Chapter 1: Drama King
It seems only right that the moment Cole left that everything would go wrong.
First, and this was no less than twenty minutes after Cole drove away, Stefan ended up burning a hole through one of Roy’s shirts with the iron. Then, once Roy had finished mourning his loss, he’d accidentally overflowed the dishwasher. As if that wasn’t enough, the cat ran out the door when they were leaving for work. Twenty minutes and a few scratches later, Jackie (no relation to Kelso) was safe and sound in the apartment once more. All was well...
...until Roy tripped over her.
That brings them to where they are now, Roy propped up in bed pouting over a simple sprain and Stefan at his wit’s end. He always knew Roy was a complainer, but apparently, it’s possible for him to be even worse than normal. There was that, and the fact Roy wouldn’t let him leave for work. Stefan’s not sure how long they’ve been talking it over, but long enough that—
“I’m almost thirty minutes late, Roy,” Stefan says, and he adjusts the cuffs of his shirt, “I have to go.”
“First of all, I don’t care. Second of all, no you don’t.” Roy huffs, doing his best to keep Stefan seated on the bed. “You’re just gonna leave poor defenseless me in bed?”
Stefan can’t help but chuckle. Okay, despite his frustration at the situation, Roy’s almost adorable. Keyword being almost. “That’s the plan,” he says, “You’ll be fine without me for a few hours. It’s just a sprain.”
“How do you know I will? I could die in the next hour and no one would ever know.” Roy pulls him back into bed, nearly latching himself onto the man. “Besides, it’s the least you could do. I had to say goodbye to one of my shirts because of you.”
Rolling his eyes, Stefan runs his fingers through Roy’s hair. “I think you’re being a little dramatic,” he says, “Just a little.” A pause. “And I told you that was an accident. It’s not like you don’t have other shirts. In fact, your wardrobe takes up most of the closet.”
“I’m really not,” Roy insists, and by the look of things, it seems he enjoys having Stefan’s hand in his hair. “Saying it was an accident doesn’t really fix it, you know? You have to stay.”
Stefan breathes out a sigh. “We’ve hit the thirty minute mark,” he says, almost absentmindedly, “Are you going to keep arguing until I give in?”
“You know I am. So better give in now because I’m not stopping at all,” Roy tells him matter-of-factly. With that, he makes himself comfortable with his head on the other man’s lap, immediately reaching for Stefan’s free hand. “Stay.”
“Alright, you win,” Stefan says, and Roy doesn’t need to know he’s completely melted, “I’ll stay.” He moves to keep running his fingers through the other man’s hair. “I hope you know how lucky you are that I love you so much.”
“Mm, I think I do know.” Roy nods, gently pressing his lips to Stefan’s knuckles. “And you’ll be glad to know that I, too, love you so much.”
Chapter 2: Summer
In the middle of summer, the power goes out.
hey we're back! just decided to post a really old and short thing aj and i wrote set in this little universe thing
also when i say old, it's like. old. months old. i-had-my-birthday-in-this-time-frame old.
-riley (who used to be oniyen)
Two hours into the work day, all of the fans shut off at once.
Now, this wouldn't be a problem in any other season; Hell, it'd be welcome in winter. But to everyone's dismay, it's the middle of summer in Los Angeles. Jackets have come off, ties have been loosened, hats have been hung on the racks, and sleeves have been rolled up in a desperate attempt to push away the heat. Unsurprisingly, none of that has done anything.
Cole exhales sharply, rather aggressively fanning himself with a thin folder. He's missing his hat, jacket, vest, and tie— surprisingly, his sleeves are rolled up to his elbows as well. “God, I'm melting,” he groans, fanning himself a little faster.
“Settle down, Wicked Witch of the West,” Roy says, dryly. He’s currently perched on the edge of the desk, fanning himself with his own folder. “Dorothy’s back in Kansas.”
Cole just scoffs, rolling his eyes so hard they nearly fall out of his skull. “You're such a comedian, Roy,” he deadpans. “No, really, I can't breathe over here. Help.”
Roy shoots him a less-than-amused look. “Can think of other ways to knock the air out of your lungs,” he says.
“No,” Cole says flatly, switching hands on the fanning once his arm grows tired. “That wouldn't help. At all. You're almost as warm as Stefan.”
“Not what I meant,” Roy says, and he gently hits Cole on top of the head with his folder, “But good to know you’d consider it.”
Cole exhales deeply through his nose, resisting the urge to roll his eyes again. “With how much constant flirting you're leveling at me on a daily basis, I always have to be on guard.”
