4:13 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LIEUTENANT JACOB MASON’S OFFICE
Jacob glared at Bo. “Don’t call me that,” he reminded. Bo only smiled. “What do you need?”
“We’re heading home,” Bo said. He tapped a hand against Kayla’s shoulder. “Take a seat in the hall, baby?” Kayla nodded, walking back into the hall. “I’m still working on figuring out a few things about the victim, but this is the finalize report of what I have so far,” he said, holding out a folder.
Jacob grabbed it, setting it on his desk. “I know the basics, but walk me through again. Beginning to end.”
Bo nodded, tucking his hands behind his back. “Nadia Gibson. Twenty-nine, turning thirty later this year.”
“Like the man at the school.”
“Correct,” Bo agreed with a nod. “She’s unmarried, single. Miss Gibson was chloroformed and, as far as I can tell, didn’t put up a fight. She has no defensive wounds, no bruises or scratches. I haven’t watch the traffic cam footage yet, but that this weekend. I assume she was unconscious when the killer handcuffed her, but she was awake when they led her to the middle of the road. They wouldn’t have carried her, not for this.
“The killer probably pushed her to her knees, possibly helped steady her. The killer would’ve wanted her upright. Honorable or… something like that. I don’t know how long they were out in the cold beforehand, but I do believe Miss Gibson died around one-thirty in the morning. I found several fibers in her mouth, but they all match the cloth used to gag her, to keep her quiet.
“I believe the beheading was done with some kind of sword rather than a machete, as I originally believed. It could be a saber of some sort. It’s a sword with a curved blade, and without going into too much detail, they were typically issued to cavalries. I also believe it’s possibly the killer pumped her full of a drug I’ve never heard of before. I’m unsure of how that would’ve been done, but I think that’s what’s wrong with Miss Gibson’s liver. I think the killer gave her something, and the liver itself just… I don’t know. Forgot how to be a liver?” Bo questioned. “Either way, that’s not what killed her or anything like that, but it’s something I’m going to try and figure out.”
Jacob nodded. “Sounds good, Blondie.” He held out a folder. “Here.”
Bo took a step forward and grabbed the folder. He flipped it open, cocking his head to the side. “You got his death marked as a homicide?”
“Jake, you’re amazing.”
The lieutenant smiled. “Trying my best.” He cleared his throat, smoothing a hand over his tie. “Anyway, I’m only allowed to assign one detective to the case for now, so I’m assigning Jensen to it. He’s also on Miss Gibson’s case, since you and I both know there’s a connection in there somewhere.”
“Thank you, Jake.”
“Ah, you betcha.” Jacob leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest. “You know we’ve had that replacement from Florida as the sergeant since July.” It wasn’t a question, so Bo only nodded. “David asked who I thought would be the best fit for Sergeant. I said Jensen.” He held up a hand as soon as Bo opened his mouth to respond. “Not because he’s family. He’s intelligent, he follows orders when they’re given, he knows how to take control of a situation, he knows when to be strict or lenient, he’s damn good at what he does already, and I believe he would fair pretty well in the sergeant position. I wasn’t going to be the one to bring it up with him. I thought maybe you’d like to do that instead,” he explained.
Jacob pulled open a drawer and grabbed a thin booklet, tossing it onto his desk. “Study material for the test. Take it if you think as highly of him as I do. If not, I’ll talk to Ramirez or Floyd on Monday,” he said.
Bo stared at Jacob for several seconds before reaching out to grab the booklet. “Thank you,” he whispered.
One corner of Jacob’s mouth lifted as he nodded. “No problem, Blondie. You take it easy this weekend, okay?”
Bo nodded. “You, too, Jake.” The lieutenant tilted his head to the side, touching his first two fingers to the side of his head before saluting Bo. The blonde repeated the action, a smile on his face. He left Jacob’s office and held out a hand. Kayla practically jumped off the chair, grabbing his hand. They walked through the station and headed out into the parking lot. Bo unlocked the car and pulled open the back door, shutting it once Kayla had climbed into the seat.
Bo turned, pulling open the driver’s side door of Jensen’s car. “Three things.”
“One, you’re on Alonzo’s case with me. Jake got it switched to a homicide.”
“Nice,” Jensen said softly.
