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Knight In Shining Armor

Chapter Text

Task for Agent David Katz

Subject: Klaus Hargreeves

He frequents the local bar. Get to know him. Befriend him to get inside the mansion and uncover any information possible on him and his siblings. Gain his trust.

The message from his manager Tim came through via text on his phone.

Easy enough, he thought.

“Crowded night, huh?”

Klaus Hargreeves had been sitting at the bar, staring absentmindedly at an untouched drink in front of him. The simple question caught him off guard; he’d seen the bar stool become occupied, but he wasn’t expecting the patron to speak to him. He glanced at the rather good looking man and could feel the heat rising up in his cheeks as he shrugged. “I don’t pay them much mind. I mostly come here to escape home for as long as I’m allowed to.” He returned his attention back to the beverage, still unsure if he actually wanted to drink it, as he cursed, trying to think of a way to cover up what he’d just said. “I mean ... siblings ... six, uh, five of them. Sometimes it’s nice to get away.”
The agent raised a brow but decided not to touch on it. “What’s your name? I’m Dave Katz.”
“Klaus. Klaus Hargreeves.” 

He turned the stool to study Dave, curious as to why he was still making an effort to talk to him. People didn’t usually keep trying. With a sigh, he glanced at the time, and his breath hitched as he stood up. “I have to go, Dave. It was nice meeting you.” He adjusted his patchwork leather coat and gestured toward the drink. “It’s yours if you want it.”
“Wait.” Dave stood up and gently grabbed his arm.
Klaus drew in a sharp breath and jerked away. “Sorry,” he mumbled, regretting his actions.
“No, it’s all right. Are you hurt?”
“I’m not convinced.”
“I’m fine.”

The way he spoke his name was gentle. Klaus observed him. His features. He appeared soft and kind, and there was something about him that made him feel at ease. Cradling his arm, he slowly shook his head and whispered, “I’m not okay...”
Dave lowered his voice. “What do you say we get out of here? Go somewhere quiet, hm?”
“I can’t. I have to get home. I’m already late.”
“May I walk you?”
“Sure.” He couldn’t hide the smile that formed. “I’d like that.”

The walk to the mansion was a silent one, but the seance had too much on his mind to try to strike up a conversation. Once they were met with the gates, he let out a shaky breath. “Dave ... could you wait for me out here? I mean, there’s a fire escape that leads up to my room. It’s around the corner where the dumpster is. My dad can’t know you’re here, but I don’t want you to leave...”
“Hey, what’s going on?”
“Please, just wait for me...”
“Of course.”

Dave disappeared around the corner to stand beside the fire escape while Klaus hesitantly pushed the gates open and stepped inside the mansion. As soon as he closed the door, Reginald’s harsh voice pierced the silence. “ Number Four, you’re late.”
He winced. “I’m sorry, Dad. It won’t happen again.”
“You say that every time. Where were you?”
“I, uh, I was at the bar...”
“To suppress your powers?” Reginald scowled. “You’re weak.”
“Dad, I - I -”

Before he could finish speaking, Reginald closed the distance and backhanded him across the face hard enough to make him stumble. “You are not to come out of your room until your mother has dinner on the table. Do you understand, Number Four?”
“Yes,” he whispered as he dragged his feet upstairs, fighting to hold back tears. 

As soon as he made it to his bedroom, he closed the door and locked it, and then turned on the fairy lights. He headed over to the fire escape, got Dave’s attention and signaled that it was safe to come up. The agent carefully climbed up, slipped through the window into the room and removed his jacket. He hung it on the coat rack and glanced around. It was small with only a twin sized bed, an end table and a dresser, but it had a cozy feel; he liked the way the soft glow of the fairy lights created warm lighting. He noticed the writing on the walls and, as he turned to ask Klaus about it, he heard a few sniffles coming from the bathroom. The door was ajar, so he cautiously wandered over to it.

“Klaus?” he questioned, tapping on the door frame. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” came the broken response.
“That didn’t sound too convincing. Mind if I come in?”
“No...” He wiped his tears.
The agent pushed the door open, gasping when he saw the mark on Klaus’ face. “Hey,” he murmured, gently brushing a tear away, “Klaus, what happened? Who did this?”
“My dad,” he choked out, sinking against Dave as he felt his arms wrap around him. “I - I need help...”
“It’s all right. I’ve got you.”
As he held onto Klaus, he quietly sighed and cursed to himself. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way; his manager had given him a task, and it had just become complex. To make things more difficult, he felt something for this man, but he couldn’t pinpoint it yet. Was it a desire to protect him, or did he desire him ? How could he feel something like that so quickly?

“Klaus, I - I’m...” He almost revealed his identity by showing his badge, but decided against it. “I have somewhere that we can stay. You’ll be safe there. I promise.”
“Okay.” He knew he shouldn’t be so trusting of someone he’d just met, especially given his past, but there was something different about Dave. He felt safe with him.
“Let’s get you cleaned up first. Do you have a medical kit?”
“All right, come on.” He gently guided him out of the bathroom and toward the bed. “You’re okay. I’ll be right back.”

Klaus sat down while Dave found the first aid kit, brought it over and set it on the bed. He opened it up, removed the peroxide and poured a drop onto a piece of gauze. “Might sting a bit.” He carefully dabbed the cut and tossed the gauze into a nearby trash can. “There. All better.”
“You speak other languages?” He assumed it meant thank you.
“I know a few words here and there, picked up by listening to the...” He stopped himself. “Just listening.”
“May I see your arm?”
“It hurts.” He slowly pulled his sleeve up to reveal a nasty looking bruise.
“Oh, Klaus ... Come on, let’s get you somewhere safe.” The agent extended his hand. “Is there anything you’d like to take?”
“Uh, my palm tree shirt and leather pants.” He laughed awkwardly, accepting his hand. “And my tie dyed leopard underwear...”
“All right.” Dave blushed deeply. “Nothing else?”
“No, I really want to get out of here.”

Chapter Text

The seance gently squeezed Dave’s hand as he removed his clothing from the drawer, and then turned to face him. “Fire escape.” His voice shook slightly.
“It’s all right.” The agent nodded. “I promise that I will keep you safe.”
“I - I trust you...” He offered a brief smile, his mind reassuring him that the words spoken were sincere.

Dave released Klaus’ hand to put his coat on and descend the fire escape. Once on solid ground, he caught the clothes that were tossed down to him and tucked them beneath his arm while he waited for Klaus. The seance made his way down and, once at the bottom, he faced the agent and offered him another smile. Dave returned it and asked, “Ready? My car is back at the bar.”
“Yeah.” Klaus nodded. 

The agent extended his right hand and, as Klaus took it, he blushed and walked beside him in silence. The night was cool and crisp, and the stars shone brightly along with the full moon; the seance admired the beauty of the sky while several thoughts coursed through his mind. The most prominent one was Dave. This man had been nothing but kind to him by offering him a safe place to stay and tending to him in his time of distress. Even though he’d just met him, he trusted him more than he should a practical stranger, and he might’ve felt something for him.

“You all right?” Dave asked.
“Hm? Yeah. Just on edge...”
He squeezed his hand and smiled reassuringly. “If I can promise you anything, Klaus, I swear that I will keep you safe from all harm. I will not allow anything bad to happen to you, and I will not allow anyone to hurt you.”

The seance stopped walking, then, overcome with emotion at the kind words. He gripped the agent’s jacket tightly, pulling himself up against him; he trembled, fighting to hold back tears, and clung to him like his life depended on it. In response, Dave gently wrapped his arms around him and caressed his back. Feeling terrible, he found himself wondering how long Klaus’ father had been abusing him. How many times was he struck or belittled or deprived of meals? How many nights did he spend at that bar, drowning out painful memories? How many times did he force himself to be strong when he was on the verge of falling apart? How many nights did he cry himself to sleep? 

Dave held onto him, softly whispering to him, and continued to rub his back gently in an attempt to soothe him. He then delicately put his hands on either side of the seance’s face, urging him to look up. As soon as Klaus met his gaze, several tears escaped, but were brushed away by Dave’s thumb. He had many questions, but he didn’t want to upset him more than he already was. That was the last thing he wanted to do; he’d already been through so much. 

“I’m sorry,” Klaus mumbled, sniffling a bit.
“Hey, it’s all right. You don’t have to apologize. It’s okay to cry. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.”
“Thank you…”
“Of course.” He carded his fingers through the seance’s hair. “What do you say we get the car, pick up some dinner and head back to my place?”
“Okay. I - I’d like that.”

