Saturday: March 10, 2029
9:37 AM; CLINSTONE, THE FRASER HOUSEHOLD, FRONT PORCH
Jamal hadn’t slept in four days. It was something he was used to, of course. He’d been that way since childhood, but it didn’t change the fact that the lack of sleep was taking its toll on the older man. He hated to admit it, but he was old, and older people needed their sleep.
Frank had informed of that much on the plane, and Jamal had insisted that he’d be fine, that he could simply sleep once they got to Bo and Jensen’s. Standing on the porch of the family who had lost a daughter, however, made him question just how ‘fine’ he would be.
With a soft sigh, Jamal lifted a hand and knocked on the door. He smoothed a hand over his suit jacket before tucking them both behind his back. He figured the stance would look far to professional, but he didn’t have the mind to change it to something more… natural for the rest of the world.
The door opened, revealing a tired-looking woman, her dark hair pulled back in a bun. Jamal couldn’t decide if she looked tired because her daughter was dead, or if she simply didn’t get enough sleep. It was hard to tell with her particular generation. “Who are you?” she asked.
Jamal offered up one of his usual charming smiles, sticking out a hand. “Jamal Pitman.”
She stiffened, but she grabbed his hand anyway. “What, uh…?” She cleared her throat. “What can I do for you, Mister Pitman?”
“I’d like to give my sincerest condolences to you and your family for the loss of your daughter. I know how hard that is,” Jamal said.
“You’ve been through it?”
Jamal nodded. “I’ve lost many,” he said softly. “None to suicide, so I’m afraid I can’t relate. However, I was wondering if you could do me a favor. And I hate to ask right now at this very point in time, but it’s a relatively time sensitive issue.”
She sniffled, nodding. “Sure, I think. I guess.”
“If you’d be kind enough, I would love to see your daughter’s laptop, her cell phone. See, my forensic analyst—bless his heart—gets real hung up on cases like this. He has a lot of built up tension around suicides; he feels connected to them, and he likes to run through every single possibility out there to make sure that it’s nothing more than that,” Jamal said.
“He thinks… my daughter was killed?” the woman asked.
Jamal offered a smile. “Darling, he thinks every case is a homicide. He likes to check every single avenue and head down every dark alley until he knows for sure that there was nothing malicious hiding anywhere in her life,” he said. “That’s all.”
The woman swallowed before nodding tersely. “I don’t have the keys to her house,” she said. “All of her things are still there. I haven’t been able to bring myself to…”
“That’s okay, darling. I can find my own way in if you give me permission.”
She nodded. “Just don’t mess up the place. Please.”
“You have my word,” Jamal said softly. He grabbed her hand, sandwiched it between both of his own. “I am very sorry for your loss, Mrs. Fraser. You take good care of yourself, now.”
10:01 AM; CLINSTONE, MARTHA FRASHER’S HOUSE, ENTRY STAIRS
“I can pick the lock, Jamal,” Frank said.
“I can do it,” Jamal assured. Frank rolled his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest. Jamal, as promised, picked the lock and pushed the door open. He walked into the house, tucking the lock picking kit back into the inside pocket of his suit jacket. Frank followed his boss inside, closing the door. “Laptop and phone,” Jamal said simply.
“Yeah. Could be wise to search for a diary,” Frank said.
“Search all you want. I doubt we’ll find one,” Jamal said. “And if we find the keys to the front door, we’ll run those back to her parents’ place. It’s not much, but it prevents them from needing to call a locksmith of any kind.”
“Sure thing, boss.”
12:10 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FOYER
Jensen pulled open the front door, his shoulders falling in relief as his eyes landed on the bag in Jamal’s hand. “You found them.”
“We did,” Jamal said simply. He handed the bag over to the younger man, stepping into the house as Jensen stepped away from the door.
“Where’s your kid?” Jensen asked.
“With Mister Duncan,” Frank said, reaching back to close the door. “Where’s your husband?”
“Upstairs. He’ll be down in a moment,” Jensen promised. “Thank you for this, Jamal.” He lifted the bag. “Means a lot to me, and I know it’s gonna mean a hell of a lot to Bo.”
“Ah, my pleasure.”
Jensen snorted before a smile crossed his face. “Happy birthday, Jamal.”
“Thanks, kid.” Jamal cleared his throat, pressing a hand to the wall as he kicked off his shoes. He barely managed to straighten himself out before Amber charged into the room, throwing her arms around him. “Hi, sweetheart.”
“Hi, Grandpa J!” Amber exclaimed. She stepped back, grabbing his hand. “Come on. Kay’s in the family room.”
Jensen watched the pair leave before letting out a breath. “Bo started smoking again yesterday. Says it’s a better way of coping than turning back to drinking.”
