Understanding – Kent/Chandler Slash

Summary: Kent is insecure after the attack. He has seen Joe react to imperfection and his scars, his imperfections can't be washed or tidied away. Joe, with his OCD and nee d for all things perfect would be disgusted.

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A/N:- I'm not usually someone who watches a show and sees slash or anything other than what is canon really, unless I'm requested and look hard enough! However, with these two it sort of is canon isn't it? Kind of? A little? I mean Kent has been so jealous this season and it just led to this (very distracting when trying to do coursework.). So without further a due- I present you with this… I'm writing it two hours before the last episode but highly doubt it will be up until afterwards, knowing me! Hope you enjoy!

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Kent is insecure after the striping.

He's never been particularly confident as it is, the team mock him for many things, being the youngest, the smallest and being shy is one of those things. He's like everyone else his age, which some consider too young to be in his line of work, he has insecurities and irrational fears. He sometimes looks in the mirror and thinks he's ugly, a feeling left over from his school days where he hadn't exactly been the most popular of students. He often feels he isn't good enough, for friends, for relationships, for his job. He's normal for someone his age.

After the striping though, it gets worse.

His life, the way it goes, gets better especially after the Kray case is finished, but his self image and appreciation becomes almost non existent. His relationship with Joseph Chandler does nothing to change this.

It had begun, for Kent during the Ripper case, pretty much from the moment he'd laid eyes on the overdressed, uptight fast tracker, though he'd be at a loathe to admit it to anyone else. He didn't know, nor had he ever asked when it had started for Joe.

He had hoped that his infatuation with the D.I would go away when Joe had unfairly suspended him, pending investigation for being a mole, he thought the accusation might have hurt less if someone other than the D.I had said it.

It was at Ed Buchans house, during their secret investigation into the 'Kray' twins, that Joe had first kissed him. Kent had still been on crutches, would be for a while but was healing nicely, so the hospital said. He hadn't expected anything, not even the apology, or the humour that came after, he especially hadn't expected the D.I to grab his arm, haul him to his chest and kiss him more thoroughly than he had ever been kissed in his short life. The kiss had scared him almost as much as it had elated him.

He'd been right to be scared, as the relationship had progressed so had how far they would go in personal areas, and Kent feared this, it wasn't that he hadn't done anything before he was far from the blushing virgin the rest of the team thought he was. No, he wasn't scared of sex and he'd wanted to be intimate with Joe for much longer than was probably considered healthy, he was scared of Joe seeing him, seeing him for what he had become since the attack. The scars.

Emerson Kent has seen Chandlers reaction to imperfection. To dirt, blood, ugly things. He has seen how the boss arranges things, perfect straight lines, how he cleans things until they are shining and unmarred by anything other than just 'clean'. He can only imagine how Joe would react to his scars. When he stands, back turned to the mirror naked, and twists just the right way he can see the jagged, mottled scars along his lower back, zigzagging down over his buttocks, down to his thighs. Harsh red lines across pale skin. Joe would be disgusted by them, an imperfection that cannot be washed away, that is permanent.

Sometimes, well okay, a lot of the time, Emerson is jealous of the boss, even bruised and bloodied and imperfect after the fight with Jimmy, Kent is still ridiculously attracted to him, especially since this is all so new. They've only kissed once and Joe keeps sending him these shy glances and he grins from ear to ear as Kent, with only his required basic first aid training, tries to patch up his injuries in Buchans small bathroom. There wasn't much blood, just a lot of bruising and Joe was still ridiculously handsome. Imperfection suits the usually flawless D.I. it doesn't suit Kent though and his lover would be disgusted if their roles were reversed.

Everything they do is in the dark. God, Kent wants to see Joe, wants to see as well as touch and taste. He wants to see Joe's lips and hands on him and vice versa, but if he can see then so can Joe, and Joe wouldn't want him if the lights were on.

Why would anyone want to see him naked now? Why would Chandler, who suffers from probably the most severe OCD Kent has ever heard of want to see that? Chandler who needs perfection, craves it, lives for it, would not keep a lover as flawed and broken, not if he ever saw. Kent knows Chandler notices, you'd have to be an idiot not to, and Chandler is no idiot. Chandler feels it when Kent tenses because his hands are there, so close to his scars and Kent notices when he moves his hands away.

He has seen Joe in the light, the older man is not shy in that area, when its just the two of them, he is vocal, honest, questioning and isn't afraid to dress and undress before the lights go out. Seeing Joe makes Kent acutely aware of not only the scars from the attack but every little blemish and mark, the tiny burn mark on his palm, the small round birthmark on the inside of his knee. The tiny, almost unnoticeable white line on the right hand side of his jaw from a scooter accident when he was seventeen and the doctors had said, extremely lucky.

Kent is well aware of his imperfections so the lights have to go off.

Sometimes, the pain returns, shooting from the lowest scars all the way up his spine, he feels like the wounds are re-opened, like he's back in that alley, freshly wounded, fumbling for his phone to call someone, anyone. The doctors have told him its psychosomatic, phantom pain, all in his head like Chandlers OCD. To him though, it's as real as the day it happened. Joe notices when it's happening, how stiffly Kent sits, how he winces, how his hands shake.

Kent knows that Joe wants desperately to move things forward, take the next step, he can feel in the urgency of his kisses, the way his hands move over his clothed body, the way they linger over fabric where Kent won't let him touch without. Kent should be euphoric, should be even more eager than the D.I, should love it and revel in it. It didn't matter that he'd never actually had a boyfriend before; he highly doubted Chandler had either. And he would have, loved it, if not for the scars. Chandler wasn't some who let others take charge, especially someone as small as Kent, so there was no doubt that Kent's arse would be the one seen, touched. It was something he both dreaded and longed for but dammit, he would repulse Joe and then it would be over.

