I'm always a little bit gobsmacked by Harmony's… well, Harmony-ness when I first see her. I mean, even now when I'm not half deranged with blue balls, she's just one of those people, you know? Makes whatever room she's in seem special, because she's just this… presence. There's this sorta fleeting, spangly, glorious thing about her, like the sun just before all the winter ice melts and light's just reflecting off of everything.
Christ, that sounded stupid. Anyway. Speaking of spangly, that tiny little silver dress was nearly blinding me, which is sorta disappointing, because it couldn't have covered her ass by more than an inch and a half. I blinked hard a couple of times. "You look great, honey. Are we going out?"

Harmony laughed, glancing around me like she was looking for something, which, in retrospect, she probably was. "What do you think, Harry?" She leaned up to kiss me, but it barely lasted long enough for me to start working my mojo before she pulled away, patting my pockets playfully, looking really excited about something. "So, where is it?"

This should've been my first clue. I started to make a dick joke, but narrowly refrained.


"My present, asshole!" she wrinkled her nose adorably and gave me a little mock-glare, "I know you didn't forget my birthday, Harry Lockhart."

Well, fuck.

"…Shit. Harmony, I-" I stuffed my fist halfway into my mouth before anything idiotic could come out. It was temporarily successful.

Her face fell. "You forgot?"

See, the thing about Harmony you have to realize is, her puppy-dog eyes are fucking incredible. I swear to god, they're like these evil, mind controlling pools of… something. I don't know what the fuck eyeballs are made of. Point being, Harmony's eyes make me do stupid things. Like pretend to have gotten her a present instead of just telling her I forgot, because I haven't even really slept in a month and Perry's a goddamn slave driver. I mean, Harmony's pretty chill about that shit. She would've pouted for like five minutes to fuck with me, then let me off the hook with the warning that I'd better get her something awesome for Christmas. But I couldn't stand those goddamn eyes, so-

"Of course I didn't forget your birthday," I assured her a little too sincerely, hoping that awkward 'I'm lying out of my ass' giggle that Perry says sounds like a cat choking on a hairball wouldn't give me away. She didn't look convinced, so I kept talking, as per usual. "I'm just a dumbass- left it at Perry's."

She rolled her eyes. "Right." Harmony turned, leaving the door ajar, crossing to a mirror to put the 'finishing touches' on her makeup. Which she didn't need, obviously. I just sorta lingered uncomfortably on the doorstep, wondering if I could possibly play a box of condoms off as an appropriate birthday gift. Perry probably could, the smooth bastard.
'Wait- shit! Perry!' I thought, 'Perry's gay, gay men are like fucking catnip to straight girls. He can totally get me out of this.'

Right now you're probably thinking 'Harry, you dumbfuck, Perry's getting laid! Don't cock-block a man who could kill you with a toothpick.'

Well, fuck you. I was panicking, okay? Shit, how do you explain to your dream-girl that you forgot her birthday?

Either way, I probably looked constipated or something, because Harmony glanced over at me and snorted. "Gonna stand out there all night?"

The words were out of my mouth before I could stuff my fist in it again. All things considered, it wasn't a bad excuse, "Well, I mean, I should go back to Perry's- gotta get your present, which is still at Perry's. I just left it on the counter -not that you needed to know that- but, anyway, I'll be back in 20 minutes, ok?"

"Wha- Harry!"

I was in my car by the time she got back to the front door. My cell phone buzzed. I glanced at it as I stuffed the key in the ignition.

9:01 PM- Harry, you dipshit, just get it later. It's not a big deal.

'it is a big deal!' I typed back, one eye on the road and one hand on the wheel, which Perry yells at me for, but he's an old woman, so whatever. 'u hav 2 open ur present. back in 20.'

That should do it.

I should mention that I never even considered, you know, calling Perry to make sure I wouldn't be interrupting anything, but you have to understand- and I know this sounds ridiculous- I don't typically think of Perry as being gay, which, you know, considering the whole "Gay Perry" moniker, sounds pretty goddamn stupid, but it's not even a homophobic thing. It's just that Perry's my friend, my boss, the guy who lets me live in his guest room. I don't think of him as being particularly sexual, even though he'll make those clever innuendos and pretend to flirt with me sometimes. He's just… He's Perry, okay? The idea of Mr. Perfectly-Controlled, Perfectly Unwrinkled Suits, Gets Pissy if One Single Hair is Left in the Shower doing something as dirty and uncontrolled as fucking was laughable, really. It would probably mess up his hair. And yeah, obviously he brings home guys sometimes, but he's pretty considerate about it, and it's not like I ever see them in the morning, just occasionally on my way to take a piss in the middle of the night.