“Well, he isn’t entirely wrong. Bad for the lungs, but…” Frank trailed off, simply offering a shrug.
“Yeah, I know. I’m just not really happy about what the shit’s doing to his lungs,” Jensen said.
“Oh, understandable, Mister Taylor.”
Jensen turned to look at Frank, one eyebrow raised. “We’ve been over this. You can call me Jensen.”
Frank smiled. “Of course, sir.” He crossed his arms over his chest, leaning a shoulder against the wall. “He could switch to cigars like Jamal does. You don’t breathe it in. You don’t hold it in your lungs. They still aren’t wonderful for you by any means, but they aren’t cigarettes.”
Jensen laughed. He couldn’t help but notice how good it felt for a laugh to be entirely genuine again. “Do you know how weird it’d be for my husband—short little blonde, nerdy Bo—to start smoking cigars like some rich guy?”
“I mean, if we’re being honest, Jensen, he is rich. You both are,” Frank reminded. “And once he takes over for Jamal, you’ll have even more money that you have no idea what to do with.”
“Fair. Point stands.”
“Mm… yeah, I guess,” Frank agreed with a short nod.
Jensen heard Bo come down the stairs. “Come on. We can talk in the kitchen. I’ve got lunch to start anyway.” He smiled, patting Frank on the back. “Maybe I can teach you how to not burn water.”
Frank chuckled. “Sure.”
In the family room, Jamal pushed himself to his feet before he ever caught sight of Bo. He touched a hand to Kayla’s shoulder and headed into the mud room, meeting Bo at the bottom of the stairs. The blonde came to a stop before carefully stepping down from the last stair and wrapping his arms around Jamal.
The older man squeezed Bo tightly, closing his eyes. “I’ve been worried about you,” he murmured.
“I know. I’ve been worried about me, too.” Bo cleared his throat. “Happy birthday, Jamal.”
“Thanks, kiddo.” Jamal pulled back, moving his hands to either side of the blonde’s face. “I got you the laptop and phone. You can do whatever you need to do if it makes you feel better.”
“Thank you,” Bo whispered.
Jamal nodded. “With all due respect, Bo, you look like hell.”
Bo offered a small smile. “I know. I had a bad day yesterday, and it’s kind of carried over into today.”
Jamal’s brow furrowed. “What happened?”
“I, umm, I don’t think you’d want the details on that,” Bo said, taking a small step away from the older man.
Jamal let his hands fall back to his sides. “Jensen did something to you, then?”
“Oh, Jupiter, no. It’s just, you know, bedroom stuff.”
Jamal nodded. “You can leave out whatever you want to, but what, exactly, made it a bad day?”
“I had a panic attack, more or less,” Bo said.
“Ah,” Jamal murmured. He leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms over her chest. “You feel ridiculous about it, don’t you?”
“When I was married,” Jamal said after a moment, “my heart would pound every single time she crawled into our bed when the lights were off, or when she’d touch me.” He tilted his head back against the wall, closing his eyes. “My chest would tighten, and my body would get… all kinds of tense. There were times I forgot how to breathe, times I thought I was going to die.”
“Why? Were you depressed?” Bo asked.
“Mm… no, no, I don’t think so. Just a bad childhood, kiddo,” Jamal said.
Bo frowned, his brow furrowing. He knew better than anyone that it wasn’t something Jamal wanted to truly discuss. So, rather than asking for further explanation, he said, “I appreciate you telling me, Jamal. It feels nice to have something to relate to, even if… even if the situations are entirely different.”
Jamal smiled. “No problem, kiddo.” He reached out and patted Bo’s cheek. “Come on. Let’s get you around some family, have some fun.”
Bo nodded. “Yeah,” he said quietly. He let out a breath, closing his eyes briefly. “I need to get the boys up from a nap. Come with?”
“Of course, kiddo. Lead the way.”
10:04 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BATHROOM
Jensen smiled, bowing his head as Bo wrapped his arms around his waist. “Hi, baby.”
“Hi,” Bo whispered, resting his cheek on Jensen’s scarred back.
“How’re you feeling?”
“Had a smoke.” Bo cleared his throat. “So… a little less tightly wound than before.”
“That’s good,” Jensen said softly. Bo slid his hands up to Jensen’s chest, closing his eyes as Jensen laid a hand over both of his. “As long as you plan on quitting at some point, I don’t want you thinking that I, like, hate you for smoking, okay?”
“I know. You just don’t like it very much. I don’t blame you,” Bo said. He turned his head, pressing a kiss to Jensen’s back. Jensen shifted slightly, just enough that warm water hit the top of Bo’s head and rolled down his shoulders and back. “I’m going to stop eventually. I already promised Jake that. I just need…”
“Time. I know, baby.” Jensen squeezed Bo’s hand before turning to face the blonde. Gently, he pushed Bo back against the shower wall, leaning down to kiss him. “I want you to hold off on that laptop and shit until Monday. Can you do that? For me?”