Roy leans in with a smirk. “Come on, you love it,” he says, and he pulls back to laugh, “You certainly didn’t complain about it the other night.”
“Are you two really doing this out in the open?” comes Stefan’s voice from behind them. Stefan’s taken his attire one step further than everybody else— shirt unbuttoned enough that his undershirt is visible. It’s a good look— good enough to catch both of his partners completely off-guard.
Cole purses his lips, shifting a little closer to Roy without realizing. “Careful,” he says, and— Jesus Christ, he’s serious. “If you so much as come within a foot of me, Stefan, I will—”
Roy gives Stefan a shiteating grin when Cole moves closer. In response, Stefan just gives him a half-hearted glare. “You’ll what?” he asks, crossing his arms. All that did was bring attention to them.
“I’ll—” Cole falters, moving to take Roy’s folder and fan himself with both. He ignores Roy’s glare at the back of his head. “I can’t do this right now. God.”
Stefan rolls his eyes and despite Cole’s warning, takes a step forward anyway. He reaches around him to grab a third folder— one that actually has evidence in it. Absentmindedly, he thumbs through it. “I’m surprised you haven’t keeled over,” he remarks, and he glances down at Cole with half-lidded eyes. “We have work to do. Hate to tell you that.”
“Stefan, I am dying,” Cole wheezes out dramatically, fanning himself to a ridiculous degree now. Roy takes back his folder, and Cole gives him a betrayed look before dropping his head into his hands. “I don’t think I can survive another hour of this.” He peeks through his fingers. “When is the repair guy coming?”
Roy shrugs slightly and he’s back to fanning himself again, although not to the point Cole is. “Not until noon,” he says, “Rolling blackouts all over the city. You can at least take comfort in the fact you’re probably not the only one suffering.”
Cole inhales and exhales a deep breath, and it honestly looks like he’s going to get on his knees and start a goddamn prayer. But no, he continues to fan himself and stare at nothing with furrowed brows. “Ah, one good thing— I haven’t sweat once.”
“Okay,” Stefan says, “That’s bullshit. There’s no way you aren’t sweating.” Cole just holds out his arm for Stefan to feel, and sure enough, he’s completely dry. “You absolute freak of nature.”
“I know, right?” Roy chimes in, “It’s insane. He’s like a—” A pause, as he gestures vaguely. He almost accidentally slaps Cole in the face with the folder. “I don’t know. A reptile?”
Cole exhales amusedly through his nose, shaking his head. “It’s not that strange,” he says, and he moves to actually slap Roy in the face with his own folder. Gently and lovingly. “There’s my riposte,” he says, tone dry.
Roy is practically pouting. “Jeez,” he says, “I love you too.”
“You should have thought about that before you almost whacked me in the face,” Cole says flatly, giving Roy a mock-offended glare.
“It wasn't on purpose,” Roy says, and he leans in towards Cole with his eyebrows raised. “Kiss it better?”
Cole inhales sharply— exhales. “I would say yes, but—” He gestures to the other detectives in the room, all doing their own thing and trying very hard not to die via heat.
“I can’t believe the two of you,” Stefan says, and he moves to lean against the desk on the other side of Cole. He pushes his hair out of his face with one hand. Then, slyly, he says, “I’m feeling a little dejected over here.”
Cole’s gaze snaps up to Stefan at that; it’s as if he’s the most important thing in the world. He gives a small smile, reaching up and brushing a few strands of hair out of Stefan’s face. There’s a beat of silence. “God’s sake, you’re on fire.”
“I can’t tell,” Stefan says, in all seriousness. “I always feel warm. Can barely tell the difference.”
Cole opens his mouth to say something, but his voice dies in his throat. “Something feels wrong,” he says, running his hand down his arm and— he stops. “Oh my God.”
Roy raises his eyebrows. “Jesus, Cole, what is it?”
“I’m sweating.” Cole’s staring down at his arms, eyebrows furrowed.
“Oh dear Lord, the world’s gonna end,” Roy snarks. A pause, as he drops his sarcastic expression. “But maybe it is. If you’re sweating, what’s going to happen to the rest of us?”
Stefan hums and absentmindedly, he’s undoing the rest of the buttons of his shirt. “I can only imagine we’re all going to die slow, painful deaths,” he says, and he reaches over Cole to steal Roy’s folder before fanning himself with it. “It’s a waiting game of who drops first.”
With a scoff, Roy yanks the folder out of Stefan’s hand. “Will you both stop? Mine. This is mine.”
Cole just grabs it right back, handing it off to Stefan. “Oh no, my hand slipped,” he says, voice monotone.