The team think they know, they make comments, wolf whistle and the like and Kent can see it in Joe's eyes, as it must be in his own that the older man wishes that even half of the taunts had some truth to them and Kent feels inexplicably guilty that he is too self conscious to give Joe what he needs.

It isn't all about sex, no they go on dates, Joe stays behind even when his work is finished to wait for Kent to finish with his paper work. They hold hands and Joe likes to lay his head on Kent's lap when they watch TV, mainly at Joes much bigger flat and doesn't complain when Kent's fingers find his hair and subsequently mess it up.

Sometimes, when he is in a good mood Chandler will ask him to dance to music only the blonde can hear, spin him around laughing. His boss has met his mother for Christ's sake but Kent knows that one day the sex, or lack thereof will come into question. They have touched each other, tasted, loved but they have never gone all the way and after eight months Kent knows that Chandler will wonder.

"Is it me?" Chandler asks one day out of the blue, standing in his spotless kitchen as Kent attempts to work the coffee machine.

"Sorry?" The distracted D.C replies, hoping to whatever deity will help him that the crack he just heard wasn't the machine breaking in some way. Who knew how much this thing cost?

"Am I the reason you won't let me touch you?"

Kent stands frozen, the moment he has been dreading for so long, presented here now, before him. He doesn't reply, only shakes his head as he feels Chandler's arms snake slowly around his waist.

"Is it the scars?"

Kent nods, his voice won't work but he'll still be honest as is his morals.

"It's okay, Emerson."

He shakes his head again in argument.

Warm kisses trail from his ear to the back of his neck. He shivers, like he always does. "I love you, you know." Chandler whispers. He nods the affirmative. Hands move from his waist, down his sides, to his hips. He breathes deeply, "You love me." Another nod. "So what is the problem?" There's humour in his voice but it does next to nothing to hide the seriousness of his words.

"Me." Kent chokes, as he turns around, hands resting on his lovers forearms, "I'm the problem." He points to his head, "In here."

"I want you."

"You wouldn't. If you saw."

"I'd rather decide these things for myself, if you don't mind."

Kent breathes deeply, its now or never has he realised. He doesn't want Chandler to leave him, not because of this, but it needs to be done.

"Okay. But not here."

They move to the bedroom, Chandler pretty much dragging him.

Joe switches on the lamp on the bedside table and turns to look at Kent in the soft glow. Kent's hands move to his shirt, fingers shaking, fumbling with buttons, eyes glued to the carpet. Hands move over his, still him and continue the job. Kent feels safe like this, though he can practically feel his heart in his throat and he's sure Joe can hear it too. His eyes meet blue ones, stay there, he finds many things in Joe's eyes on a day to day basis, love, kindness, strength, passion. He finds confidence too, when Miles or Mansell knock him down or dismiss him he only has to meet Chandler's eyes before he feels invigorated again. Stronger.

Before he knows it, Joe's hands are moving to his belt, deftly undoing it, something he has only done before in darkness, Kent absently notes that the D.I doesn't need to watch what he is doing, he has impressive touch memory.

And then he is naked, and he feels himself tense, can't stop himself.

Chandler's eyes are closed.

Kent tries to pull away, "No." Joe says, "It's not like that. I'm – overwhelmed."

Then Joe is moving, eyes and hands, taking in everything, cataloguing, Kent has never felt so exposed, so seen.

Then he is behind him and there are fingers tracing his scars, line for line. Kent would rather run away than continue this, he wants Chandler he does, but he doesn't want this. Joe's breath hitches behind him, the fingers stutter as they run softly over his left butt cheek, over the deepest, longest scar. Kent realises that Joe is disgusted, he moves to pull away but Joe grabs him, almost like that first kiss, holds Kent tight to him, chest to back. "I've never forgiven myself, for leaving you alone there that day. I should have realised. Even so early on in the investigation."

"It wasn't.." Kent begins, though he is interrupted.

"Then I suspended you, I made you cry, you were injured and scared and terrorised and I thought the worst and let you down. I was so surprised when you wanted me back, even after all that." Kent realises Chandler needs to say this, Kent is naked, exposed but maybe Joe is even more exposed right now. "When you kissed me back, I could have died happy right then. I thought I had blown all chances with my accusations."

"One day, one bad thing can't change feelings I've had for so long." Kent whispers.

He feels Joe smile against his shoulder, where he has laid his head.

"These scars, they're nothing to be embarrassed about. They're signs of how brave you are, of how much you've survived." Chandler whispers, breath ghosting softly against Kent's, jaw and neck. Kent smiles. Chandler isn't leaving. He turns into his lovers embrace and laughs.

"I think you're perfect."

"No you don't." Kent laughs into Joe's shirt covered chest.

"Well, I guess no one is perfect… Emerson- if you want" Chandler hesitates, breaths out, "You could… you know…me."

Kent pulls back, frowning, realisation dawning as a hand moves sensually over his lower back. He smiles. Chandler is willing to relinquish control. He isn't leaving.

Kent shakes his head, "No. That's okay. It's okay now."

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Wow! Was that finale awesome! Kent was epic in the last two! Jesus! Anyways, this ended up a lot longer than it was intended to be. Took longer too, though I had to watch the last episode on ITV and ITV plus 1 because my family wouldn't shut up the first time!

Anyways, hope you enjoyed! Let me know!