Dave smiled at him before placing an arm around him and guiding him the rest of the way to the car. As soon as they reached it, he unlocked and opened the door for Klaus and waited until he was situated. He closed the door, headed around to the driver’s side and climbed in, and then buckled his seat belt. He set Klaus’ clothes down in between them, cranked up the engine and began the drive to a local restaurant he’d been interested in trying. “You like Italian?” he questioned, hoping to distract Klaus.
“Yeah, I’ll eat just about anything.”
“I’ve been curious to try this restaurant. The reviews are excellent, and reservations are usually recommended for those dining in. Would you like to get takeout?”

The seance reached for Dave’s hand, linking their fingers together, as he glanced out the window and took in the new sights. He rarely left the mansion, except to frequent the bar, so it was nice to experience a change in scenery. It was even more pleasant that he was with someone who genuinely seemed to care about him. “Almost there.”
“All right. Still planning on takeout?”
“Is that what you’d like it to be?”
“If you don’t mind. I ... I’m still a bit nervous that I’ll be seen by someone my father knows...”
“Takeout it is.” He turned down a side street and pulled into the parking lot, snagging a spot close to the front of the building much to his surprise. As he cut the engine, he smiled. “Ready?”

They let go of each other’s hands to exit the vehicle and rejoined at the hood. Dave put his arm around Klaus’ shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze; he could feel the tension running through the seance as they stepped into the restaurant where the pickup area was. A host greeted them almost immediately. “Good evening, gentlemen. Will it be takeout, or have you ordered ahead?”
“Takeout,” Dave replied. “We need a moment, please.”

The host nodded, noting immediately how timid Klaus appeared, but tended to other customers while Dave plucked a menu and glanced over it. He made sure to keep his arm around the seance, instantly noticing when his breathing picked up. The pressure of escaping his father ... leaving his mother ... his siblings ... his home ... it was all building up, threatening to boil over.

Dave reacted calmly but quickly, embracing Klaus in a gentle hug, cradling him close to his body. The seance gripped his shirt tightly, burying his face against his chest in an attempt to ground himself. The agent flagged the host down and requested a large order of marinara pasta and mussels, and then immediately focused on the seance. “Here you are,” he whispered. “Here you are. Safe in my arms. I’ve got you.”
“Dave...” His breathing came in short bursts, causing others to stare.
“Klaus, listen to my heartbeat. My breathing. The steady rise and fall. Can you do that for me?”
“Can you match it? Take deep, slow breaths. In and out. Just like me.”

He inhaled and exhaled several times until he felt Klaus doing the same. The seance’s breaths started out shaky, gradually evening out, but he still held onto Dave and kept his face hidden from prying eyes. Moments later, the host stepped up with the food, observing the distress that Klaus was in. Dave accepted the bag with one hand, keeping his other arm around the seance. “What do I owe you?”
“It’s on the house per my manager. It appears that your friend has had quite a rough evening and would benefit from resting at home.” 

Dave was shocked at the hospitality and thanked the host, requesting that he pass one along to the manager as well. Had Klaus not been so upset, he would have been more combative about payment, but he left it alone. He gently guided him outside and, as soon as they reached the car, he set the bag of food down on the hood to check on him. “Are you all right?”
When Klaus met his soft gaze, he shattered, years of pent up sadness pouring out of him. He sank into Dave’s arms and cried until he had nothing left; the agent held onto him the entire time, gently rubbing his back. “Oh, Klaus,” he whispered, brushing his cheek with the back of his hand, “let’s get you home.”

Home. He really just said that, but did it matter now? No. He couldn’t let Klaus return to his father. To his life of abuse. Not if he had any say in the matter. He picked up the food, opened the passenger door and waited until the seance was settled before closing it. He then headed around to the driver’s side, got in and closed the door. After buckling up, he started the engine, set the food down in between them, took Klaus’ hand and began the drive to the safe house.

Chapter Text

During the trip, Dave found himself occasionally glancing in the seance’s direction, checking up on him. After about a half an hour of silence, he softly asked, “You okay?”
When Klaus looked at him, he smiled a fractured one. “Yeah.”
The agent’s heart broke for him. “We’re almost there. You’re welcome to shower and use anything you’d like, Klaus. Make yourself at home.”

Klaus couldn’t help the less broken smile that formed at the word home. He thought he’d be stuck with his abusive father, and he certainly never thought he’d meet someone as kind as Dave. Soon, the agent turned off the paved road and drove down a dirt path surrounded by dense forestry. Within ten minutes, a single story house complete with an enclosed porch, a jacuzzi and a fire pit came into view. He stared in wonder. “You live here?”
“Yeah. Well, kind of.” Dave parked the car and killed the engine. “It’s more of a temporary fix until I find my own place.”
“Oh.” He glanced around at the scenery; it was serene and quiet. “I like it.”
“Yeah?” Dave picked up the food and clothes, and then opened the driver’s side door. “Come on. I’ll show you the inside.”

The seance willingly followed Dave and waited beside him while he unlocked the door; he pushed it open with his elbow and gestured inside. Klaus entered the house, audibly gasping at the spacious floor plan. It was a fraction of the size of the mansion, but he wasn’t bothered by it at all. Smaller homes provided a cozier environment. To him, his father’s house was an inconvenience and had always been far too much for ten occupants. Granted, the old man did attempt to adopt all forty-three children. 

Dave’s living room was complete with a sectional couch, a wall-mounted flat screen television, a small coffee table, a fireplace and a solid color shag rug. To the left, the kitchen was equipped with a moderately sized stainless steel sink, tile flooring, cherry wood cabinets and granite counter tops. The only appliances it consisted of were a coffee pot, a toaster, a microwave, a stove and a tea kettle. The agent placed the food and Klaus’ clothing on the kitchen counter and looked at him. “What do you think?”
“It’s fabulous!”
“You prefer smaller houses?”
“Yeah. My dad, Reggie, adopted me and my siblings when we were infants. We don’t know our birth mothers. The mansion is inconveniently sized.”
“We were born from seven different women on the same day at the same time. I meant six. Sorry.”
“Interesting. Strange, but interesting.”

Dave wanted to ask about the number change as he’d done it twice already, but decided against it for now in case it was a topic that would upset him. “Uh, my room is straight down the hall past the guest room. It’s not as extravagant as yours, but it is a place to sleep. The bathroom’s there, too. If you’d like, you can freshen up, then eat, or vice versa. Help yourself to anything you need, all right?” He pointed to Klaus’ arm. “Do you want me to put ice on that?”
“I think I’m okay for now.” He glanced at his palm tree shirt, underwear and leather pants, contemplating on putting those on, but he’d rather wear something more comfortable. “A shower does sound nice, but I don’t have anything to wear to bed...”
“Oh, right. Come with me.”

The agent led him down the hall toward his bedroom and opened up the top right drawer. He removed a plain white t-shirt and a pair of black fleece pants. “They’ll probably be a bit too big, but, if you’re up for it, we can go shopping tomorrow.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
“I’ll be just a shout away if you need anything. Towels are in the closet in the bathroom. Dinner will be waiting for you whenever you’re ready.”
“Thanks, Dave.”

Dave allowed him privacy but, before Klaus wandered into the bathroom, he studied the bedroom. It certainly didn’t have much - a full sized bed, a fireplace, a television and a dresser - but it was plenty cozy, and he liked it better than his own room. He headed into the bathroom, switched the light on, nudged the door shut, and then set the pajamas down on the edge of the sink. He grabbed a towel from the closet and turned the shower on, adjusting it to the desired temperature. Stripping of his own clothes, he stepped into the shower and sighed softly as the hot water caressed his skin; it felt nice, and he relaxed a bit. He washed thoroughly, turned the water off and wrapped a towel around his waist upon stepping out. 

Spotting a bottle of mint mouthwash sitting on the sink, he gargled with it to freshen his breath. After he spit, he looked up, using the vanity mirror to smooth his hair out; in his reflection, he caught sight of the bruises on his torso ... the ones he hadn’t mentioned to Dave. The ones that reminded him how often Reginald abused him. He closed his eyes tightly as he went there again, recalling how violent and aggressive his father had been with him on numerous occasions. With shaking hands, he let the towel fall to the floor and pulled on the fleece pants and t-shirt that the agent had lent to him. He tossed the towel into the nearby hamper and exited the bathroom; he traveled down the hall to find Dave adding the final touches to dinner in the kitchen and wordlessly wrapped his arms around him from behind. He trembled as he attempted to ground himself.

