustered to speak.
There were a thousand things he could have said. He could have commiserated: heaven knew the gaydar he'd been born with was defective at best. He could have offered any number of witty lines that translated to the fact if Jasper was looking to pick up on someone who swung just his way, he needn't look any further. He could have even laughed it off. Given the awkward tension that was growing between them, it might have been the easiest thing to do.
Instead of doing any of those things, Riley swallowed hard, looking at the ground.
"Yeah, okay," Jasper muttered. "It's the twenty-first century, asshole. I can be an FBI Agent and still fuck men senseless."
Before Riley could say anything, Jasper had spun on his heel, walking as quickly as he was able - drunk as he was - over to the table. He grabbed his jacket, pulling it on. "I gotta get out of here, McCarty."
Emmett turned in his seat, looking like he was about to argue. His face fell slightly at whatever he saw in Jasper's expression. "Everything okay, man?"
"Yeah, yeah. I'm just getting drunk. You know I'm an obnoxious drunk and Tanner over there has been taking damning pictures all night."
Emmett swung around in his chair to glare at Bree. "Tanner, no way. That's not kosher."
"What?" Bree said innocently. "He's lying. I absolutely don't have a picture of Rosalie slapping the hell out of you."
"She didn't slap me."
"Oh, yes I did. Pinch my ass again. I dare you. See where I hit you this time."
Having shifted the attention well away from him, Jasper made his way to the exit. Desperate not to let the other man leave thinking he was a homophobic asshole, Riley finally found his voice. "J...Agent Whitlock," he called.
"Fuck off," Jasper said over his shoulder and walked out of the bar, into the cold evening.
Wondering how things had gotten so spectacularly fucked up in the space of a minute, it took Riley unforgivably long to make his feet move again. He raced out the door without a clue in his mind what he was going to say when he caught up with Jasper.
If he caught up with Jasper.
Riley looked back and forth, trying to figure which way the man had gone. He thought he spotted the trail of the blond man's trench coat disappearing around a corner and ran in that direction as quickly as he could, stumbling once along the way.
As luck would have it, Jasper was rounding a second corner as Riley came around the first. With a groan, Riley pushed himself forward, urging himself to go faster.
When he rounded the second corner, Jasper was no where in sight. He paused a moment, trying to catch his breath, before walking forward, confused. There was no where the other man could have gone.
Suddenly, a pair of hands darted out from an alley way. Riley cried out, surprised as he found himself pushed up against a brick wall with a gun digging into the skin of his chin and Jasper's furious brown eyes on him.
Riley blinked. Jasper's eyes went from hard to startled.
"I'm not a homophobe," Riley blurted. "It wasn't that. It was... It was just... you."
Jasper looked confused. "What was..." Then he let out a breath of air and quickly stepped away from Riley. "Look, Biers, I'm sorry." It didn't escape Riley's notice, even then that as he tried to reholster his gun, Jasper's hands were trembling. "Let's chalk it all up to drunkenness, alright? No harm, no foul?"
Dumbly, Riley nodded, his nervousness returning in full force.
"You should know better than to sneak up on an armed man, anyway," Jasper said, trying to make light of the situation.
"I-It's okay. No big deal," Riley managed.
Looking slightly relieved, Jasper absently straighted Riley's coat.
"Are you.. I mean, I've only had the one drink. I could drive you home," Riley offered, surprised when he didn't stumble or trip over the words.
"No," Jasper said quickly. He gave an uncharacteristically nervous chuckle. "No. I'm fine. I live just a few blocks that way."
Riley felt a strange urge to not take no for an answer. "Are you sure you're okay?" he hedged.
Jasper looked up, and for the space of a breath Riley could swear he saw something... almost vulnerable in the other man's eyes. It was gone in a heartbeat. "I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?"
Since he had no answer for that, Riley could only watch as the blond man walked away.
A/N: Thanks to bmango and barburella for prereading and jfka06 for beta services. I love you.
So uh... Tkegl... are you... pleased, thusly? *wide eyes*
3-5 chapters, from what I'm looking at right now. We'll see how it goes.
Incidentally, I did a DIFFERENT Jasper/Riley fic for the FGB compilation entitled "You'll Find Yourself" - if you got it, let me know if you read and what you thought!