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“What do you mean I’m coming home with you?” Lanie asked, astounded. “Haas has left, therer’s no reason to keep up the act.”

Unless it was going to stop being an act, an unbidden thought strayed through her brain. 

“One,” Magnus said, very business like, “I wouldn’t put it passed that snake to follow us just in case you changed your mind and he could corner you at home alone. And two, you are under police protection as a witness in a homicide investigation. I am not to let you out of my sight until we catch the killer.”

”What?” She asked, astounded. “I thought we were just supposed to be acting like an item to give you access to Haas.”

”Lanie, your life could be in very real danger. You were the only other person in that building on the night of the murder. You might have seen something or heard something that could be used against whoever did this. Not mention you have access to confidential files and our number one suspect is borderline obsessed with you. Even if the fake relationship doesn’t work, you are still going to get protection twenty four seven. Now, there’s already a police presence at your office, but when you are off the clock then you are my responsibility. And I do not intend to let anything happen to you.”

”But,” she swallowed, thinking of the forced intimacy that the situation was going to require, “this must be such an imposition on you.”

”That’s the job,” he said with a shrug. “I didn’t ask for it, but I got it, and I am good at my job.”

He unlocked the passenger door of an old, slightly beat up looking car and gestured for her to get in. Fastening her seat belt, Lanie thought through the situation. It was bad enough for Magnus that he had to fake an interest in her when in public, but now she would be invading his private space. He could not be happy about this.

”You’re not allergic to cats, are you?” He asked suddenly as he pulled out and headed down the road. 

Lanie thought about saying yes. She loved cats, but if it got ger out of this, she could pretend...

”Don’t think lying to me is going to rescue you,” he said with a grim smile, reading her mind. “If you say yes that just means we stop at an all night drug store for an antihistamine. I’m sorry, but one way or another you are coming home with me. Might as well make the best of it.”

Lanie looked over at him. His jaw was clenched and his hands clutched the steering wheel. All of the playful closeness of the past few hours was abandoned now that there was no one they needed to fool. What else had she expected? She knew this was all a job for him, and one he was none too keen on. Still, she felt a bit of whiplash at how quickly his mood had changed.

They pulled into the lot of an apartment complex and Magnus got out and opened her door for her. Always the gentleman, she thought. Or was he just putting his body between her and any potential danger? The thought left her cold. She had been kept so busy since last night that she had not really had time to think about the danger she might be in. 

Lanie had been on the phone with a potential caterer for next week’s event when she had heard a crash from down the hall. She had thought everyone else had left for the day - she often stayed passed closing hours when she had work that she needed to concentrate on and came in late the next day. Haas kept such strange hours himself that he didn’t seem to notice. 

She had walked down the hall, calling out to whoever was there. It had sounded like the noise had come from the server room, and she thought she might need to reboot something. The most frightening thing she had expected to find was evidence of a rodent or two. Instead her coworker had been lying on the ground, throat slit, blood pooling everywhere. 

Lanie had spent all night in the police station. First she had to tell her story to Anne, then to the other woman, Anne’s boss who’s name she couldn’t remember. She had caught a few hours of sleep in Anne’s office between sessions, but nothing more than that. At ten in the morning she had left, unrested and still in shock. There were things that needed to be done for the party, and she had been desperate to get out of her blood stained clothes. 

Fortunately Lanie hadn’t had to go into the office - she didn’t think she could take being there yet. A uniform officer had escorted her home where she had changed, and then taken her about her work errands for the day. When Anne had called her with the plan, requesting she meet Magnus at the bar, and bring a witness, she had numbly called Holly and followed instructions. Well, mostly. 

She still hadn’t processed what had happened. She wondered if she ever would. And now this man, this virtual stranger, was supposed to upended his life to keep her safe. It was humbling and a little humiliating.

He opened the door to his second floor apartment and ushered her in. It was small, serviceable but tidy. A white cat with black spots met them at the door, rubbing up against Magnus’ leg. 

“It’s not much,” Magnus shrugged, absently scratching the cat, “and I wasn’t expecting company when I left this morning, but it should be safe.”

”It’s cute,” she said, kneeling to give proper attention to the cat now sniffing her suspiciously. “And what’s your name, handsome?”

”That’s Coriolanus,” Magnus said with a laugh. “But I call him Cori.” 

“Such a fierce name for such a sweet boy!”

”Don’t let him fool you.”

Now that they were in his home, Magnus seemed self conscious.

“This is the living room, obviously. Kitchen is through there. Help yourself to anything you want, though there’s not much. Um, and the bathroom is through here.”

He opened the door to the bedroom. It was obvious more attention had been paid to this room than the rest of the apartment. A king sized bed dominated the room, sturdy looking iron head and foot board framing it. A large armoire stood in one corner, a full length mirror in the other. A window let in a beam of mingled moon and street light that fell onto the bed. 

”Sorry I can’t give you more privacy,” he said, gesturing to the door to the bathroom on the other side of the room. “I’ll try to not bother you during the night.”

”What do you mean?” She asked. “You don’t think I’m going to kick you out of your own bed, do you? I am perfectly happy to sleep on the couch.”

”Nope, non-negotiable,” he said, folding his arms across his chest.

“Magnus, you’re like twice as tall as me, you’ll never fit on the couch”

”Nonsense, I have slept on it before and been perfectly fine.”

