Sleeping with the lead detective on a case he had only been called in on a week previously was stupid, Strahm knew. But the way Detective Hoffman stood all five-foot-nine and just as goddamn wide with that dark glare in his eye that let Strahm hope his thick skull protected swirling thoughts of his own about the two of them… What man would be strong enough to resist?
Certainly not Strahm. It had been way too long since he’s felt any sort of intimacy, longer still since he’s craved it the way he does looking across the precinct at the long curve of Hoffman’s huge back as he clumsily refills his coffee cup.
Perez’s paranoid “hunch” about the man be damned, Strahm needed this.
It only took another three grisly bodies piled up in the corner of some dingy, stinking warehouse with absolutely no leads for Strahm to look across the crime scene once his initial analysis was done, meet Hoffman’s eyes, and ask, “Drinks?”
The man’s eyes creased minutely at the corners, and off they went.
The bar was fine. It was clean, at least, and the music was decent enough that Strahm didn’t feel like clawing his own ears off after five minutes. He says as much to Hoffman, ending with, “Now that would be a trap and a half, huh.”
Hoffman startles into laughter, his face genuinely curving in a smile Strahm thought looked quite incoherent with the rest of the man’s downsloped features, but he relished in the sound all the same.
“If it was, would you do it?” Hoffman asked. It took a second for Strahm’s fuzzy brain to catch up, but when he did, he snorted.
“Claw my own ears off to live? I don’t even know, Mark,” he chuckled. “I think there was a point for me where I wouldn’t have, but now… I think I know this case better than anyone, and even if me living through something like that only helps to solve it, and no other benefit, I probably would.”
“Is that all you value yourself for?” Hoffman asked, his expression hidden behind the dark glass bottle held up to his lips. Strahm shook his head.
“Nah. I mean, I don’t pretend I mean much, in the grand scheme of things. Nobody does. Not even Jigsaw, with all the people they’ve killed, or me, with everyone I’ve saved,” Strahm replied, “But we both think we’re helping the world, in our own ways, and that it’s good work.”
“You seem to empathize more now than you did when we first met,” Hoffman commented. There was a look in his eyes, something dark and curious, and Strahm couldn’t help but lean forward, get closer to those eyes and dangerous lips.
“With Jigsaw?” Strahm sighed and took a long sip of his beer. “I think I do, and I hate myself a little bit for it.”
“You ask a lot of questions,” Strahm replied and cocked his head to the side. Hoffman’s mouth quirked in a smile that didn’t even pretend to reach his eyes.
Strahm set his bottle down and loosened his tie, pulling open the top two buttons on his shirt. He didn’t miss how Hoffman’s eyes dropped, only briefly.
“In the beginning, John Kramer killed people he believed didn’t value their lives, right?”
“His mindset was… It wasn’t ever coherent, really. I’ve put it down to the brain tumor, but I also think he just had a blatantly psychopathic view of the world to begin with, and cancer and trauma didn’t help. He thought everyone who lived their lives differently to how he believed they should was squandering life. He killed- or ‘tested’- people with depression, people who hurt themselves. And since we’ve seen from Amanda Young, that was never going to do anything.
“He thought he was curing people, making them value their lives. Depression is a chemical imbalance, the cure is medicine. Yet, there he was, testing people taking antidepressants for the same shitty reasons. It was contradictory, and even when he explained it on his tapes, it made no sense to me. I guess from a psychological standpoint, I could understand the thought process, but Kramer was always too far gone to follow a coherent train of thought.”
Hoffman was silent, a bone-deep focus in his body Strahm had never seen before, even in the most important precinct briefings he sat in on.
“And what’s changed?” he asked.
“Whoever this is now- not Amanda, the other one- they’re killing people who don’t value human life beyond themselves. That also seems like a contradiction, sure, but… This new person kills rapists, abusers, killers. Seth Baxter, you know how awful he was. Not only was he a murderer, he was a fucking white supremacist. Remember that guy we found last week?”
“With the…” Hoffman added and gestured down at his crotch.
“Yeah. He was a convicted pedophile, we just got ID yesterday. And the kid who escaped, the one we have in custody? He was abusing his foster siblings and slipped through the cracks in the system. New Jigsaw is killing bad people, at least so far.”
Strahm sighed and slunk down in his chair, taking a long sip of beer.
“It’s easier to empathize with a vigilante when the people they want dead are the people whose victims I’ve failed,” he said after a moment. “It’s harder to make myself want him to stop.”
Hoffman was silent, and the bar noise began to sink back in around Strahm now that his mind-whirring confession is out in the thick air between himself and the detective.
“Do you want to get out of here?” Hoffman asked.
Strahm and Perez’s hotel was nearby the bar, but Hoffman made such a disgruntled face at the idea of Lindsay’s eventual return that Strahm sighed, called a taxi, and let the heat of Hoffman’s thigh against his own cull the nervous buzz in his chest.
Strahm wasn’t sure where he might’ve thought Hoffman would live, but it surely wasn’t this: a charming, brownstone-adjacent condo near downtown, right on the border of the area where young people go to dance, drink, hook up, and the industrial center of the city, all warehouses and train tracks.
He watched Hoffman’s hands smoothly handle a small golden key, one of five on his key ring, and Strahm only briefly had time to wonder what the other four went to before Hoffman had the door open, gesturing for Strahm to come inside.
“I don’t know why I thought you’d have the most man-cave studio apartment in the city, but this is a pleasant surprise,” Strahm teased. He moved to put his hands in his jacket pockets, but Hoffman’s own shot out and wrapped around Strahm’s wrist, pulling him closer.
Strahm couldn’t help but let his face split in a smile, looking down at Hoffman as the man pressed two hot fingers to Strahm’s pulse. He could hear it, the deep thudding in his own ears, and he let Hoffman feel the movement of the blood for a few moments before stepping into the man’s space, pressing him against the bare wall of his entryway.