Dave carefully turned and pulled him in for a hug. “What happened?”
“There are more bruises on my torso that I didn’t tell you about. Seeing them again brought back bad memories.”
“He can’t hurt you anymore.” He carded his fingers through his hair. “I won’t let him.”
“I know.” He held onto him for several more moments until his stomach growled, causing them both to giggle.
“I suppose we should feed you.”
“I suppose we should.”
“Looks delicious.” He let the agent go and glanced at the similar portions of food on the plates.
“Let’s hope it tastes just as good. Would you like something to drink? I’ve got water, milk, juice, or I could make you some tea or cocoa.”
“Water, please.”
“Of course.” He filled two glasses and handed one to Klaus. “Want to eat in the living room?”
“That sounds fabulous.”

Dave picked up his plate, and Klaus took the other, then followed him to the couch. They both sat down, placing their water on the coffee table and the plates in their laps and began eating. The seance, hungrier and thirstier than he’d realized, finished his meal and water before the agent. Shortly after, Dave finished eating and drank about half of his water. “Feeling better?”
“Would you like to sleep in my bed tonight? I’ll take the spare room.”
“Are you sure? I don’t want to intrude.”
“There’s no intrusion. I promise.”
“Danke.” He blushed, hesitant to ask what was on his mind. “Dave, would you mind, uh, staying with me ... just until I fall asleep?”
“Not at all. Make yourself comfortable. I’m going to clean up the kitchen, then I’ll be there.”
“Can I do anything to help you?”
“I can manage. You’ve had a hard day.”

Klaus returned the smile before wandering down the hall toward the bedroom; he used the bathroom first, and then climbed into the bed, sighing contentedly. It was much more spacious and comfier than his own twin sized bed he had at the mansion. He burrowed into the blankets, cocooning himself in a protective layer as Dave stepped into the room with Klaus’ clothes. His breath caught, and he smiled softly. The seance looked adorable, and he came close to expressing his thoughts, but bit his tongue. Don’t tell him that, he thought. Not now.

Chapter Text

He settled for, “You cozy?”
“Mhm,” came the muffled reply.
“Want me to light a fire?” He set the clothing down on the dresser and climbed into bed. “Put something on television?”
“No, it’s okay.” He cautiously moved closer to the agent and rested his head on his chest. “Do you mind...?”
“Of course not.” He brushed the hair out of his face. “Get some sleep, Klaus. I’ll be here.”

Klaus dozed off fairly quickly as the stresses of what he’d endured had caught up to him. Dave could have moved him just enough so that he could retreat to the spare room, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave. The seance looked content and fully at ease for the first time since he’d met him. He decided to stay, shifting slightly to lie down while keeping Klaus close to him, and fell asleep soon after. The following morning, Dave woke far too early to the sunlight streaming through the bedroom window. He glanced at the clock - 7:10 - and then checked his phone; he had one missed call from his manager. Careful not to wake Klaus, who was fitted up against him, he returned it.

“Katz,” his manager greeted, “what’s the status?”
“Uh, well...” Dave hesitated. “I’ve got Klaus, the one who frequented the bar, here at the safe house.”
“Oh?” His tone was flat. “Why might that be?”
“Tim ... Sir, I discovered that his father has been abusing him.”
“And you thought it would be wise to bring a complete stranger to the safe house?”
“Yes, sir.”
“I told you to uncover his secrets, not invite him over. Do you realize how dangerous that could be for you? You know nothing about him. What if he hurts you?”
“You told me to befriend him,” the agent countered, standing his ground. “I’m still doing my job, sir. The only difference is that Klaus is staying here with me instead of me staying at the mansion. I have been in this field for years, and I know what I’m doing. It’s not just about the mission, and you know that. It’s about the safety and well being of others, too.”
“You’re right.” His tone softened enough. “You’re one of my best agents. Keep me updated on your progress. Stay on your toes, Katz.”
“May I ask you a question?”
“What are you going to do to him and the others once I have what I need?”
“That depends on what you uncover. One can never be too careful.”

Tim disconnected the call before Dave had a chance to respond, causing him to shudder. He didn’t like the note that his manager had ended the conversation on; it sounded menacing. There was no way that Klaus could be dangerous. Just hours ago, he was a broken man pleading for a way out of his abusive life. For someone to save him. If only Tim had seen him in that condition...

Dave exhaled quietly and tenderly brushed the curls out of Klaus’ face. He considered getting out of bed to make a pot of coffee, but he didn’t want to risk waking the seance, so he stayed. A couple of hours later, Klaus began to stir, hastily realizing that he’d fallen asleep on the agent. Blushing, he rubbed his eyes and mumbled, “‘m sorry.”
“It’s all right. I didn’t want to wake you, so I thought I’d stay.”
“Oh.” He smiled softly. “I’m glad you did. What time is it?”
“You’re sweet.” He squeezed his shoulder. “It’s a few minutes after ten.”
“I’ve never slept in this late.”
“It’s okay. You needed it. Would you like some coffee?”
“Please. Would it be all right if I freshened up in the bathroom?”
“Of course, Klaus. Consider my house yours.”
“No problem. How do you take it?” Dave immediately blushed. “Your coffee. How do you take your coffee?”
“Usually just cream,” Klaus replied, blushing as well, “if it’s the flavored stuff. If not, cream and sugar.”
“I’ll have it ready when you join me.”

The agent let out a quiet whistle as he left the bedroom and made his way into the kitchen. That was embarrassing , he thought, turning red again. Klaus got out of bed, grabbed his clothing, and then went into the bathroom. He closed the door, stripped and took a quick shower; upon stepping out, he dried himself off with a fresh towel from the closet, and then got dressed. He gargled with the mouthwash, picked the towel he’d used last night up off the floor and found a hamper. He tossed them both into it, exited the bathroom and wandered down the hall as the rich aroma of coffee grew stronger. 

“Smells great,” he spoke up as he spotted the agent sitting on the couch in the living room, fire roaring in the background.
“Yeah? I seco -” Dave’s words caught as soon as he looked up. Heat rose up in his cheeks as he noticed how form fitting Klaus’ leather pants were; he cleared his throat awkwardly. “I second that. Uh, I’ve got your coffee made. I added caramel creamer. Is that okay?”
“That’s perfect. Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.”

The seance took a seat beside him, slightly flushed at how Dave had reacted to seeing him in his leather pants. He attempted to distract himself by sipping his coffee and watched the crackling fire. “I like this creamer.”
“I’d be happy to purchase some more for you.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I don’t mind, Klaus. Really.”
“Thank you. I appreciate it.” 

Words failed to come to them, then, as they watched the shadows of the flames dancing on the walls, giving the room a soft glow. Klaus blushed a bit when he glanced at Dave and slid ever closer to him; the agent noticed and angled his body towards him. They searched each other’s gaze until their lips softly connected and their eyes closed. It was delicate, cautious and sweet, a near perfect first kiss. When they separated, they kept their foreheads pressed together as they opened their eyes. Neither of them knew what to say, so they kept quiet, enjoying the tender moment. The agent caressed Klaus’ cheek as they slowly sat up straight, but still remained close to each other.

Klaus leaned into the touch, reveling in the memory; he’d just experienced what a real first kiss was like, something he never thought he’d get to have. Past relationships, which could barely be graced with that title, weren’t something he had the best of luck with. He’d been used for whatever they wanted to use him for, and it was all unpleasant. He recalled as well that he didn’t consent to his previous partner - the one before Dave - but, to him, it didn’t matter. He shivered and brought himself back to the present, focusing on the way that the agent had kissed him. Dave was not like him, and he’d never hurt me, he thought.

“Are you okay?” Dave spoke softly.
“Yeah.” Klaus smiled as he threaded his fingers through the agent’s. “Are you?”
“Never better, love.” The last word flew out of him, and his breath hitched. “Sorry.”
“No, it’s fine. I promise, Dave. You’re too sweet.”
“Not too sweet.” He chuckled. “Just the right amount.”
“Dork.” He playfully nudged him.
He tenderly carded his fingers through his hair. “Do you feel comfortable enough to go out today?”
“Yeah. I - I feel safe when I’m with you.”
“There’s a shop not far from here that sells clothing similar to what you’ve got on. Sound okay?”
“Okay, I’ll wash the dishes, get changed real quick, and then we can head out.”
“All right.”

Chapter Text

Dave took the coffee mugs to the kitchen, washed them up, and then went into his bedroom to put something more presentable on. He brushed his teeth, combed his hair, slipped his shoes on and added a touch of cologne. He met Klaus back in the living room and glanced at the fire; it had died down enough that he didn’t worry about putting it out. He extended his hand toward the seance. “Shall we?”
“Yes.” He accepted his hand and held it on the way to the car. “We shall.”

