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Lanie couldn't stop giggling as Magnus tried to make sense of his hair. Between yanking at it in distress with his giant hands and their very vigorous escapades of the last while, the curls were standing in all directions. It was adorable, but proclaimed to anyone with eyes what he had been up to.

"You're sure you want to go back out there?" he groaned, giving up and turning to look at her lounging on the bed.

"Not at all," she signed, rising to help him arrange it a bit more decorously. "But it is my job. And yours. We won't discover much if we stay in here."

"Oh, I don't know," he said, pulling her into and embrace and tipping her backwards. "I discover more and more every time I'm alone with you. For instance, I just discovered tonight that if I kiss you right here...” he nibbled on a spot right below her ear, “your leg does that.”

Lanie shook her head at the smug smile on his face as her leg came up of its own accord to wrap around him.

”Yes, but that is not getting us any closer to finding the killer,” she pointed out, trying to stay focused as he started trailing kisses down her neck.

”All part of my evil plan,” he explained. “If we don’t catch the killer, then you have to stay in protective custody, which means you have to stay at mine with me, which means I get you in my bed every night.”

”Yes, but in that case we have to keep things secret - or real secret, fake real. God you make it hard to think!” she pointed out, moaning as his lips found her nipple once more. “But if we catch the killer, not only do we, you know, stop a murderer, but we can actually be together for real out in the open, and you still get me in your bed every night, or maybe occasionally I get you in mine, just for variety’s sake. You don’t loose your job, and I don’t have to hide from your colleagues how much I want to jump you every time I look at you. I can just do it.”

”You make a good point,” he conceded, reluctantly tearing his lips off her body. “As long as you promise to still want me when the threat to your life is over.”

”I promise to still want you,” she said with all the sincerity she could muster. It was, in truth, the easiest promise she had ever made. 

“Well, then I suppose letting a murderer get away is not the best idea,” he sighed, and she whimpered a little as he pulled himself away from her. “None of that! This is your idea!”

”Yes detective,” she said meekly, and was secretly thrilled to see his cock twitch in his too tight pants.

”Do you have any idea what it does to me when you call me that?” he groaned.

”Some,” she admitted, “considering those pants don’t have any secrets. A bit of a show off, aren’t we?”

”You’re hardly one to talk,” he laughed, eyes raking over her revealing dress.

”Yes, but I am not the one who picked out this dress,” she pointed out reasonably. “All that proves is that you like showing off your date as much as showing off your own... assets.”

”And why not?” He asked. “I saw you checking me out that first night in the pub. And I for one am not going to meddle with anything that gets me results like that.”

”It almost got you Holly rugby tackling you,” she laughed. “If she didn’t feel so bad for me that night she wouldn’t have let me, or anyone else, within a mile of you!”

”Oh, speaking of Holly, best keep an eye on her. Sonja’s father has marked her out as his special friend for this party, and I don’t trust him to take no for an answer.”

”In that case, we really should get out there,” she sighed. 

With a last glance in the mirror, which only served to confirm how obviously compromised they both looked, Lanie took Magnus by the hand and led him out the door.

***

Magnus had to be the luckiest man alive. She had believed him. She still wanted him. And she wanted to be his even after this ordeal was over. He just couldn’t keep the stupid, fatuous grin off his face.

In the grand scheme of things they hadn’t missed that much of the party. Cocktail hour, the passed appetizers, and the welcoming speech. All things considered, he wasn’t that sad to have been absent for Haas’ oration. 

They were able to slide into their seats just as the first course was being served. As mere worker bees, Magnus and Lanie were spared having to sit at the premiere table. Instead they were seated towards the edge of the dining section, he supposed so that Lanie could slip out and consult with the staff as needed. Holly was with them, and as her knowing eyes took in his tousled hair and her less than perfect makeup, not to mention the way his hand never left Lanie’s body, she grinned openly.

”So, everything all settled?” she asked, clearly enjoying Lanie’s discomfort. “You two have a nice make up shag?”

”Holly!” Lanie said repressively.

”Absolutely,” Magnus replied at the same time, grinning.

”Good,” Holly sighed. “Because there are no prospects at this thing worthy of my attention, so once again I find myself having to live vicariously through you.”

”I know a member of the catering staff,” Magnus found himself suddenly volunteering. “He’s single, age appropriate, and a nice guy. Nice enough looking too, from the way I’ve seen women eye him. I could introduce you.”

”It would have to be a member of the staff,” she sighed dramatically. “I don’t suppose he’s secretly heir to a fortune as well?”

”Not to my knowledge,” he admitted, laughing.

”Well, beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. Point him out to me later.”

Magnus knew he should be doing nothing of the sort. He should be leaving his fellow officer undistracted. At least one of them should be, after all. But he genuinely liked Lanie’s friend, and having a strong bloke in her orbit would help keep unwanted suitors at bay.

When the salads were cleared, he excused himself and did a quiet circle around the perimeter of the lawn under the guise of stretching his legs. Other than a bartender hiding out to enjoy a cigarette, there was nothing unusual to be found. He had not been expecting there to be, really. Not tonight, not yet. If something were going to happen this week it would most likely be in the following days, when the never ending flow of alcohol had loosened people’s tongues and dulled their wits. He would have to walk a fine line himself. He couldn’t make it obvious that he was on duty, but couldn’t allow himself to overindulged either. The fact that his date was on duty should help a bit, he supposed.

 As he finished his circuit and walked back towards his seat, he passed by the head table. Haas looked balefully at him, and Magnus couldn’t resist the impulse to smile and wave, sauntering over to him.

”Detective. You’re still here,” Haas’ voice was not pleased.

”Where else would I be?” he asked. 

“I was given to understand that you and Lanie were a bit at odds at the moment.”

”Happy to say you were misinformed,” Magnus smirked. “Oh, we had a bit of a moment, but that just gave us reason to make up. And I do so love making up to that woman.”

”Charming,” Haas was looking at Magnus as one would a dead rodent. 

“Yes it was. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it looks like food has arrived. You do put on a fantastic spread, Haas. I don’t understand why my family never would accept one of your invitations. Anyway, enjoy.”

He knew it wasn’t the smartest thing to poke the bear, particularly when said bear might very well be a cold blooded killer, but Magnus couldn’t seem to control himself. The man was treacherous, and whether or not he was guilty of the crime they were investigating, he was a threat to Lanie. Magnus could not allow that to go unchallenged. He would protect the woman he loved with his last breath.

The woman he loved. It had a nice ring to it, he decided.<