“Two, you’re on Miss Gibson’s case, too,” Bo said. Jensen nodded. “Three,” he emphasized, handing the booklet over to Jensen, “Jake thinks you’d make a damn good police sergeant.”
“That’s crazy,” Jensen whispered. He shook his head. “I’m a detective. I don’t need more than that.”
“You’d still be a detective, Jens. The title’s detective sergeant. It just means you’re in charge of a few more people than before,” Bo said. “I believe in you, but I support you either way.”
Jensen stared down at the booklet before his green eyes lifted back to Bo’s face. “When do I have to decide?”
“I don’t know. Jake told me to take the booklet if I thought highly of you, which I do. But if I didn’t take that, he was going to take to Anna or Skye on Monday,” Bo said. “I can talk to him tonight, see what he says?”
Jensen nodded. “Sure.”
Bo offered a smile. “Good. Just keep in mind that I’m on your side no matter what.” Again, the younger man nodded. “I’m going to go pick up Amber from Jake’s house. I’ll see you at home?”
Bo leaned down and kissed Jensen, threading his fingers through the younger man’s hair. “Drive safe, okay?”
“I will,” Jensen murmured. “You, too. I’ll see you at home.”
8:35 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BATHROOM
With the girls playing a zombie game in the family room and Cecilia with her band, Bo and Jensen stood in the bathroom, settling on running a bath rather than taking a shower. Jensen watched Bo shrug out of his shirt, his eyes locking on the bruise on Bo’s upper chest. “Does it hurt?” Jensen asked.
Bo shook his head. “No. It’d be worse if we had been going faster. It’s just a bruise.” Jensen’s expression morphed into something Bo had seen far too many times. “Don’t do that. It’s not your fault. Like I said, it’s just a bruise, Jens.”
“It’s my job to protect you with my life,” Jensen whispered. “I could’ve failed at that today,” he added.
Bo shook his head, crossing the room to wrap Jensen in a hug. “I’m capable of protecting myself, Jens. I’m fine. You are fine. That’s all that matters.”
Jensen nodded slightly, wrapping his arms tightly around the blonde. “Jamal’d kill me if I let anything happen to you. Hell… I’d kill me if I let something happen to you.”
“Luckily for all of us, I’m not going anywhere.” Bo leaned back ever so slightly, locking his hands at the back of Jensen’s neck as he leaned up to kiss him. “You have to relax, love,” he whispered. “You can breathe now.”
Jensen smiled, a soft laugh falling from his lips. “Thanks, Eli.”
“My pleasure, Jens.” Bo kissed Jensen’s shoulder before stepping away from him entirely. “Bath first, watch the girls annihilate some zombies second, worry about everything else third. All right?”
Jensen nodded. “Works for me, babe.”
9:21 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FAMILY ROOM
“Jake says you have a week to decide if you want to study for the test or not,” Bo said as he sat down between Jensen’s legs on the couch.
“A week,” Jensen repeated quietly. He hooked his arms around Bo’s chest as the blonde leaned back against him. He rested his chin on Bo’s shoulder, his gaze falling to where Kayla and Amber sat on the floor, gaming controllers clutched tightly in their hands. “I don’t even know what a sergeant does, Eli.”
“Well… you’d kind of be like Jake’s right-hand man. You’d help control the homicide department. Jake assigns detectives to cases, and you would help keep everyone focused and check on their progress in between actual conference meetings,” Bo asked.
“We don’t need whatever bogus raise would come with a higher position,” Jensen said. “They should give the job to someone who needs it.”
“You won’t even consider it because you don’t want a raise?”
“That’s a big part of it. We don’t need any help with money, Eli. Other people do,” Jensen said.
“You’re sweet,” Bo murmured, turning his head to the side to kiss Jensen’s arm. “You can deny the raise if you want.”
“I’ll make sure that you can.”
Jensen nodded slowly. “What would they do at the station when we’re in L.A.?”
“Bring in a temporary transfer, I imagine,” Bo said. He smiled as Acamas jumped onto the couch, standing on his stomach. He scratched the top of her head. “But they can figure it out if you decide to take the test.”
“You… you’d help me study, right?” Jensen asked.
“Of course, Jens.”
“Thank you,” the younger man murmured, pressing a kiss to Bo’s temple.
“My pleasure, love.” Acamas lay down on Bo’s stomach, curling up into a small ball. Bo laid a hand on her side, drawing his legs closer to himself. “Celia should be back in about half an hour or so.”