When they reached the vehicle, Dave opened the passenger door. Before he got in, Klaus spun about and pressed a gentle kiss to the agent’s lips, bringing a smile to his face. He rested his forehead against the seance’s and whispered, “You’re cute.” They remained that way for several more moments, and then simultaneously settled into the vehicle. Dave started the engine and drove toward the clothing store, holding onto Klaus’ hand the whole way there. Within ten minutes, they’d arrived; the agent parked the car and looked at Klaus. “Don’t hold back, all right? If you see something you like, grab it.”
“You’re sure?” He was hesitant as clothing could be expensive. “It ... it’s just ... we barely know each other, and you’ve opened up your home to me. Gave me a safe place to stay ... bought me dinner ... and now you want to buy me clothes.”

The words were pouring out of him, and he knew they sounded harsh, but he wasn’t used to having someone other than his mother and his brother Diego wanting to take care of him. There was a part of him that was worried all of this was just for show and that he’d soon be thrown away like he’d been in the past.

“Hey,” Dave softly spoke, cupping Klaus’ face, “I’m sure. Breathe, love. You’re all right.” He studied the seance. One thing his career taught him was how to tread lightly; he knew that Reginald had abused him, but there was something else that added to his trauma. He chose his next words carefully. “Klaus, you don’t have to talk to me about anything that makes you uncomfortable, but I’ll be here whenever you’re ready. Another thing ... I swear on my life that I will never hurt you or force you to do anything that you aren’t ready to do.”
Klaus pulled the agent in for a hug. “I don’t know what to say. Thank you for being so kind to me?”
“That’s perfect, and you’re welcome.” He chuckled as he rubbed his back. “You all right?”
“Yeah.” He let go of the agent. “I’m okay. We can do some shopping.” 

They both exited the vehicle and, as they rejoined at the hood, Dave gently wrapped his arm around Klaus’ shoulder; he gave it a soft squeeze and pressed a tender kiss to his cheek as they headed inside the store. He removed his arm from the seance so he could grab a shopping cart and browse each aisle with him. Observing his hesitation as he added a few things to the cart, the agent laughed quietly and brushed the hair from his face. “Hey, love? It’s all right. I promise.”
“Sorry ... nerves, I guess...”

As he wandered the store, he felt more confident as he filled the cart with various styles of jackets, t-shirts, pants, shorts, socks, boxers, pajamas and a few pairs of shoes. “I think this’ll do it. Thank you, Dave. It means so much.”
“Of course, angel.”
“You don’t like that name? I won’t call you that if you don’t.”
“No, it’s ... I like it.” He smiled and pressed a chaste kiss to his lips. “It’s sweet.”
“It suits you.”
“Don’t make me blush,” he chuckled.
“But you’re so cute.”
“I’m sorry, love.” He kissed his forehead.
“It’s okay. You’re pretty cute yourself.”
“You think so?”

Dave laughed quietly as he wrapped an arm around Klaus’ waist and headed to the checkout counter. They unloaded everything together and, as soon as the cashier had the total, the agent paid and grabbed as many of the bags as he could carry. Klaus picked up the remainder and followed him out to the car, standing nearby until the trunk had been opened. Simultaneously, they placed the bags in it and, after he closed it, Dave turned toward the seance and kissed his forehead. “Do you feel like going to the convenience store? There won’t be as many people and, among other groceries, this one carries the creamer that you like. I’ll also get you some hygiene products.”
“Yeah, that sounds perfect” he murmured, tilting his head to kiss Dave’s lips, lingering it a little longer.

The agent was hesitant to break the kiss, but they were in view of the public eye, and he wanted to do things right with Klaus. He wanted to take their relationship slow and allow him to experience what a meaningful one was about. Granted, he was also new at this as his career didn’t truly enable him to get too close to others; he’d intentionally kept himself closed off since he was never in one specific town for too long. He’d never even kissed anyone before Klaus. Reluctantly, he pulled back and smiled at him as he opened the passenger door. Klaus caressed his cheek before he settled in the vehicle, buckling his seat belt, while Dave got in on the driver’s side. He cranked up the engine, backed out of the parking spot, and then drove toward the shop nearby the safe house. Upon arrival, he snagged a spot in front and cut the engine as he glanced at the seance, offering him another smile. He returned it, and the pair exited the vehicle together, meeting at the hood to take hold of each other’s hands, but, before they entered the store, several tender kisses were exchanged. 

Dave grabbed a basket and kissed Klaus’ cheek. “If anything catches your eye, please don’t hesitate to add it to the basket.”
“Always.” He nudged him softly. “Here are the hygiene products.”
“Thank you.” He added what he needed to the basket and glanced at the agent. “Where do they keep the creamers?”
“Over here, angel.” He guided him to the refrigerated section.
“Quite the variety.”
“Get a few if you’d like.”
“Are these okay?” He grabbed caramel, hazelnut and cinnamon.
“Perfect. Is there anything else you’d like?”
“I’m not sure. I do have an idea for dinner, though. Could we order pizza and watch movies?”
“A relaxing night in sounds great. How about we get some snacks while we’re here? What kind do you like?”

Klaus wrapped his arms around Dave, who set the basket down to return the hug, asking, “You all right?”
“Mhm. This might sound cliche, but I - I think of you as my knight in shining armor.”
“You do?”
“Yeah. You saved me from my life of abuse ... from my father. From everything terrible that he put me through. From other traumas that I went through...”
“In that case...” Dave chuckled. “I dub thee, Klaus Hargreeves, officially under the protection of Sir David Katz.”
“Dork.” He laughed as he continued holding onto him. 

Klaus suddenly felt something he hadn’t before. A warm, fuzzy feeling in the pit of his stomach. Butterflies? He’d only ever heard of them; most had said it was love. Love? It couldn’t be that, could it? He’d just met Dave yesterday and didn’t know enough about him to fall in love with him. With a sigh, he pulled away and smiled as he kissed his lips, shivering when he felt those butterflies again. “I like chips, popcorn and candy,” he quietly said.
“Any specific flavors?”
“Not really.”
“How’s this?” Dave filled the basket with a variety of everything. “Now, we’ve got a selection to choose from.”
“Ready to check out and head home?”

Chapter Text

Dave picked up the basket, secured his arm around Klaus and headed for the checkout area, setting the basket on the counter. “Good morning,” he said to the clerk.
“Good morning, sir. Did you find everything you were looking for?” He rang up the items.
“We did, thank you.”
“Very good.” He bagged everything up. “Your total is forty-five even. Cash or card?”
“Card.” He swiped it in the machine.
“Here’s your receipt.” He handed it to the agent. “Have a great day, gentlemen.”
“Thank you.” He pocketed his receipt and grabbed the bags. “You as well.”
“Thank you.”

The agent smiled at the seance and headed out toward the car with him, unlocking it as soon as he reached it. He placed the bags on the backseat, nudged the door shut with his hip, and then kissed Klaus’ cheek. Klaus wrapped his arms around his waist, shivering when the butterflies swarmed his stomach once more. “Thanks for the clothes and the other things, Dave.”
“You’re welcome.” He chuckled, rubbing his arms. “You good?”
“Yeah. Just ... cold,” he finished lamely.
“How about we go home to warm you up, hm?” He blushed as soon as he spoke those words. “I mean...”
“Fire?” Klaus laughed awkwardly, blushing as well.

The seance situated himself in the car as Dave closed the door and settled in the driver’s seat. He cranked up the engine, threading his fingers through Klaus’, and glanced at the clock. “Almost lunchtime. Are you hungry? I can stop at a drive through.”
“I could eat.” He squeezed his hand.
“What would you like?”
“Is there a burger joint around here?”
“There is. Bonus points, it’s nearby.”
“Thank you.”
“Of course, angel.”

Dave made a left turn down a side street and got in line at the drive through; when he was at the intercom, he requested two large cheeseburger meals and two Cokes. After receiving the total, he drove to the second window, paid, accepted the meals and headed toward home. The seance held the food in his lap, deciding to place the Cokes in the cup holders so he could hold Dave’s hand during the drive. The ride home was silent, but neither of them minded it; they were content with each other’s company. Shortly, Dave pulled off the road and into the driveway; he parked the car, cutting the engine, but before he could open the door, Klaus gave him a passionate kiss on the lips. “That was a proper thank you.”
“Yeah.” He kissed him again as a shiver ran up his spine when the butterflies returned.
“Let’s get you inside, huh? Get a fire going?”
“Okay. Can we cuddle?”
“Of course.”

Together, they exited the vehicle and, while Klaus carried lunch, Dave picked up the bags containing the snacks and creamer. He unlocked and opened the front door, hanging his keys on the hook, and pushed the door closed with his hip. “If you’d like,” he spoke up while he put the groceries away, “we can eat in the bedroom or on the couch.”
“Bedroom please?”
“Come on, love.” He placed his arm around his shoulders.
“Okay.” His breath caught as he felt those pesky butterflies again. What is this? Should I tell Dave?