”Another protectee in distress?” she teased. 

“No, you’re my first,” he answered, and she was amused to see that it was his turn to blush. “When my Mum and Dad visited on holiday I let them have my room.”

”Of course,” she said with a smile. 

“Besides,” he added, “I’m supposed to be protecting you. I should be sleeping closer to the door anyway.”

”I know I should argue with you, but I’m just too damn tired,” she sighed, and watched as a gloating smile lit up his face. “Magnus, would it be all right if I took a shower? I know I had one earlier today, but I still feel like I haven’t washed the crime scene off of me.”

”Of course,” he replied immediately. “Towels are under the sink, use anything you need. I’ll sort you out a toothbrush and something to sleep in while you’re in there.”

”Thank you so much,” she said, walking into his small bathroom, “I’m sorry to be so much bother.”

”No bother,” he smiled as she closed the door behind her. “Just make yourself at home.”

***

Magnus lay back on his bed with his hands beneath his head and did his best not to listen to Lanie showering in the next room, not to think about her all wet and soaped up, running her hands over her gorgeous body. 

God, he hadn’t realized how badly he needed to get laid. And not some lame quickie like the last few times he’d driven some girl home, but a good hard, dirty fuck with someone who knew how to play. It was so much more difficult now that his career had started to advance. God knew he would never engage in anything non-consentual, but all it would take was one rumor getting around that the young detective on the Ystrad police force liked to tie women up in the bedroom and he was finished. Kurt would just love that. 

He needed some sort of release though. Three seperate times tonight he had found himself getting embarrassingly, inappropriately, hard. That last time, when Lanie had been squirming on his lap while he tickled her, his cock had jumped to life so fast and so insistently that he thought she must have felt it pressing into her. It was not as though he was exactly small, quite the opposite. 

Groaning, he got up and changed quickly  into sweats and a tee, deciding to go against his usual inclination and put on underwear in an effort to hide any unwanted signs of arousal. 

Fishing around in the right side of his armoir he pulled out a pair of shorts and a shirt for Lanie, then dug up an unopened tooth brush. He deliberately didn’t look at left hand side where his toys hung, not needing any more fuel for his imagination. The last thing he needed to was to imagine how the silver nipple chain would look suspended between Lanie's breasts... Fuck!

The bathroom door opened and he jumped, closing the armoire quickly and hoping she hadn't noticed what was in it. He turned around and was instantly grateful he had opted not to go commando, as the bulge he was sporting now was surely less noticeable than the tenting that would have been going on in his sweats otherwise. She was wrapped in one of his soft blue towels, hair wet and curling around her tired looking face. Long pale legs and bare shoulders glistened with droplets of water. Magnus swallowed and licked his lips, knowing he should be looking anywhere but at her, yet unable to avert his eyes.

"I feel so much better, thanks," she said, perching on the edge of his bed.

"Uh, good," he spoke brusquely, dragging his hand through his hair. "Yeah, so there's clothes for you on the bed, and a toothbrush. I'll um, just go out to other room and let you get dressed."

His feet didn't want to move, but reluctantly he made his legs take him out to the kitchen. He grabbed a beer from the fridge and flopped down on the sofa in the living room. She was right, of course. It was way too short for him to sleep comfortably on, but he couldn't make her crash on his lumpy couch. He glanced down at his crotch and saw that, just as he expected, a large bulge was clearly visible. Groaning he grabbed a pillow and placed it his lap. He was going to need to take care of himself after she went to bed or he would never get any sleep. 

A minute later Lanie came out of his bedroom dressed in his shorts, which went half way down her calves, and t-shirt. Magnus stared at her. It strained over bosom, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination.

"Uh, sorry about the shirt," he mumbled. "I tend to wear mine a little tight."

"Really? I hadn't noticed," she teased, looking pointedly at his academy t-shirt that was practically molded to his body and he grinned. Well, why not? He worked hard to keep himself in such good shape, he liked showing it off when he had the chance. 

"I'm afraid that's the largest one I have," he apologized. It was also white. And thin. And her skin was still damp from the shower. If he believed in hell he would definitely be going there for the thoughts flickering through his head at the moment. 

"It's not your fault I'm freakishly disproportionate," she shrugged. "But maybe tomorrow I can swing by my apartment and pick up a few things?"

"Of course," he agreed, thinking that would be a damn shame. Oh, he was definitely going to have to find some relief before getting any sleep tonight.

"Well, I think I'm going to try and get some sleep," she sighed. "Do you need anything before I turn the light off?"

"Just let me use the bathroom real quick, and I'll be out of your hair," he said, getting up and going into the bath. "You can get yourself comfortable, I'll turn the light off on my way out."

He relieved himself, washed his hands, brushed his teeth, and splashed some cold water on his face. He should really take a cold shower, he thought, but she looked like she needed to crash soon and he didn't want to keep her awake. Walking out he saw her lying in his big bed, blanket pulled up to her waist and groaned at the picture she made, looking up at him with her wide, trusting eyes. Yup, he was definitely going to hell. But first he had some wanking to do on the couch.

"Magus," she asked, biting her bottom lip, "would you mind leaving the door open? I'm... I'm feeling a little anxious, and I think I would sleep better if I knew I could see you."

"Of course," he smiled, and turned of the light. Cursing silently he prepared himself for a long, sleepless night.

 

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