“Good,” Jensen said quietly. He kissed Bo’s shoulder, a smile tugging at one corner of his mouth. “Castor and Pollux.”
Bo chuckled. “We’ve talked about this.”
“They’re gonna be born in June, Eli. They are going to be twin Gemini boys. It’s adorable,” Jensen said.
“We’ve talked about this,” Bo repeated. “They’re going to have a hard enough time growing up if I’m their father.”
Before Jensen could respond, Kayla asked, “What’s wrong with having you as a dad?” Bo turned to face her, quickly noticing she had even paused the game to speak to him.
“Yeah, Daddy, what’s wrong with that?” Amber asked, curious green eyes lifting to Bo’s face.
“I…” Bo’s brow furrowed as he caught the familiar scar on the inside of his bottom lip between his teeth. “I’m different than most people.”
“So?” Kayla questioned.
“Uncle Jake wears glasses. He’s different,” Amber argued.
Kayla nodded. “Yuh-huh. And Elijah and Charlotte are darker than us. They’re different than us. We’re different than them. What’s that got to do with anything?”
“I–it’s really hard to explain it to kids your age,” Bo said.
Jensen could practically feel the blonde retreating back into himself, heart pounding in his chest, brain trying wildly to make a connection to answer the question he’d been asked. “Let’s just drop it,” Jensen said, his tone much stricter than he had meant it to be. “Please,” he added softly.
“Please, baby,” Jensen whispered, cutting Amber off. “Go back to your game. For me?” Amber looked back at Kayla before both girls nodded hesitantly. “I thought we were past this?” Jensen questioned in a whisper.
“We’re never going to be past this,” Bo denied. “I can pretend it doesn’t bother me, if you’d like, but that breaks your ‘no lying to you’ rule,” he said.
“If you were the same as everyone else in the world, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you. I wouldn’t have loved you or married you. You are everything to me because you’re you,” Jensen said, his voice low. “If you weren’t you, you’d still be living in, what, Virginia with the Smalls? You wouldn’t have met your parents, you wouldn’t have become a forensic analyst. No L.A., no Jamal, no Jake or Alice or any of their kids. No me, no Kayla, no Amber. No Cecilia, no unnamed twin boys. You wanna be normal, Eli? Because normal gets you some average fucking life on the other side of the country where you and I never cross paths,” he said.
“I’m sorry,” Bo whispered.
“No, baby, don’t apologize to me. I’m not the one that hates you,” Jensen said. He slid a hand up Bo’s chest, letting his palm rest over Bo’s heart. “I know you have… off days every now and then, bad days here and there, but you have to know that everyone else thinks that you’re perfect just the way you are. I know your brain thinks you’re… you’re a freak, like, fifty days out of the whole year, but we should work on bringing it down to zero.” He pressed a kiss to Bo’s neck. “Any kid in the world would be lucky to call you their father, Eli. Deep down, you know that.”
Bo closed his eyes before mumbling a quick, “Yeah.”
“I love you, Eli.”
“I love you, too.”
“You’re freakishly perfect,” Jensen whispered. “That’s the only freak you are. Freakishly perfect and freakishly amazing and kind and caring and sweet. Those aren’t bad things, baby.”
“Thank you,” Bo murmured. He tilted his head back, smiling softly as Jensen kissed him. “You’re perfect.”
Jensen offered a breathtaking smile. “Of course, babe. Someone as perfect as you wouldn’t settle for a man that wasn’t damn near perfect.”
“Mm.” Bo reached up, pushing a hand into Jensen’s hair. “I love you, Jensen.”
Jensen squeezed Bo tightly. “I love you more, Eli.”
Bo scoffed. “That’s what you think.” He laid a hand over Jensen’s, closing his eyes. “Castor and Pollux,” he said quietly. “I think that’d fair pretty damn well for our boys.”
Jensen grinned. “You think so?”
Bo let out a soft sigh, curling his fingers around Jensen’s hand. “I know so.” One corner of his mouth lifted. “Good luck figuring out what to give them as their middle names.”
“The girls can help give them middle names,” Jensen said. “Can’t you?” he asked.
“Yeah!” Amber exclaimed. She shoved Kayla’s shoulder with her own. “We get to help name ‘em, Kay!”
Kayla smiled, whispering, “Awesome.”
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