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Fire and flames

Chapter Text

“Is breaking into the community pool on a Tuesday night something you’re doing for fun now?” 

Ace smiled as soon as he heard Marco’s voice, but didn’t look away from the stars above. The low thrum of the vending machine was the only sound nearby, not even Marco’s footsteps breaking the peace of the night, and Ace appreciated the whisper in which he spoke as if understanding Ace was there for the silence. 

The pool water lapping at him as he floated only made the peace that much better. 

“A little B and E never hurt anyone,” Ace said in lieu of an actual answer, without looking away from the stars.

The water in his ears made it difficult to hear, but not impossible, and he could hear the rustle of Marco’s clothes somewhere just out of sight. 

“Funny you should say that, Special Agent Portgas,” Marco told him with a snort, and the water shifted then, the only indication he was no longer alone in the pool. 

“I don’t exactly see your badge right now either, Detective Newgate,” Ace replied with that same kind of snort, taking great pleasure in drawing out Marco’s rank in a way far more intimate than either of them were used to during the day.

It was only then that he looked away from the night sky, the stars far less numerous than he’d remembered from his childhood, but beautiful all the same. Marco was smiling when their eyes met.

“We could have met back at my place,” Marco said as his fingers grazed the skin on Ace’s hip, dipping into the water where the touch was dulled, but present all the same. “Unless you have a kink for public pools I didn’t know about.”

Ace laughed, feeling lighter than he had all day.

“I have many kinks you don’t know about yet,” he said, not mentioning one of them may have included the easy way Marco’s fingers trailed along his skin at any given moment. 

“Yet,” Marco said and the smile grew more teasing, but his hand never strayed from where it was tracing his side. Ace knew already Marco was tracing the particularly stubborn line of freckles on his hip, the one that always drew him in.

“So what’s with the crime?” Marco asked, as softly as his touch.

“It’s quiet here,” Ace said, holding Marco’s gaze for a moment longer before turning back to the stars. “Couldn’t think downtown anymore.”

The touch never relented, trailing up and down, grazing along the entire length of his arm until their fingers finally tangled together. 

“You need a break,” Marco said, fingers tightening around Ace’s own. 

“Not in the middle of a big case,” Ace told him. The stars were almost as calming as the warmth of Marco’s presence. “Not in the middle of this case.” 

Still, as he said it, the pressure placed on him to bring it to an end only grew, and no one understood quite like Marco did.

“A swim then,” Marco said, pulling on his hand ever so gently until Ace floated closer. “And a legally entered pool after the case is closed.”