Once they were in the bedroom, Dave pressed a kiss to Klaus’ cheek. “Go ahead and get cozy, all right? I’m going to change into something more comfortable. You’re welcome to wear something of mine for now if you want to. We’ll unload the car later. Perks of living out in the country - no one around to see us in our pajamas.”
“Thanks, Dave.”

The agent grabbed a pair of fleece pants and a thin t-shirt, and then escaped into the bathroom, closing the door. He changed and brushed his teeth while Klaus dressed in something similar. When Dave opened the door, the seance was already in bed with the food set out on a tray that he’d found. Before he joined him, he got a fire going and switched the television on, and then stretched out beside Klaus. “What do you feel like watching?”
“I’m not sure. What do you like?”
“Too much. Want me to put Netflix on and go from there?”
“All right. May I start eating?”
“Uh...” The question caught him off guard, and he wondered for a split second if it had something to do with Reginald. “Yeah, of course. You’re free to do anything you want here, love.”
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Klaus.”

Dave scanned through his Netflix recommendations while he tenderly caressed Klaus’ arm, issuing a shiver out of him. The seance nuzzled his neck as he exhaled a shaky breath and swallowed a bite of his burger. “Dave?”
“Yes, love?”
“I don’t know what’s happening, but I’ve been ... um ... experiencing a fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach.”
“Sounds like you’ve got a case of the butterflies.” He studied Klaus’ face.
“Could it be...?”
“I don’t know. I’m not ... I’m not good at this sort of stuff.”
“Relationships? What do you mean? You’re doing fantastic.”
“Dave...” He hid his face against his chest. “I - I was ... the last partner I was with ... he wasn’t good to me. He abused me ... made me feel like I wasn’t worthy of love and ... I - I didn’t consent...”
“Klaus, you mean you were...?” Anger laced his voice as he wrapped his arms gently around him.
The seance nodded slowly. “Mhm...”
Dave audibly sighed and ran his fingers along his spine. “Oh, sweetheart...”
“I’m sorry,” he whimpered.
“It wasn’t your fault,” he soothed. “Please don’t blame yourself for what he did to you. It was him and him alone.”
“It was so painful ... I wasn’t strong enough to fight him off. My mom and my brother Diego are the only ones in my family who know...” His tears flowed freely.
“Let it out, my love.” He kept his arms around him, whispering sweet nothings in his ear. 

Klaus focused on what Dave was saying to him as a way to stay grounded and remind himself that things were going to improve for him. That they already had. He’d been saved from his father, and he had a newfound partner who genuinely cared about him. After several moments, his tears subsided, and he reluctantly pulled away to wipe his eyes. The agent brushed the curls from his face and kissed his forehead. “Angel, you’ve endured so much. What you told me moments ago was a big step, and I’m proud of you. It tells me that you trust me.”
“I do trust you.” He sniffled. “From the moment I met you, I felt something ... like you gave off a calming energy. I felt safe ... I still feel safe around you. These butterflies must be some kind of sign. You’ve been nothing but kind to me, something I’m not used to. I think, maybe, I’m falling in love with you.”
“I think I’m falling in love with you, too.”

Chapter Text

As emotion flooded into him, Klaus pulled himself in Dave’s lap to be as close to him as possible. The agent embraced him, pressing random soft kisses to his cheek and jaw, as he caressed his back. Minutes later, reluctant to break the tender moment, he glanced at the food. “Feel like finishing your lunch?”
“Yeah, I suppose I should.”
“Do you still want pizza for dinner?”

Klaus slid off of his lap and, in silence, he and the agent consumed the remainder of their meals while they watched an older romcom. Dave discarded the trash in his bedside trash can and held his arms out for the seance, who immediately crawled into them. He rested his head on his chest and draped a leg over his companion’s as he asked, “Is this okay?”
“It’s more than okay.”

Nuzzling into him, Klaus focused on the movie for a while before sleep began to creep up on him, and he didn’t try to fight it; he closed his eyes, drifting off quickly. When the movie had ended, Dave turned the television off and fell asleep not long after, waking just before dusk. He slipped out of bed carefully to use the bathroom and, when he opened the door, Klaus was waking up, reaching for the space beside him. Dave climbed into the bed and pulled the seance into his arms. “Good evening, angel. Did you sleep all right?”
“Mhm,” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes.
“Hungry? I’ll order the pizza now, and then get the snacks ready. We can grab everything from my car while we wait for dinner.”
“Okay.” He sat up and pressed a lazy kiss to his cheek. “I’ll start unloading the car.”
“Sounds good. What do you like on your pizza?”
“I’m all about that ham and pineapple.”
“Me, too.” Dave chuckled as he placed the order via his phone app. “I got two larges and a side of wings, so now we’ll have leftovers for tomorrow.”
“You’re amazing.”

Klaus slipped out of bed, put his shoes on and stepped out of Dave’s house, shivering when the frigid wind gusted around him. The temperature had dropped significantly, and he wondered if they’d be in for some snow. He opened the car door and grabbed as many bags as he could carry, anxious to be back inside, cuddled up in the warmth of the bed. He spun about quickly, only to run smack into the agent and lost his footing; as he stumbled over loose gravel, he was caught and steadied by a set of strong, yet gentle hands.

“I’ve got you,” Dave laughed as he held him against his chest.
Klaus blushed and kissed him. “Thanks, love.”
“Anytime.” He rubbed his arms. “You cold, angel?”
“Go inside and get snuggled up. The fire’s going, the snacks are set out, and Netflix is loaded. I’ll get the rest of the bags.”
“Are you sure?”
“I am.”
“All right.” Klaus headed for the door but, feeling bolder, he stopped and turned around. “Dave?”
“Hm?” He met his gaze.
“I ... I love you.”
“I love you too, Klaus.” 

A soft smile formed on Dave’s face as he closed the distance to embrace Klaus in a gentle hug. The seance set the bags down so he could return it and clutched him tightly. The love he felt was undeniable; it might have only been a couple of days, but he knew he’d fallen for the agent the moment he first laid eyes on him, and it grew more intense as time passed. The agent first saw Klaus as guarded and reluctant, but the walls gradually lowered; he pressed several kisses to his face, laughing quietly when he shivered against him. “Go warm up, my love. I’ll join you shortly.”

Klaus picked up the bags, stepped inside, welcoming the warmth, and headed into Dave’s bedroom. Unsure of if he should add his clothes to the agent’s dresser, he placed the bags neatly on the floor. He took his shoes off before climbing into bed; he placed a pillow in between his back and the headboard and dragged the covers up to his waist as he heard the agent enter the house and nudge the door shut. He smiled at him as soon as he stepped into the bedroom with the remaining bags and set them down beside the others. He’d figure out where to put the clothing later; for now, he unpacked the hygiene products and stocked the bathroom with them. He then climbed into bed, wrapped both arms around the seance and kissed his cheek. “Pizza’s on its way, angel.”
“Okay.” He snuggled against him. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

The words came out easier this time, and Klaus nuzzled Dave’s neck as he rolled over to face him. Carding his fingers through his hair, the agent softly kissed his lips; the seance leaned into him, placing one hand just below his rib cage. Taking comfort in the closeness, he sighed contentedly, intertwining both legs with Dave’s, wishing he could stay like that for the entire night, but the doorbell interrupted them. They met each other’s gaze and frowned, noises of disapproval escaping. 

“Pizza,” Dave mumbled, resting his forehead against Klaus’. “I’ll be right back, love.”
“You better be,” he jokingly threatened, kissing his cheek. “I need my furnace and pillow.”
“I promise, angel.” He pecked his lips and reluctantly slipped out of bed toward the door. “Hey,” he greeted upon seeing the delivery personnel.
“Good evening, sir.” He had a pleasant smile on his face as he offered him both boxes. “Your Hawaiian pizza and wings.”
“Thank you.” Since he’d already paid through the app, he tipped the driver a few extra dollars than normal. “Have a good night.”
“Much appreciated. Have a lovely evening as well, sir.”

Dave closed and locked the front door, placed the wings and one pizza box in the fridge, and then grabbed two paper plates and napkins. He headed down the hall toward the bedroom to see Klaus cocooned in a nest of blankets. “You’re cute,” he murmured as he climbed into the bed and set everything down on it. “You know that?”
“Am I?” The seance pushed the covers down and kissed him softly.
“Mhm, absolutely adorable.”
“You’re making me blush...”
“Still cute.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “We should eat, love.”
“All right.” 