“I like the way you look at me, Strahm,” Hoffman snarled and lunged forward, pressing their mouths together. It’s violent, almost immediately, with Hoffman’s teeth ripping into Strahm’s lips and Strahm not just taking it but fucking loving it, leaning in and digging his just-too-long nails into Hoffman’s sides, drawing low groans from the throat of the other man.
“Take me to your bed,” Strahm hissed as Hoffman trailed his teeth across his bottom lip to his jaw.
“Too good for the hallway?” Hoffman murmured against Strahm’s throat, finding another pulse point and sucking hard, enough that Strahm could feel spit trailing down his neck.
“Too old,” Strahm managed as he pulled away. “Go.”
Hoffman laughed in a way that felt maniacal, it ruffled Strahm’s feathers in a way he couldn’t get enough of. Hoffman threw his coat off onto a small, old leather couch, with rubbed worn spots that Strahm couldn’t quite tell but thought fleetingly might’ve been from a dog’s paws. The idea of Hoffman caring for anyone but himself, and his sister once upon a time, was warming.
Strahm’s coat followed, and his tie slid through his fingers to the floor by the time the two made it into Hoffman’s bedroom. It was distinctly unsexy, as far as bedrooms went. Dark furniture, an open closet revealing identical, steamed shirts hanging in a row. No curtains, but the light outside was dim enough now that it cast just enough of a glow into the room for Strahm to watch Hoffman undo the buttons on his dress shirt, pull it off, and toss it into the near-empty laundry hamper in the corner of the room.
His chest was just as wide as Strahm had dreamed, and before either of them undress further, Strahm moved closer with a long groan and leaned down, pressing the palms of both hands to the hot expanse of Hoffman.
Hoffman did as he was told, sitting back on the edge of his own bed, and Strahm wasted no time lowering onto his own knees and unbuttoning Hoffman’s slacks.
His dick was… admittedly quite average, but in that moment Strahm felt a wave of heat looking down at it, his hands resting on Hoffman’s wide thighs, feeling the warmth of his body even through his pants-
“Stop staring and get on it, Agent,” Hoffman sneered, and how could Strahm refuse?
The noises he pulled from the man above him were incredible, low and desperate, beautiful contrasts to the disgruntled cool of Hoffman’s day to day- Strahm groans and leans in, reaching his fingers around to grip Hoffman’s thighs and pull him closer.
Strahm hasn’t felt as desperate for a dick in his mouth since college, when his libido was tripled by drugs and booze in a way he knew wasn’t healthy, but the rush it gave him was thrilling. Hoffman- even when the two of them stood side by side in an alley covered in striped yellow tape, reminded him how much he could feel, how strong the itch to touch and take could get.
“Will you fuck me,” Hoffman hissed as Strahm touched his teeth to the other man’s dick, just enough that he’d feel it, and Strahm couldn’t help the predatory smile that split his mouth. He pulled back and surged up to kiss Hoffman, pressing him down into the bed, letting the man’s nails dig into his back even through his shirt.
“Don’t know why I thought you’d want to top,” Strahm gasped against Hoffman’s lips, spit trailing between their mouths- Hoffman grinds up and their hips press together, drawing another low noise from Strahm, and Hoffman laughed breathlessly.
“Don’t worry,” Hoffman said- almost sneered. He pushed Strahm away and quickly threw off the rest of his clothes, and Strahm did the same. “I’ll still be in control.”
Heat flares in Strahm’s gut and he pushes Hoffman down again, just managing to surprise the man.
Strahm opened the drawer in question and grabbed the lube, but he didn’t close it for a moment, biting his lip at the long, thick dildo sitting proudly in the drawer. He strokes his own cock, imagining Hoffman splayed out, desperate for something to fill him- and he closes the drawer.
“You’re a bit of a whore, aren’t you, Detective?” Strahm purred and spread the man’s legs, and all Hoffman did was grin and spread them wider.
“Hurry up,” was all he said back, and Strahm obliged.
“Perez thinks that you’re the copycat,” Strahm admitted, opening his eyes just enough to watch Hoffman’s face. Hoffman used his dirty fingers to push his hair away from his face, rolling onto his side to look at Strahm.
“And if I was?” he asked.
Strahm snorted and closed his eyes again. “Then I’d turn in my gun and badge, because I’m clearly no goddamn special agent.”
Hoffman hummed a near-silent reply.
It was quiet, save for their shared breathing. Almost intimate, if Hoffman’s body didn’t hold spring-tight energy tight inside, just ready to burst. Something wet dripped down Strahm’s neck and he couldn’t bring himself to care whether it’s spit, come, or blood from the still-pulsing bite Hoffman marked him with.
“He’s scared of you,” Hoffman said, and Strahm opened his eyes again.
“Jigsaw? What makes you say that?”
Hoffman met his eyes, all pupils with the thinnest ring of half-lidded blue.
“The last few traps have been messy, unprofessional. You’re close to him, I know you can feel it, Agent.”
“You’ve had my dick in your ass, at least call me by my first name,” Strahm muttered, and Hoffman chuckled.
“Peter, then. I think you’re getting to him, and he’ll slip soon,” Hoffman said.
Strahm looked at him. Hoffman’s eyes were almost glowing blue in the dim lighting, and with the fluids still glistening on his chest, he looked like a wet dream.
“Is it bad I almost hope he doesn’t?” Strahm said with a tired smile. “It sure makes my job easier if he keeps killing psychopaths.”
Hoffman reached out and touched Strahm’s neck, pulling a finger away glistening with just a drop of red blood.
“He’s saving people’s lives,” Hoffman said. “Like you said. It’s hard to want him to stop.”