That gets a laugh out of Stefan. He tilts his head back to stare up at the ceiling, using the folder as a fan once more. There’s a long moment— then, he’s moving to shrug his shirt off all the way and setting it aside. “Okay,” he says, “I’m starting to feel it.”
Roy leans forward slightly to give him a once-over. “Yeah, take it off,” he says, and it’s not entirely clear if he’s being sarcastic or not.
Cole has to tear his eyes away from Stefan, tilting his head away and looking at nothing. “You know,” he starts, “that does nothing to keep me from sweating.”
With a joking grin, Stefan moves to flex an arm. “Like what you see?”
Roy lets out a snort. “Oh, it’s obvious he does.”
Cole’s mouth is suddenly dry. “You can shut—”
“Jeez, Cole,” Stefan cuts in, “I knew you were easy, but I didn’t know you were that easy. All I did was take my shirt off.”
Cole’s face is genuinely, actually turning red. “You see, I—” He stops, struggling with his words. Then, he swallows hard and slides off of the desk. “Closet in the very back. Both of you.” He’s walking off without another word.
Roy and Stefan exchange a glance. “Wow,” Roy says, “He is easy.”
All that gets him is a smack on the head with the folder.
Chapter 3: Ill
Courtney takes care of Jack while he's sick.
“Jack, you’re burning up. I can’t let you go into work like this.”
Courtney’s frown only deepens when Jack tilts his head away, breaking the contact between his hand and the other man’s forehead. “And I’m telling you that I can’t miss work,” Jack says, coughing into his elbow. “I have to go in.”
Shaking his head, Courtney places his hand on Jack’s chest, gently pushing him back down into bed. “No, you don’t,” he says matter-of-factly, not bothering to move his hand. “And I know you have a new boss, but— that’s much less important than your health.” He nearly pouts, eyebrows knitting together in worry. “This could be serious.”
Jack frowns just as deeply. “It’s just a cold,” he says, “I’ve gone into work with a stuffy nose before.” He emphasizes his words by sniffling slightly. “S’not like I’m dying, Courtney.”
Courtney scoffs, crossing his arms and raising his eyebrows. “Do you know what a common cold could evolve into?”
Groaning, Jack squeezes his eyes shut. “Not this again.”
Despite Jack’s protest, Courtney continues on, counting every illness on his fingers. “Sinus infection, bronchitis, pneumonia—”
Jack reaches out to grab Courtney’s hand. “I’m not that sick,” he says, “I’ll be better by tomorrow. Swear it.”
Courtney inhales and exhales with a deep breath, giving Jack’s hand a gentle squeeze and looking him in the eyes. He just purses his lips and reaches out to feel Jack’s blazing hot forehead again. There’s a beat of thoughtful silence before he speaks, his eyebrows furrowed. “…You better start swearin’,” he mumbles.
Jack inhales deeply and exhales with a coughing fit. “I’m telling you I’m fine,” he says, “I’ve been worse sick before. Please let me get ready for work.”
With a small sigh, Courtney closes his eyes and shakes his head, removing his hand from Jack’s forehead. “I can’t let you do that,” he says, cracking one eye open to leer down at Jack. “And I’ll physically hold you down if I have to.” He’s deathly serious.
“There’s no arguing with you, huh?” Jack mumbles, squeezing his eyes shut again. He throws an arm over his face and breathes out a sigh. “Alright. Fine. You win.”
Courtney drops his grave look for a sunny, if a bit smug, grin. He moves Jack’s arm out of the way to softly pat his cheek. “There we go,” he says, hand lingering. His grin turns adoring when he brushes a few strands of dark hair out of the other man’s face. “I can go make you some soup, if you want.”
“Please,” Jack manages to get out in between more coughs, “You— you still have my mother’s recipe, right?”
“‘Course I do,” Courtney says. He moves to stand, but— he hesitates. It’s then that he leans down to press a feather-light kiss to Jack’s forehead, hand still resting on his cheek. “Y’know,” he starts, that same loving smile on his face, “I wish I could give you more than just a kiss.”
That gets another groan out of Jack. “Great,” he says, “Motivation to get better faster, I guess.”
Courtney laughs at that, light and affectionate. He gives Jack’s cheek another pat before finally moving to stand. “Resting helps, trust me,” he says, heading for the door and stopping before he can leave. He turns back to glance over his shoulder, smiling tenderly. “I love you, Jack.”
Jack manages a smile. “I love you, too, Courtney.”
With a bright grin in return, Courtney leaves for the kitchen.