Even if he was getting laid, this is Perry van Shrike we're talking about. They'll be in his bedroom with Perry's expensive 100% silk duvet (so get your goddamn shoes off of it, shithead) safely stowed in a closet. Hell, he probably puts plastic down just to make sure nothing gets ruined by all of those messy sex juices.

Anyway, blah blah blah, I drove back to Perry's. Nothing seemed particularly unusual as I walked up the driveway, and if it had been, I was far too fucking busy trying to think of something convincing to give Harmony as a Thoughtful Gift to be playing detective. Until I got to the door.

It was unlocked.

Not just unlocked, it wasn't even closed all the way- a corner of the usually perfectly straight doormat was stuck between the door and the frame thing, propping it open just a little bit. With anyone else, this would be no cause for concern. Perry, however, is a paranoid son of a bitch who insists on having the door dead-bolted when we're both home and it's not even dark out yet. Who the fuck does that, seriously?

Anyway. Door unlocked, welcome mat all screwy.

Something wasn't right, and worry felt like a lead weight in my stomach, and my brain started to helpfully present me with images of all of the bad things that could be inside; robbers, the mafioso I spit on last month, the target from our last case (meth-head Gary Oldman), aliens. I'm not used to being worried about Perry- he's the resident badass. He's the one who gets us out of tight situations, patches me up after I run my mouth to some bad guy with a baseball bat, that kind of thing. Whenever he's in danger, I usually am too, and I know I can count on him to fix everything.

Something about that foreign feeling, of maybe being responsible for Perry's life or something, made me remember some of the shit Perry's been trying to beat into my head for the last six months. Namely "Don't just rush into a situation, fuckhead. It'll get you, and probably whoever you're trying to rescue, killed Actually, just stop trying to save people, period. That's usually when you get into trouble."

I didn't say I remembered everything.

I pushed open the door silently, suddenly grateful for Perry's fastidious insistence on well-oiled hinges. I crouched, keeping low and slow as I pushed inside, and carefully returned the door to its previous position, then paused, not even breathing, listening for something -anything- that would tell me that Perry was okay. Finally, I heard low voices, someone breathing heavily, the sharp crack of flesh being struck hard, a choked sounding moan- Perry's moan. It sounds weird, but I swear to god, my vision went grey for a second before everything came into sharper focus than I've ever experienced in my life. I didn't even think, just crept toward the living room, grabbing the gun Perry keeps hidden behind the potted plant near the stairs, and pressed my back tight to the wall, making sure to stay in shadow as I peeked out into the living room.

Perry was on his knees, hands secured behind his back with something I couldn't see. His shirt looked as though it'd been ripped off, hanging askew and creeping down his forearms, exposing his chest and one shoulder. His back was straight, though, and I was momentarily awed by his… well, poise, I guess. Perry's my rock, and even right now, somebody fucking threatening his life, his spine is ramrod straight, like a statue come suddenly to life. As I watched, a drop of sweat fell from his jaw onto his neck, catching the light. A strip of duct tape covered his mouth, but his eyes were open, and glinted for just a second with something like defiance in response to something his captor said. A button shined somewhere near his knee, and a tall man circled him, half shrouded in shadow, tapping a wicked looking knife deliberately against his thigh. His expensive looking leather shoes squeaked minutely against the hardwood as he laughed a laugh that sounded like velvet-covered steel. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. He traced Perry's throat with the flat of the knife, lingering almost lovingly on the corded tendons of his neck.

I couldn't do anything when the fucker had a knife at his neck, lest he startle and slit his throat. I swallowed past the desire to look away.


Perry jerked his head once. The meaning was clear. 'No.'

Suddenly I knew how Perry feels when I get mouthy to people with weapons.

The man stopped just behind him, and somehow, the stillness was even more unnerving than the weird knife-caressing thing. Abruptly, he raised one booted foot and struck Perry between the shoulder blades, just hard enough to send Perry to the floor, the air rushing out of his lungs, and then he was on top of him, feral, one leather-gloved hand threading through his hair and jerking his head back, before biting the shit out of Perry's neck, which was really fucking bizarre, but I didn't think about it because Perry's eyes were squeezed shut in pain and a little whimper managed to extract itself from his throat, drowning out whatever he murmured in Perry's ear.

The man stood again, brushing imagined dust from his suit and straightening his cuff-links.