Dave opened up the box and gestured for Klaus to take the first slice, and he didn’t hesitate as he put one on his plate. He spread a napkin across his lap as the agent prepared his own plate and moved the box off to the side. “Help yourself to as many slices as you’d like, okay, angel?”
“Thank you, sweetheart.”
“Of course.” He selected an animated movie listed in his recommendations. “Is this all right?”

When they had their fill, Dave threw the garbage out and glanced at the fire, noting that it had died down enough to not cause worry. He wrapped his arms securely around Klaus, running his fingers tenderly along his skin, and then turned the television off. Within minutes, the seance fell asleep, and Dave followed suit soon after only to be woken sometime in the middle of the night to Klaus twitching in his sleep. As he sat up, he rubbed his eyes and helplessly watched him writhe within the sheets, his face contorting as he pleaded with whatever was disturbing him to go away. Sweat beaded along his forehead and soaked through his shirt as he fisted the bed sheets, whimpering incoherently; several tears escaped, and his breathing escalated quickly, coming in short, ragged bursts. To avoid startling him, Dave refrained from touch as well as hovering over him and kept his voice soft. He spoke sweet nothings to him until he bolted upright with a gasp, flinging the covers from his waist.

Chapter Text

The agent kept his voice calm. “Sweetheart?”
“Dave?” Klaus choked out.
“It’s me, angel. Are you all right?”
“No...” Visibly shaken, he moved to Dave’s lap.
“Want to talk about it over tea?”
“I don’t know...”

He hadn’t mentioned anything about his powers or their consequences to his boyfriend, and he was terrified of opening up about it. He was under the impression that, if the agent knew that he could conjure the dead and frequently had them follow him around, he’d run in the opposite direction, and he’d be alone. Shivering at the thought, he didn’t bother brushing the fresh tears away and tightened his grip on Dave. “Please don’t leave me,” he whispered brokenly.
“I’m not going anywhere, love.”
“I promise.” He pressed several kisses to his face. “I’m here if you’d like to talk.”
“I do...” He trailed off.
“There’s a but in there, huh?”
“You can tell me anything, all right?”
“Even if it sounds crazy?”
“Even if it sounds crazy. Sure you don’t want any tea?”
“No tea. Just you.”
“I’m right here.” He urged him to look up, brushing tears away. “You’ve got me for as long as you want me.”
“What if I said I’ll always want you?” He met his gaze.
“Then you’ll always have me.”
“There’s something you should know, but I’m scared that it’ll push you away...”
“Don’t be afraid of that, angel,” he soothed.

Clutching Dave’s shirt, Klaus sighed softly. “There’s so much that I haven’t told you. When I said Reggie adopted me and my siblings and that we don’t know who our birth mothers are, it was true, but we weren’t born under normal circumstances.” He teared up again, trembling as the thought of pushing the agent away crossed his mind again. “Forty-three of us all together were born on that fateful day, but the strangest part is that none of those women were pregnant when they’d woken that morning. Reginald tried to adopt every last one of us, but he only got seven … I’m sorry that I kept saying I only had five siblings, but my brother Ben … he passed away when we were seventeen.” His voice cracked.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart.” He carded his fingers through his hair.

Klaus nuzzled Dave’s neck as a thick blanket was draped around his shoulders. “My siblings and I, with the exception of Vanya, have powers, and we were exploited as children for them by Reginald. I can’t speak for my brothers and sisters, but striking me isn’t the only kind of abuse he put me through.” He trembled as the words poured out of him. “I... I can conjure the dead and, if that isn’t terrifying enough, they tear me from sleep frequently. To make matters worse, when I was thirteen, my dad locked me in a mausoleum for hours so I’d get over my totally irrational fear of ghosts.”
“He what?”
“Grade A parenting, huh?”
“Did your siblings know?”
“I was too afraid to tell them.”
“My love, you’ve endured so much...”
“But I have you now. You saved me, and I’ll never be able to thank you enough for that.”
“You already have thanked me by being here.” He kissed the top of his head. “I love you, Klaus.”
“I love you, too, Dave.”
He shifted in his lap to face him and gave him a chaste kiss. “Would it be okay if we slept on the couch for the rest of the night?”
“Of course. We’ll sleep wherever you feel safest.”
“Thank you, sweetheart.” 

Klaus scooted off of Dave’s lap, removed his sweat-soaked shirt, tossing it into the hamper, and swiped a few pillows. The agent climbed out of bed, picking up a blanket, and extended his hand, smiling when the seance accepted it. When the couch came into view, they added the pillows and blanket to it, and then snuggled up against each other. Dave kissed his forehead and whispered, “I’ve got you, angel.”
“Stay with me,” he mumbled.
“I’m right here. I’ll protect you from the ghosts.”

The seance drifted off quickly, content in the agent’s arms, and slept the rest of the night away without another incident. He woke first, earlier than he’d desired to, disturbed by the sunlight peeking through the window. Nuzzling Dave, he softly peppered his face with kisses until he began to stir. “Good morning, sunshine.”
“G’morning,” the agent mumbled sleepily as he brushed the curls from Klaus’ face.
“Could we visit my mom and siblings today? I’m worried about what Reggie will do, but I miss them ... especially Diego.”
“I’d like to meet your family, angel.”
“Yeah? I’m going to freshen up.”
“All right, I’ll make us some coffee for the road.” He kissed his lips. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

While Klaus showered, Dave called Jack, a trusted coworker - one he’d been sent on missions with in the past - as he brewed the coffee. He wasn’t exactly sure what to say, but he couldn’t let Reginald get away with any more abuse; unfortunately, he had no hard evidence, other than the bruises. He was worried that he’d be told that he could’ve gotten those from his brothers or sisters - siblings fight. He let out an exasperated sigh, hoping he could figure everything out.

“Hey, Dave,” Jack greeted as he answered his phone, “what’s up?”
“Long story,” he answered. “I need your help with something that Tim can’t know about yet.”
“Sure, what have you got for me?”
“I was sent to investigate Klaus Hargreeves, and I was supposed to get inside the mansion, but he’s staying at the safe house with me. I discovered his father has been abusing him.”
“You have evidence of this?”
“He’s got bruises, but I don’t have any photos or videos of his father in the act...”
“We can’t legally take him down unless we have documented proof.”
“I know, but we’re about to go to his father’s mansion to visit his mother and siblings. Could you meet me there and wait outside until I figure things out? Park off to the side so no one sees you.”
“All right. I’ll be there. Send me the location.”
“Thanks. I’ll see you later.”

Dave pressed the end button, recalling the address from when he walked Klaus home from the bar, and texted it to Jack’s cell phone as he heard the shower shut off. The coffee pot beeped, and he filled two travel mugs up, adding creamer to Klaus’ only. When the seance was dressed, he wandered down the hall and wrapped his arms around the agent. “You’re still in your pajamas,” he laughed, pressing a kiss to his lips.
“I am,” he chuckled. “I suppose I should change, huh? I don’t think I should meet your family looking like I just got out of bed.”
“I think you look cute.”
“So do you.” He nudged him playfully. “Do you want to spend the night there?”
“I don’t know. Could we pack some things in case?”
“Of course, angel. If you want to leave at any point, we’ll go back home. Deal?”

Dave kissed Klaus’ forehead, and then headed for his bedroom where he changed into a pair of black jeans, a black collared shirt and his leather boots. He combed his hair, brushed his teeth and added a dash of cologne before packing hygiene products and a few pairs of his own clothing along with Klaus’ into a duffle bag. He rummaged around his end table drawer for a small camera and clipped it to his shirt as he switched it on. You want evidence? he thought. You’ll get it.

Chapter Text

He met Klaus outside and, after locking up the house, he put the duffle bag in the trunk and set the coffee mugs in the vehicle’s cup holders. Facing the seance, he asked, “Hey, sweetheart, would it be all right if I took some photos of the bruises on your arm and torso?”
“Yeah.” His breath caught. “I mean, I suppose...”
“I won’t do it if you don’t want me to.”
“I don’t mind, but what are you going to do with them?”
“I promise I won’t post them anywhere. It’s for evidence in case your father tries something.” 

He almost left the last part out, but he was finding it more difficult to keep things hidden from Klaus. Still, he hadn’t told him that he was an undercover agent, and he felt awful about it. The seance nodded and extended his arm as he pulled up his sleeve, revealing the bruise; it had healed well, but it was still visible enough that it would do. Dave took several photos on his cell phone from different angles, and then discreetly sent them to Jack along with a message informing him not to reply. A pang of guilt hit him, but he told himself that it was important for Klaus’ sake. 

