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"You know that woman?" Declan glanced sideways at his partner as they walked back towards the car. He watched as Sean nodded.

"Knew her father mostly. Small time criminal."

"And she knows you?"

"Well enough."

"Well enough?"

"Drop it."

"Hell no. Not until I get an answer."

"An answer? Haven't heard the question yet." Sean stopped and stared hard at Declan. "Why don't you just spit it out?"

"She asked if you needed a room...for us."

Sean opened in arms in an expansive gesture. "So? She was looking for some business."

"She knows you. She knows you're a cop, and she didn't think twice about asking if you were looking for a room...for us."

Sean looked uncomfortable before his lips tightened to a thin line of barely suppressed anger. He turned away, heading for the car but Declan wanted the truth so he reached out and grabbed Sean's arm, watching discomfort turn to anger as the green eyes sparked. Sean shrugged off his hand with a little more force than was necessary.

"I said drop it."

Declan held his arms wide, non-threateningly. "Don't have a problem if you're gay...just need to know in case we ever get into a...situation."

Sean frowned. "A situation?" he asked with a sneer.

"No...I didn't mean it like that. Didn't mean you and me...you know..." Declan swore under his breath. "I'm not into men."

Sean rolled his eyes in mock disbelief. "Now, there's a surprise."

"Hell...this is all coming out wrong. All I'm trying to say is...I don't care if you swing that way. You're my partner, and I respect you... but we gotta work together, trust each other, and that means no real surprises."

"Like finding you in the bathtub with Linh when I was half-expecting to find you decapitated instead?"

"Okay, so that was a mistake but..." Declan shook his head and grinned lecherously in remembrance of having the exotic beauty, naked and wet in his arms. His face flushed with embarrassment as he wondered if Sean had ever looked at a woman the same way, and part of that must have registered on his face as Sean's expression closed even further. He watched as Sean got into the car but then Sean slumped back against the upholstery as if all the strength had left his body.

"No. You're right. If I can trust you to watch my back then I should trust you about this too." He sighed and took a deep breath. "I'm not gay...I'm Bi."

Declan climbed into his seat and sat back. "This why you split up with your wife?"

"Not exactly. She knew when she married me."

Declan made a noncommittal sound as he recalled a conversation with Sean a few weeks back, when they were dealing with the Maunakea copy-cat killing. Sean had mentioned going home late too many times, and missing too many of his son's birthdays.

"Being a cop plays havoc on a marriage," he stated.

"Hell, that's not why we split." Sean gave another deep sigh. "Never should have married her in the first place. Wasn't love." Sean turned in his seat to face Declan. "She got pregnant, and I did the honorable thing."

"Damn!" Declan looked at Sean askance. "So...why'd she kick you out?"

"She didn't. I got involved with someone, and made a choice," Sean shrugged.

"Is this someone..." He hesitated fractionally, "...male or female?" His first impulse was to ask if Sean's lover was a cop, having a strong feeling that this woman had confused him with another of Sean's partners.

Silence fell until Sean turned the ignition, revving the car into life. His lips were a thin, bloodless line so Declan decided to let it drop this time. Yet, as Sean checked over his shoulder before pulling away, he gave an answer. "Male...and yes, he's a cop."

****

Later that night, Sean sank back against the bed sheets, his heart still hammering in his chest as his sated body floated in the amazing afterglow of great sex. He grinned as his lover clambered back into bed, having discarded the condom, and brought a washcloth back from the bathroom. He moaned in gratitude as the warm cloth wiped away the evidence of his passion from his belly, groin, and thighs, taking a short inward gasp as his lover gently cleansed his now-flaccid cock.

Chris discarded the washcloth and Sean groaned in pleasure as his lover's firm, warm body nestled up against him. Lips brushed over his flesh, sending echoes of spent pleasure tingling through his heavy limbs. He flexed his ass muscles, feeling the pleasant burn of recent possession. Sean raised one hand, wanting to play with the short dark, silken strands of his lover's hair. He chuckled as the small mustache and goatee tickled at his overstimulated flesh, tugging on his lover's hair to pull his lover's face away from where a hot tongue lathed at a tightened, sensitive nipple.

Chris Gains laughed gently, allowing one thumb to continue teasing Sean but he stopped when Sean caught his hand. Sean pursed his lips as he debated what to say but Chris deserved to know where they both stood.

"John knows I'm bi...and he knows I have a male cop for a lover." Sean grimaced. "He's a good detective. Probably won't take him that long to figure out who that is."

Chris pulled away and flopped down beside Sean; Sean could feel his warm skin against the length of his body. He murmured softly, "it's not against department policy, as long as we use discretion."

"I know...just wanted to give you the chance to back out now, before the whole department finds out about us."

Chris rose up on one elbow. "You want me to back out?"

"No!" Sean reached out and caressed his lover's face. "No," he restated firmly. "Just want to make sure you know what you're letting yourself in for."

"Worked that out months ago. Didn't care who knew then, and I don't care now. Though Danny's going to be in for a shock. He's still trying to fix me up with a girlfriend." Chris rolled over on top of Sean. "So...if you've finished worrying about the future, can we get back to the present?"

Sean murmured his approval as warm lips latched onto his. He knew the road ahead would not be easy for either of them, but they had good friends and partners, people they could trust--if they let them in on their secret.

Several long kisses later, Chris pulled back, holding Sean's eyes while his own displayed regret.

"Better get going," he sighed and Sean knew Chris hated this moment more than anything but, the longer he stayed, the greater the risk of them being caught together.

Yet, earlier in their relationship, they had talked about the cases that had gone wrong. Death had come too close to either one of them, and on more than one occasion. However, they knew the score. They both knew the dangers of being a cop, and how each day could easily be their last. Every wasted minute was precious time that either of them could live to regret losing but they had made a promise to Harada--to be discreet--but there were several sets of involved officers working within the HPD. These officers worked side-by-side. Everyone knew they were in a relationship, some of them openly, others more discreet, but none treated their relationship as if it was some sordid secret, a thing of shame.

With his decision made, Sean caught Chris's arm as he moved to leave the bed.

"Why don't you stay? Think the time for a little less discretion has finally come."

The broad grin that crossed the handsome face told Sean he had made the right choice, finally agreeing to take this next important step in their relationship. As they settled down into the comforting reassurance of each other's embrace, Sean smiled too, recalling Chris's words. He knew they had no power over the future, and they would just have to meet each challenge as it came to them, but they could affect the present without too much indiscretion.

THE END