"Get up."

Perry wrestled himself to his knees, and the man seemed to nod in satisfaction, gently brushing his fingers across his cheek before ripping the tape off of his mouth in a single, stinging, stroke.

"Beg." He repeated silkily, cupping the back of Perry's head in his hand in a weird, nearly paternal fashion. I shuddered, eyes still on the knife. Perry's lips moved silently, then-


Holy shit.

Holy FUCKING shit.

Perry's head was tilted up, and I couldn't quite see his eyes, but his face was screwed up, and his shoulders looked tense enough to shatter.

"P-please. Please." he finally ground out, voice breaking midway through. I swear to god he sounded 10 years younger, and holy fuck, Perry was actually begging, face relaxing as he repeated the word over and over, like a broken record.

Like he'd been broken.

That sound sent me over. Fuck caution. I raised the gun and pushed away from the wall, stepping fully into the light. "Drop the fucking knife, or I will blow your goddamn brain out." I didn't shout- just said it loudly enough to be heard, even though I barely heard myself with my own heartbeat sounding in my ears. I probably sounded pretty badass. Perry's jaw had dropped open, but I ignored him, focusing my attention instead on the man who'd been threatening him.

He didn't move.

"Do I look like I am playing, motherfucker?" The guy jumped, and I swear to god, he was scared shitless- Fucking coward probably couldn't deal with somebody who wasn't tied up and unprepared. Blind hatred surged up through me. The knife clattered to the floor. "Good." I spat, "Now get the fuck out before I change my mind."

The fucker ran faster than I'd ever seen someone in a designer suit move, including Perry, who can be pretty damn fast when he wants to. I shrugged, stuffed the gun in the waistband of my jeans, and followed, watching as he practically threw himself into a shiny black car before slamming the door shut and locking it securely. When I got back into the living room, Perry hadn't moved. I mean, literally. At all. His mouth was still hanging open, even. "Perry?" I waved my hands in front of his face. "Hey, Perry. Wake the fuck up, you're safe."

He dropped his head to his chest like he couldn't handle keeping it up anymore. I furrowed my brow, crouching next to him, because clearly something was seriously wrong here- "Perry. Are you okay? Did he- do I need to call an a-"



His head snapped back up, his gaze vaguely imperious, and he was very much Perry again, no vulnerability there at all. "Don't speak. Go upstairs, get the key to the handcuffs from the drawer on the right side of the bed. The right side, Harry, not the left," he added, when I pointed to my left, because sometimes I forget which is which, shut up. "Touch anything else and I'll kill you."

Well, he was remarkably calm for a man who'd just been taken hostage inside his own house-

"Actually, revise that. I may just fucking kill you anyway, because WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE?"

I winced and rubbed my ear, opening my mouth to demand why the hell he wasn't showering me with thanks for saving his life, when he started ranting at the room in general. "Fuck. Derek's probably never gonna come here again. Probably thinks I've got a jealous boyfriend or some shit. Goddammit, Harry." he rolled his neck, glaring up at me. "Do you have any idea how long it took to find someone who wasn't nuts?"

I sputtered inarticulately. "Wha- but he was- I thought he was gonna- and he had a knife, and the door was open, and what the fuck-" I stopped mid-sentence as Perry neatly rolled onto the balls of his feet, standing smoothly. This was when I noticed the rather sizable bulge in his pants, and not just that sort of half-hard crap you sometimes get from adrenaline after a fight, the guy had a pretty full blown rodney going from what I could see. "Oh my god."

Perry rolled his eyes, but I didn't even notice.

"Oh shit, Perry, I am SO fucking sorry- Jesus, I didn't mean to-" my eyes drifted back down to his crotch for half a second before I wrangled them and forced them back on his face, and he had an eyebrow quirked, clearly wondering what was so intriguing about his cock, and I just kept babbling, "It was just, it's Harmony's- her birthday, and I-"

"Shitwit, I do not fucking care. Go get the keys." he ordered, admirably controlled for a guy with a raging erection, no shirt, and his hands cuffed behind his back. I made a weird little flail-y gesture at his crotch.

"Oh my god. No shit, Sherlock. Finally got it?"
I nodded like a fucking bobble head and pulled the gun out of my pants, stared at it for a second,
wondering if I should take it with me, before placing it carefully on the counter and.. well, out of Perry's reach, just in case.

"Just, uh, hold tight, I'll grab those… keys.."

Perry didn't reply. I think he was too busy trying to hate me to death.