The agent smiled at him. “Lift up your shirt for me?”
“Okay.” With shaking hands, he exposed his torso.
“Ouch...” Dave winced as he took more photos and sent them to Jack.
“Dave...” Klaus whimpered as memories of what Reginald had done to him resurfaced.
“Hm?” He glanced up, noting how stressed the seance appeared, and immediately pocketed his phone to pull him in for a hug. “I’m sorry, my love. You did great. Are you sure you want to go to the mansion?”
“Yes, I miss my brothers and sisters. Oh, one more thing ... Dad calls me Number Four.”
“It's how he ranks us, I guess. He had mom give us names.”
“He sounds wonderful, Klaus.”
“Greatest dad ever,” he chuckled. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

The pair settled into the vehicle simultaneously and, as Dave cranked up the engine, he gently held Klaus’ hand and backed out of the driveway. He drove down the road toward the mansion and, as soon as they were met with the gates, he turned the car off. The seance’s breath hitched, and he tightened his grip on Dave’s hand. “I don’t know if I can do this,” he whispered brokenly.
“You don’t have to, sweetheart. Do you want to go home?”
“I want to see my family, but I’m afraid of him. He made me feel like I’m unworthy and weak...”
“You’re not worthless or weak. If anyone is, it’s Reginald. You’ve been so strong in all this.”
“I’m... I’m scared, Dave, but I need to try...”
“Let’s leave the bag in the car, huh? We’ll figure things out as we go along.”

They exited the vehicle and, as they made their way toward the mansion, Dave secured his arm around Klaus’ waist and pushed the gate open. Keeping the seance close to him, he headed inside the oversized house through the double doors. Before either of them had a chance to call out, Reginald’s menacing footsteps echoed throughout the house as he approached, and Klaus flinched. Instinctively, Dave pulled him closer and glared at Reginald, but he was ignored. Instead, he scowled at Klaus as Diego silently stepped into the hallway, leaning up against the door frame, eyeing the agent suspiciously.

Number Four,” Reginald snapped, “where have you been this time?”
“I - I was...” His voice broke as he met his father’s piercing stare.
“With him?” He gestured toward the agent. “Your new boyfriend?”
“How could you be so foolish? Don’t you know that he doesn’t care about you, Number Four? He’s only using you exactly as your last partner did. Once he’s through with you, he will discard you like the piece of garbage you are.”
“Dad,” he whimpered, sinking back against Dave. “He’s not -”

It took every ounce of Dave’s strength to avoid intervention, and he felt terrible about it, but he needed to document all of this. Fortunately, Diego, after shooting him another glare, butted into the conversation. “Don’t talk to him like that.”
“Stay out of this, Number Two. This is not your place. Number Four, come here.”
“Klaus,” Dave whispered, holding onto him.
“Dave, please, let me go,” he whimpered, tears dripping down his cheeks.
“I can’t...”
“Dave,” he pleaded.
“Okay...” He sighed, reluctantly pulling his hands away.
“It’s all right...”

Klaus sniffled, wiping his tears away as he approached his father hesitantly. Dave adjusted the small camera that was clipped to his shirt to ensure he’d get a good video, drumming his fingers against his thigh. As his anxiety flew through the roof, he willed himself to stand still and sent a quick text to Jack, telling him to be ready. While Diego fidgeted with one of his sheathed knives, he occasionally shot hostile and questioning glances toward the agent, wary of his presence; trust was not easy for him. Reginald towered over the seance, glaring at him as he harshly gripped his left arm, twisting it until he was on his knees. The agent tensed and clutched his pant leg while Diego removed a knife and took a step forward as Klaus was struck across the face so hard that he fell to the floor. Before Dave realized that he’d picked up his feet, he had Reginald pinned to the wall and handcuffed. He sent another text to Jack and glanced at Klaus, wanting nothing more than to console him.

Reginald scowled at the agent. “Who are you?” he demanded. “Some kind of undercover cop?”
“It doesn’t matter who I am to you,” Dave snapped.
“I bet he’s told you that he thinks I’m horrible.”
“I don’t need him to tell me anything after what I just witnessed. Now, move.”
“What do you even see in him? He isn’t worthy of your time or of your love.”
“Shut the hell up and move.” He shoved Reginald toward the door and escorted him outside.
“He’s weak, a coward, and you'll regret being with him.”
“Stop talking. All of this is going to be used against you.”
“You have no proof,” he laughed.
“Yes, I do. Now, hush.”

Diego knelt down beside his brother. “Klaus?”
“Go away, Diego...” His voice cracked.
“You’re not getting rid of me that easily, brother. Look at me, please?”
“Just leave me alone...”
“Klaus, let me see.”
“Why do you care?” he snapped, immediately regretting it.
“You’re serious? Klaus, I was there for you after you were...” He didn’t finish the statement.
“I know.” He broke down, meeting his gaze. “I’m sorry...”
“It’s all right.” He winced when he saw the dark purple bruise beneath Klaus’ right eye.
“It hurts.”
“How long has he been doing this to you?”
“Long enough. I was too scared to say anything.”
“I’m your brother, Klaus. You can tell me anything, okay?”
“Who’s the guy?”
“His name is Dave.”
“Where’d you meet him?”
“The bar.”
“He seems all right. Is he treating you well?”
“Yeah, he’s really sweet.”
“Good. After everything you’ve endured, you deserve someone special in your life.”
“Thanks, Diego. Before I met him, I never really was a love at first sight kind of guy, but with him, it was different. He just ... I don’t know how to explain it, but I trusted him from the moment I laid eyes on him.”
“Did you kiss him yet?” he questioned with a smirk, hoping to provide a distraction.
“Maybe a few times...”
“I bet Ben loved that,” he chuckled.

Chapter Text

In the courtyard, Dave spotted the other agent’s car and pushed Reginald toward it, unable to contain his frustration. “Jack.”
“Hey.” He met him at the hood of the car, picking up on his mood instantly. “You okay?”
“Get him out of my sight,” he replied harshly, turning the camera off, “and I’ll explain everything.”
“Sure.” Jack secured Reginald in his car and closed the door. “I’m listening.”
“Did you get the photos?”
“Good.” Dave was trembling from the adrenaline, and his voice was unsteady. “I have video evidence now. He hit him, Jack, right in front of me.”
“Breathe, Dave. You’re all right. I’m going to need that footage before I can do anything.”
“This wasn’t even my assignment.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I was told to uncover some secrets about the Hargreeves, but it got complex.”
“Because of him?” He pointed toward Reginald.
“No, not Reginald. I fell in love with Klaus. I got too close, and I couldn’t let his dad hurt him anymore. He locked him in a mausoleum when he was just a kid for Christ’s sake!”
“What?” Jack glanced at Reginald. “Are you serious? Who does that?”
“I don’t know what to do...”
Jack sighed. “Does Klaus know that you’re an agent?”
“Not yet. I haven’t told him, but I’m going to have to now. Tim knows that he’s been staying at the safe house with me, and he wasn’t too happy about it. There’s a possibility that he thinks he’s dangerous, but he can’t be. When I first met him in that bar, he was so broken.”
“Listen, Dave. I’ll handle everything, okay? I’ll take this guy down to the police station and show the officers the photos and videos. I won’t say anything to king boss yet, but you know as soon as Reginald’s booked, he’s going to find out.”
“I know.” He removed the camera from his shirt and handed it to him.
“Get back in that beast of a house. I’ll take care of everything. We’ll figure this out.”
“Thanks, Jack, I owe you.”
“No problem, man.”
“See you later.”

Jack drove off while Dave attempted to steady his nerves as he headed back toward the mansion. He pushed the gates open followed by the door and, upon stepping inside, rounded the corner. Diego and a woman ... the Hargreeves mother, perhaps? ... were doing what they could to comfort Klaus. Number Two looked up and gently nudged his brother who turned his head, meeting the agent’s soft gaze. He smiled, sinking into Dave’s arms once they wrapped around him as Diego watched him apprehensively. “Could we have some privacy please, mom?”
“Of course, dear.” She nodded and left the room.

The agent brushed the curls out of Klaus’ face. “Hey, sweetheart, look at me?”
“It stings...” He winced as he met his gaze and squeezed his hand.
“I’m sorry, love...”
“It’s not your fault.” He glanced at Diego briefly. “Could we please go upstairs?”
“Of course.” He carded his fingers through his hair. “We’ll go wherever you feel safe.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too,” he whispered as he stood, securing his arm around the seance’s waist.

