Sunday: December 1, 2024
10:03 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FOYER
Bo pulled open the front door, surprise masking his expression as his gaze landed on Jensen. He glanced over at Jamal, who stood tall behind the much younger man. They weren’t supposed to be in Clinstone for another four hours. Jamal offered a helpless shrug, mouthing the word, “Sorry.”
“Hey,” Jensen greeted, bouncing Amber up on his hip.
“Hi,” Bo said, forcing a smile onto his face. Kayla walked into the house, throwing her arms around Bo. “Hi, sweetheart,” he greeted, wrapping his arms around her shoulders. Jensen stepped into the house, quickly followed by Jamal and Frank.
“I missed you,” Kayla said.
“I missed you, too,” Bo whispered. “The Mason kids are in the family room if you’re interested.”
“Okay.” Kayla squeezed Bo tightly before pulling away and walking out of the foyer. Jensen set Amber down on the floor. She hugged Bo quickly, excitedly proclaiming how much she had missed him before dashing out of the room to see Jacob’s children.
Jensen pulled Bo into a tight hug. “You’ve lost weight,” he said quietly, his brow furrowed.
“I’ve been doing a lot of cardio in the morning,” Bo lied, wrapping his arms around his boyfriend. It was no surprise that he’d lost enough weight for Jensen to notice. He hadn’t been eating much—only once a day if he really felt like forcing himself to eat.
“Mm.” Jensen took a small step back, moving his hands up to either side of Bo’s face. He tilted Bo’s head back slightly, leaning down to kiss him. Bo closed his eyes, his brow furrowed. A few weeks ago, something as simple as his closeness to Jensen would cause the stress and tension to leave his body in a split second.
But not today.
Jensen broke the kiss, brushing a thumb over Bo’s cheek. “Coffee?”
“You’ll need to make a fresh pot,” Bo said quietly.
Jensen smiled faintly. “Okay.” He squeezed Bo’s hand. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Bo’s gaze shifted to the ceiling as Jensen walked away. The blonde sniffled, raking a hand through his hair.
“All right, kid. Get your ass over here,” Jamal said. Bo closed the distance between them, practically collapsing against Jamal’s chest. The older man wrapped his arms around Bo, one hand resting on the back of Bo’s head. “You’re killing yourself, Bo.”
“I know,” the blonde whispered. He threw his arms around Jamal, wrapping his fists around back of Jamal’s suit jacket.
“Okay, okay,” Jamal whispered as Bo’s shoulders shook with a silent sob. He turned slightly, looking back at Frank. “Make sure Jensen stays away from the foyer. Body check him if you have to.”
“Of course, sir,” Frank said softly, nodding as he walked out of the room, hands tucked behind his back.
“I can’t keep doing this, Jamal,” Bo whispered.
“I know, kiddo. I know.” Jamal grunted as Bo nearly went limp in his arms. He adjusted his stance slightly, keeping Bo standing. “I won’t ever let you fall. You have to know that.” Bo nodded against his chest. “I love you. It’s my job to make sure you’re always standing, no matter how hard it feels to do so. I’ve got you,” he said softly, combing his fingers through the blonde’s hair. “I’ve always got you.”
11:32 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Jensen leaned forward on the bed until his forehead touched Bo’s. “I love you,” he whispered, wrapping his fingers around the bottom hem of the blonde’s shirt.
“I love you, too,” Bo whispered back.
“Mm.” Jensen smiled softly, pressing a kiss to Bo’s lips. He pulled his shirt over his head, tossing it to the floor. For the first time since they had started dating, Bo didn’t complain that it hadn’t ended up in the laundry hamper. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“I’m fine,” Bo said. His brow furrowed. “Why?”
Jensen shook his head, “No reason.” Maybe he was simply imagining things. He kissed Bo’s neck, trailing a slow trail of kisses down the blonde’s chest. When his lips touched Bo’s throat, Bo tilted his head back, burying his fingers in Jensen’s hair. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying his damnedest to forget everything life and the Copycat Killer had thrown at him lately.
Jensen pushed Bo to his back and slung a leg over the blonde’s hips, kissing him softly before his hands fell to the button of Bo’s jeans. His hands stilled. “You’re crying.”
“No, I’m not,” Bo said, his eyes shooting open. “I’m not. I’m fine.” Silently, Jensen reached out, brushing a thumb under Bo’s eyes to wipe away wet tears. “I’m fine.”
“I’m fine,” Bo whispered. “Please. Just…”
“Just what?” Jensen questioned.
“I don’t know,” Bo breathed. He lifted his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he repeated.
Jensen laid a hand on his cheek, kissing him softly. “Talk to me. I’m here to listen. Talk.”
“About what?” Bo asked. He sniffled, closing his eyes as Jensen’s thumb caressed the curve of his cheek. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
“What case have you been working while you’ve been here?” Jensen asked.
“Nothing important. Just a case,” the blonde said.