Bo nodded. “I think so.”
One corner of Jensen’s mouth lifted as he brushed a thumb over Bo’s cheek. “That’s good. Thank you.” Again, the blonde nodded. “I don’t know what you think you’re gonna find on there.”
Bo couldn’t help the laugh that fell past his lips. “Me, neither, but it gives me something to do.”
“Fair,” Jensen agreed.
“Mm.” Bo pressed a kiss to Jensen’s jaw before lowering himself to his knees in front of the younger man.
“Eli. You don’t have to…” Jensen trailed off as Bo wrapped a hand around him. “You don’t have to do that,” he whispered.
“No, but I want to,” Bo said simply.
“Do you… not want to? Because I’ll stop if you don’t want to. I won’t stop if it’s because you think I don’t want to,” Bo said.
“You, umm, you do whatever the hell you wanna do, Eli.”
“Ah, fuck,” Jensen breathed as Bo took him into his mouth. He closed his eyes, pressing a hand to the shower wall, his free hand quickly falling to the back of Bo’s head, fingers threaded through the blonde’s wet hair.
The exact second that Bo pulled back, Jensen hooked his arms under Bo’s and pulled him to his feet. He caged the blonde against the wall, arms resting above Bo’s head.
Bo offered a smile. “Hi?” he greeted.
“God, I love you,” Jensen whispered. A hand on Bo’s face, he kissed him. Jensen rested his forehead against Bo’s, closing his eyes. “Was this ‘sposed to lead somewhere? Or is this because you think you have to make up for shit?”
“It could lead somewhere. You just can’t return… that exact favor. I’m afraid getting that close to the cut will be hell for me again,” Bo said.
“That’s okay. You just tell me if you need me to stop, okay?”
11:27 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Jensen climbed into bed, snuggling up to Bo’s side. Bo hesitated for a moment before wrapping an arm around his husband’s shoulders, scrolling aimlessly through Pinterest with his free hand. Although he didn’t care much to stop and look at any of the pictures on his screen, giving his mind anything to focus on that wasn’t the Martha Fraser’s laptop and phone was something.
“I know the shower sex was just for my benefit,” Jensen said quietly.
“Originally, yes. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it,” Bo said, his voice soft. He cleared his throat. “It releases natural endorphins, Jens. For a while there, I felt entirely happy. That was… that was nice.”
“That’s good,” Jensen whispered. “I just… Don’t ever feel like you have to do anything for me. If you don’t feel up to it, if you’re having a bad day… That’s okay.”
“I know, love.” Bo shifted, pressing a kiss to the top of the younger man’s head. “I spoke to Gabe about Mister Wilkinson this morning. I wasn’t expecting him to answer the phone when I called, but he did. I think… I think I’m going to ask Jamal if he can convince Wilkinson to join Wayne’s group. I don’t know if it’ll make me feel better in any way, but I guess it’s worth a shot, you know?”
“Of course, baby.” Jensen rested his head on Bo’s chest, draping an arm over the blonde’s torso. “What, uh, what if it doesn’t work?”
“I don’t know,” Bo said honestly. “It’s just… hoping for the best at this point. I don’t want to be this way, Jens.”
“No, baby, I know. I know.” Jensen tilted his head back, kissing Bo’s jaw. “If it doesn’t work… maybe getting rid of him would.”
“Christ, Jake suggested the same thing.” Bo tapped the power button on his phone and set it on the nightstand. “It feels wrong. Just because he makes me uncomfortable or mad or sad or whatever… It doesn’t mean he’s killing anyone. It doesn’t mean he deserves to die.”
“He’s still a killer, Eli, even if he isn’t doing it right now.”
“So is Wayne. So’s Dallas. So am I,” Bo said.
“Yeah, but I’m not married to Wilkinson, and I’m not friends with him, either. And, uh, for what it’s worth, you don’t belong on the killer list. It was people that deserved it. Self-defense. Shit like that.”
Bo shook his head, resting a hand on Jensen’s shoulder. “That Ashton kid is friends with Wilkinson. Taking that away from an innocent man, whether or not Wilkinson is dangerous, feels wrong to me. I couldn’t be responsible for that. I couldn’t.”
“Okay,” Jensen whispered. “No matter what you choose here, Eli, I love you.”
Bo closed his eyes, biting back the little voice in his head that told him he wasn’t worth an ‘I love you’. Jensen loved him. Bo knew that. The voice didn’t, clearly, because the voice was an ass, as far as Bo could tell. Finally, Bo pressed a kiss to Jensen’s forehead. “I love you, too, Jens,” he said softly. “Thank you for… all of this.”
“My pleasure, baby.”
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