Chapter 3

Quentin woke up and found himself on the couch. Through a cloudy fog he tried to remember how he'd gotten there, and then dimly recalled the fact that he and Robert had been there all night looking at mug shots and reading up on criminal backgrounds.

Yeah…that's right. That's what he was doing.

As he sat up he felt his back pop. And that was the reason why he didn't do overnights at the precinct anymore.

He scanned his eyes over the room and saw Robert sitting at his desk, still staring at the photos.

The detective stood and walked over to stand next to his long-time friend. As he walked up to him, he realized that Robert was so engrossed with whatever was in front of him that he hadn't even heard Quentin approach. Chuckling to himself, the detective took advantage of the fact.

In a lightning fast move, he swirled the chair around and then, in a surprisingly gentle manner, pressed his lips to Robert's.

The man was at first surprised, but then gave into the kiss, and they both relished the feel of each other's kiss once more after years of absence.

Quentin pulled back slightly, but Robert's hand shot out and pulled him back into the kiss, causing the younger man to smile.

Yes, it had obviously been a long time for both of them. Especially for Quentin. Even before his daughter had been lost at sea, he and his wife had started having problems and he had not been kissed going on nearly six years. Six long years.

Robert gently traced his tongue along the detective's lower lip and he gave in, and nearly moaned at the wonderful taste that greeted him.

This was the man that he'd known.

The older man who had been his teacher, his friend…and his lover.

Robert Banner had a reputation for being stoic and serious and very down to earth, but because of how intimately Quentin knew him, he knew better than everyone else. The truth of the matter was that Robert Banner was restless and playful, as well as quite the dreamer.

Quentin distinctly remembered times where after they had been carousing, Robert would suggest that they go to the pier in the middle of the night for no other reason than to watch the stars, which were impossible to see from the pier anyway, in which case he would suggest that they make homemade ice cream or suggest that they take a trip to Spain. As he kissed the man for the first time in twenty-eight years, he felt all of it come rushing back.

Yes…this felt right. Not perfect, but pretty darn close to it.

They both pulled back from the kiss at the same time, both of them looking slightly dazed.

Robert shook his head in disbelief and said, "What on earth was that for?"

Quentin grinned.

"Oh, you know…I just missed you, that's all."

Had anyone in the precinct seen the grin on the detective's face at that moment, they wouldn't have believed it. It spread from ear to ear, showing off his surprisingly white teeth. A lot of people assumed that because he was a detective, he had all of the stereotypical bad habits, but the only one he had was drinking. He neither gambled nor smoked, and because of the latter, he had a smile that could melt anyone's heart, be it a woman or a man, when he used it in the right way.

Robert smiled.

"Good to see you're in a better mood, Quentin." He turned the chair back around. "In that case, you can make the two of us coffee…"

He looked at him in surprise, the smile gone, one eyebrow raised, and Robert gave him an unrepentant grin.

"What? You know I'm hopeless when it comes to making coffee. The only thing I can do is tea, and I would rather have American coffee than your dreadful instant tea any day…"

With that, Quentin turned around and headed over to the coffee maker, an old Keurig, and set it up. Robert always knew how to slip one condescending complement and two insults into a sentence while still sounding completely proper and gentlemanly with his accent. It was art form of sarcasm that went above and beyond what he'd ever known anyone able to do.

As he pulled out two mugs from just under the edge of the counter, Robert said, "Oh, by the way, your private phone rang at around two this morning and I had a meeting with your infamous Vigilante up on the roof."

Quentin was dimly aware of something shattering.

"Quentin? Quentin!"

He came to, still not sure if he had just heard what he thought that he had just heard, and then realized that he'd dropped one of the mugs in his hand, and it lay in almost artfully arranged ceramic pieces around his feet. He knelt down and began to clean it up when Robert was suddenly at his side and pulling him back up to his feet.

"Leave it for now. Dear lord, had I known that you were going to have that reaction…well, let's just say I wouldn't have even mentioned it, but I thought you should know…"

Quentin was still in a bit of a haze, but then slowly nodded and said, "Yeah…actually, I'm glad you told me. In fact…I'm kinda glad that now someone besides me knows the truth."

Robert led him over to the chair that he'd previously been sitting in and put him in it, giving him a serious look.

"You mean the fact that you've been in touch with the Vigilante for at least three months?" he asked, arching an eyebrow at him and crossing his arms over his chest, sitting on the edge of Harry's desk, looking as intimidating as he'd been when he had been a beat cop.

"How…how'd you know that?"

Robert rolled his eyes.

"I'm not an imbecile, you know. The phone is a trac phone and has minutes that are regulated, and there's only been one purchase of minutes on it, and since you're down to less than a month left on minutes, it must have been a four month plan because that's the largest that one can purchase for just a single payment."

Yeah. It seemed he was still as sharp as ever, too.

Quentin let out a sigh and ran a hand through his hair.

"Yeah…I've been in touch with him. Laurel had the phone before I did, and I confiscated it off of her. And then I…forgot to report it to the department."

Robert raised an eyebrow at that, but Quentin ducked his head and ran his hand through his hair a second time, somehow making it even more mussed than it had been before from where he'd already tangled it earlier after sleeping on the couch.

"Forgot to report…hmmm, forgot to report or chose not to share?"

At this, he stood up from the chair and let out a sigh.

"Look," he said, sounding defensive. "I already tried to trace it on my own and got nowhere, so I decided that it was best that someone had, you know, at least a connection to the Vigilante, and at least I get a heads up when he's about to go after someone. He also gives me 'anonymous' tips from time to time. As much as I hate the guy, he's helped me out…but that won't stop me from arresting the murderous bastard when I get the chance."

His voice had gone dangerously low and Robert simply nodded, curious about the relationship these two shared.

It was layered with several different emotions and seemed to be quite complicated.

Just as his thoughts started to wander down those particular paths, the two of them were suddenly interrupted by a young man walking into the precinct, looking almost smug as he approached Quentin's desk, a smirk around the young man's lips.

Quentin glared at him.

"Queen. What the hell do you want?"

Part 3/?