“Good. Then you wouldn’t mind telling me about the killer.”
Bo swallowed roughly, forcing his eyes open. “It’s just… it’s just a killer. It, uh, it’s a copycat case.”
“Who’re they copying?” Jensen asked.
“A–and CGK… Ammut. And Thanatos. T–there’ve been a couple homages to The Surgeon. H–he’s going to make me relive it all,” Bo whispered.
Jensen’s brow furrowed, letting his thumb move over Bo’s cheek again. “Why?”
“Why would you suffer through this alone?”
“You were working a case.”
“I don’t give a shit. Eli, I love you. I don’t care if the fucking president hires me to be his personal bodyguard. You call me, say you need me, and I’ll leave the goddamn White House for you. I don’t care. You are everything to me, and I refuse to let you think that ‘I love you’ means ‘I’m busy, don’t call me’. I won’t stand by and let you suffer like this. You’re in your own little hell, and I won’t sit here and not pull you out of it.”
“I’m sorry,” Bo whispered. Jensen shook his head. Holding Bo’s face between his hands, he leaned down and kissed him. Bo made a soft sound of appreciation, closing his eyes as he wrapped his arms around Jensen’s neck.
Jensen pulled back. “Don’t you ever apologize for something like this. Ever. Okay?” Bo nodded. “But you should’ve told me. All those times we talked on the phone…” He trailed off, sitting up on his knees. “I should’ve known something was wrong. I should’ve come back sooner.”
“I did everything I could to make sure you didn’t know. You know I’m a good liar,” Bo said. “I just can’t lie to your face the same way I can to a phone.”
“Yeah,” Jensen said quietly. He pressed his hands to Bo’s chest, letting out a quiet sigh. “Remember when you promised not to lie to me about the important stuff? This counts as the important stuff.”
“So you can’t lie to me about shit like this any more. It’s not okay.”
“I know,” Bo repeated. Jensen held Bo’s left hand in his own, carefully bringing it to his lips. He ran a thumb over the scars on his wrist before pressing a soft kiss to them, his eyes on Bo’s. It was a reminder that he loved every part of the blonde, even the part that lied to him. He released his hold on Bo’s hand and dropped to his side beside the shorter man.
Silently, Bo moved closer to Jensen. Jensen wrapped an arm around Bo, closing his eyes. “I love you, Jens,” Bo whispered.
Jensen remained silent for a moment before a smile crossed his face. “I love you, too, Eli.”
“Even though I’m a liar?”
“And an asshole?”
“Yeah, babe, even though,” Jensen said softly. He pushed his fingers through Bo’s blonde hair, clearing his throat. “I love you because of your flaws, not despite them.” Bo sniffled, nodding against the younger man’s chest. “I can’t believe you wanted to suffer through this shit alone.”
“He threatened to hurt you and the girls if you came home before today,” Bo said. “I didn’t want to lose you guys. I wouldn’t… I couldn’t come from that.”
“I know, Eli,” Jensen murmured. “But I’m here now. You ever seen the shit Jamal makes a person do in training? The training they are required to have before he lets them near you?” he asked. Bo shook his head. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
“Harder than academy?”
“Much. There were days I thought I was gonna die. Have you ever been shot at by Jamal? He’s a really good fucking aim, first of all,” Jensen said. Bo laughed quietly. Jensen smiled faintly. “There’s a day when Jamal himself stalks you everywhere. Jamal is literally the most silent grown ass man I’ve ever met in my life. Your job is to find him and get the drop on him before he gets close enough to kill you. He… Bo, it took me twenty-two tries the first day that we did that. Now? It takes me one. Nothing’s happening to me or the girls or you.”
Bo sniffled, clearing his throat. “You promise?”
“One hundred percent. Do you trust me the way you trust Pitman?”
Jensen rolled his eyes, chuckling softly. “Okay, do you trust me half as much as you trust Pitman?”
“Eighty-nine percent, I think. Give or take a few,” Bo said.
“Well then, between Jamal and me, you’ve got yourself a hundred and eighty-nine percent protection,” Jensen said. He lifted his hand, brushing Bo’s hair away from his temple. “How do you like those odds? Are they good?”
“Ten-four,” Bo murmured.
“Good,” Jensen whispered. He pulled away from Bo just enough to kiss the top of the blonde’s head. “You need to sleep.”
“Go to sleep, Eli. I’m here this time,” Jensen said.
“Okay,” Bo whispered. “I love you, Jensen. You… you know that, don’t you? Even when I’m nothing but a damn liar?”
“I know, babe. I love you, too.” Jensen pressed a kiss to Bo’s shoulder. “Sleep. In the morning, we’ll look over this bullshit copycat dickhead together… okay?” Bo nodded. “Good.” He cleared his throat. “Goodnight, Eli.”
“Night, Jens,” Bo murmured, snuggling up just a little closer to Jensen.
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