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Every bruise that blossomed on Jeremy's skin was oddly satisfying in its own way. Sometimes it was the success of blocking a nasty kick to the jaw with his arm. Sometimes it was a solid elbow to his gut. Other times still it was the payoff of a stupid, risky move- a move like taking a bullet for his partner.

It was wholly unnecessary to protect Ryan in this way, of course; both of them had top of the line bulletproof vests, not only Jeremy. Despite this, Jeremy felt compelled to block Ryan from any injury with his own body, much to Ryan's chagrin. However, with shrapnel flying and alarms blaring during extraction, there wasn't much time for Ryan to chastise Jeremy for reckless decisions.

It was with gritted teeth and bunched muscles springing into action that Jeremy threw his body in front of Ryan's, feeling a jab of pain in the center of his chest. The bullet tore through the black jacket Jeremy was wearing, knocking the wind out of him and impacting the vest hard. He stumbled backwards into Ryan with a groan, vaguely registering the angry whip of Ryan's gun towards his attacker and a few loud shots.

"God damn it, Jeremy," Ryan cried, helping the other to his feet. "Why the hell did you do that? I know Gavin was fuckin'... creaming his pants over how good these vests are, but still! You're not invincible!"

A mixture of a wheeze and a laugh escaped Jeremy as he steadied himself. He placed a hand over his chest, trying to catch his breath. "Ryan, please. If I wasn't hit, you would've been. I heal faster from this shit than you anyway. You're like, old."

"Okay. Never mind. Forget I was worried," Ryan deadpanned, though a chuckle found itself slipping into his words. Jeremy's earpiece crackled, and he winced from the harsh noise.

"Whoops, sorry guys," came the tinny voice of Jack, the sound of helicopter blades whirring in the background. "I'll be at the extraction point in less than five minutes; we're headed back to the agency. Lindsay said to tell you guys good work, but also that that wasn't stealthy at all."

"Yeah, yeah," Jeremy said, waving his hand by habit despite the fact that Jack had no way of seeing him.

"It was successful though, wasn't it?" Ryan added, breaking into a light jog to the helipad already in view.

"Sure," Jack said, and the line cut. Jeremy frowned.

"That was kind of patronizing, wasn't it?" he asked, catching up to Ryan. The wail of the alarms wasn't as ear-destroyingly loud on the roof, and Jeremy took the time to catch a breath and lean against the wall next to Ryan. He picked sadly at his destroyed jacket, flicking off a shred of blood-stained fabric. The last bullet hole was really the final straw, damaging the only part of the jacket that wasn't already abused. "I'm getting rid of this as soon as we're back to base."

Ryan rolled his eyes, stepping off the wall to size Jeremy up. "Maybe it would've been okay if you weren't eating bullets like a maniac. Though... As a very understanding and responsible partner, I find it necessary to make sure you didn't break a rib from that impact."

"Ryan," Jeremy complained, halfheartedly pushing the other's hands away from his chest. "You can do that later. There might still be people here or something."

"Nope," Ryan said matter-of-factly, helping Jeremy out of his jacket and beginning to fiddle with the straps and buckles on his vest. "They're all dead."

"You sound awfully sure about that," Jeremy muttered, shrugging the vest off and over his head with a grimace. "Anyway, even if something is broken it's not the worst-"

"Jeremy," Ryan interrupted. Jeremy looked up at him in surprise, scanning his environment by habit to see if something was wrong.

"What? I have something on my face?" Jeremy asked.

"Uh, not really. Um. Is that my shirt?" Ryan said haltingly, and Jeremy froze and slowly looked down at himself. Sure enough, the forest green of the fabric clung to his shoulders and chest but hung low, past Jeremy's torso and over his thighs. It clearly belonged to someone taller.

"" Jeremy said, his cheeks warming in the cool air. He'd completely forgotten about the little item he'd borrowed from Ryan. It wasn't like it was a big deal; all of Jeremy's good shirts were fucked up or in the wash, so he decided to slip into his partner's wardrobe. It was just a bonus that the shirt was soft and smelled like Ryan's detergent and made him feel like he was wrapped up in his boyfriend's arms. Just a bonus.

"Fuck, sorry I got it all disgusting and sweaty. At least it's not ripped or anything; I can toss it in the wash and-"

"Jeremy." Ryan stopped Jeremy with a hand on the shoulder, fixing him with a blue gaze. "Shut up. That's so unbelievably, ridiculously adorable."

Before Jeremy had time to react, warm lips were pressed against his, coupled with the roughness of facial hair making contact with his own. Taking only a second to adjust, Jeremy stood on his toes and his hands found their way to Ryan's face, cupping his cheeks and angling his head to pull him closer. For a moment, the aches all over his body seemed to disappear, the only feeling remaining being the soaring in his chest and the comfort of being with his Battle Buddy.

The two only broke apart when they felt wind buffeting their skin and clothes.

"Get in, lovebirds! We're going home!" Jack shouted over the din, landing the helicopter right on target. Regretfully, Jeremy pulled away from Ryan and nodded over at the helicopter, a sunny grin stuck on his face.

"Come on, Ryan," Jeremy said, tugging at his partner's hand. "Let's go. Also, uh- I think I might have a broken rib after all."