Diego sighed quietly. “Dave, it seems that my brother is quite smitten with you, but I’d like to make a not so subtle threat. I have the ability to control where my knives go when I throw them, and if you do anything to hurt him, you’ll be lucky to see a new day.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, but I can assure you that I wouldn’t even dream of harming him.”
“Take care of him.”
“You have my word.”
“If you two are planning on sticking around, mom’s a killer cook.”
“I’ll talk to him about it later after he’s had some rest.”
“Fair enough.”

As Diego retreated, Dave carefully scooped Klaus into his arms and carried him upstairs. Once he found his bedroom, he nudged the door open and stepped inside, using his heel to close it. He gently placed the seance on the bed, removed his own shirt and stretched out beside him. Klaus placed his head on Dave’s chest, intertwining their legs, and opened his eyes, spotting a gold chain with a bullet dangling from it. How had he missed it before?

“Dave?” He carefully picked up the chain. “What’s this?”
“That, my love, has a story behind it.” He exhaled a shaky breath.
“You okay? You don’t have to talk about it if it makes you uncomfortable.”
“It’s not that. I haven’t been entirely truthful with you...” He bit his lip.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m an undercover agent, and I was sent to investigate you and your siblings to try to uncover some secrets. My boss has heard of you, and he wanted me to get closer. I’m sorry, angel. I should’ve told you sooner, but I didn’t expect...”
“To still be here?” He grabbed Dave’s hand. 
“That, and to fall in love with you.” Guilt flooded his veins for not being more open with him.    
“I trusted you...”
“I know, love. I can’t begin to tell you how terrible I feel for keeping this from you. Do you still want me?”

The question caught Klaus off guard, and he lifted his head to search Dave’s eyes, his gaze softening. He brushed his cheek with his thumb. “Of course I do, sweetheart. Do you remember when I told you that I’ll always want you?”
“Yeah, I do. It doesn’t change how awful I feel for not being open with you though.”
“Love, it’s okay. I’m not angry with you. I was only upset that you didn’t tell me earlier on. While we’re confessing, could I share something with you?”
“Of course, angel.”
“I saw the way you handled my dad after he hit me. It ... it was ... pretty sexy,” he blurted out.
“Is that so?” the agent stifled a laugh, raising a brow.

In response, Klaus straddled Dave’s lap and trailed his lips along his neck, humming against his skin; the agent’s breath hitched, and he whispered his name as he shivered. The seance chuckled as he peppered his chest and abdomen with kisses, exploring his toned body. Clutching the bed sheets, Dave arched his back at the sensation, and, as a quiet moan escaped, he blushed; this kind of attention was new to him, and it felt good, but he wanted to take things slower with Klaus.

“Angel?” he managed to breathe out.
“Could we slow down a little?”
“You don’t like this?” He searched his eyes.
“No. I mean, I do, but I don’t want to rush into something as intimate as sex. I’ve, uh, also never slept with anyone,” he admitted, “and I’d like to be prepared to make our first time together comfortable. Especially since you we-”
“Shh.” Klaus gently placed a finger to the agent’s lips and softly spoke. “Sweetheart, how was I the one fortunate enough to meet you?”
“Right place, right time work for you?”
“Mhm,” he sighed as he leaned down to kiss his lips. “I love you.”
“And I love you.”
“Could we make out...?”
“Hm, I think I can manage that.”

Klaus laughed quietly as he slipped his arms underneath Dave’s to pull him flush up against his body into a sitting position. He kissed his lips passionately while his fingers danced along his back. The agent rested his hands gently on his hips, holding him in place, as he intensified the kisses, shivering as his skin was caressed. He sighed out his name in between kisses as he carefully lowered his lover onto his back and slipped his tongue into his mouth. The seance let out a soft moan and wrapped his legs loosely around his waist, pulling him closer. He blushed, feeling him, and mumbled incoherently into the kisses while sliding his hands up to rest on the back of his neck. Dave hummed contentedly as the door unexpectedly opened and Grace stepped into the bedroom.

Chapter Text

“Mom!” Klaus exclaimed as he unwrapped his legs.
“Miss Hargreeves,” Dave stammered, pushing himself off of Klaus, and fumbled for the covers.
“Hello, you two.” She smiled warmly and set a tray on her son’s bedside table. “How are you feeling, Klaus?”
“I’m okay,” he whispered, resembling a deer in headlights. “A lot better actually.”
“Good.” She gestured toward the tray. “I brought pain medication if you need it, and there’s some tea and sandwiches for both of you if you’re hungry.”
“Thanks, mom.”
“Of course, dear.” She brushed the curls from his face. “Get some rest.”
“Would you mind knocking next time?”
“Not at all.”

As soon as she had left the room and closed the door, Dave was in the midst of processing what had just occurred. “Angel?”
“Hm?” Klaus rested his head on his chest and took hold of his hand.
“Why didn’t your mother react to what she walked in on?”
“Oh,” he chuckled, “she’s a cyborg. Reggie built her when my sibs and I were kids, and, truthfully, she’s the best thing he’s ever done for us. He programmed her to cook, clean, provide basic and complex medical treatment, and, well, be our mother. Thank Christ he didn’t program her to recognize when her kids were getting steamy in the bedroom.”
“Yeah...” Dave blushed. “That would’ve been more awkward. I’d be known as the guy who looked like he was trying to get into her son’s pants on his first visit to her home.”
With a laugh, he asked, “Sweetheart?” as he glanced at the necklace.
“Yes?” He ran his fingers along his spine.
“Would you mind telling me the story behind this bullet?”
“Of course not, my love.”

Dave pressed a kiss to Klaus’ forehead. “This bullet is the very one that I was shot by while I was on a mission a few years ago. I was with my colleague, and we were in the process of stopping a major heist when things went south. It was a close range shot, and the bullet penetrated my left side, traveling through my ribs which slowed it down. It lodged itself in my chest, and I had to be airlifted to the hospital and put under emergency surgery.”
“Were you afraid...?” Klaus squeezed the agent’s hand.
“I remember the pain and not being able to breathe well.” He took comfort in having the seance curled up against him. “When I woke up, I was told that I had suffered a collapsed lung, two broken ribs and that I’d lost enough blood to need a transfusion. I was in the hospital for a week, and then I stayed with my parents until my ribs healed completely, but it wasn’t ideal...”Klaus tilted his head. “What do you mean, love?”
“Let’s just say that my dad wouldn’t approve of my romantic partner. He made the six weeks it took for me to recover a living hell.”
“I’m sorry, sweetheart.”
“It’s not your fault.” He smiled softly. “My dad and I were never exactly close to begin with, but finding out about my sexual orientation pushed him further away. He never abused me, but there were times, during my recovery, that I felt threatened by him. It was no secret that he didn’t want me there. I almost left on several occasions, but my mother wanted me to stay at least until my ribs were healed. She worries about me constantly, bless her.”
“I’m glad you’ve got your mom to support you.”
“Yeah, she’s great and has always been there for me. I’d be happy to introduce you to her sometime. She would love you.”
“I’d like that. Sounds like our dads could be great friends if they knew each other.”
“Without a doubt.” He yawned. “Want to take a nap?”

He turned on his side to face Klaus and gently placed his left hand over his rib cage as they closed their eyes, more exhausted from the earlier ordeal than they realized. They fell asleep at nearly the same time, but the agent woke sometime later to his cell phone ringing. Searching his pocket for it, he removed it and sleepily mumbled, “Hello?”
“Sorry for waking you, Katz.” Tim’s voice was harsh, and he didn’t sound sorry at all. “What the hell were you thinking? My instructions were clear. Investigate Klaus and his siblings. I said nothing about arresting his father.”
“Sir, can we talk about this later?”
“No, we’re doing this now.”
“Give me a moment.”

Dave slipped out of bed and closed himself in the adjoining bathroom. “I’m well aware that Reginald wasn’t my assignment, but I have footage of him striking Klaus.”
“You need to stay focused,” he snapped. “Reginald has no priors. I pulled his records.”
“He can’t have priors if no one’s bothered to report him, and you know that. Klaus is terrified of that man, Tim.” He couldn’t contain his anger anymore.
“Meet me tomorrow morning at eight AM sharp. Bring Klaus with you.”
“I would like to speak to him. We’ll meet at a cafe to keep things neutral. It’s pretty isolated, but it’s a good spot. I’ll text you the address.”
“Fine. We’ll be there.”
“See you then.” 

Exasperated, he disconnected the call and slumped up against the wall, burying his face in his hands. He trembled as his pent up frustration with his manager released and flinched when the bathroom door slowly opened. Klaus knelt down beside him, embracing him gently, and cradled his head against his chest. “Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” he whispered.
“My boss wants to see us tomorrow.” He leaned into the seance, refusing to look up.
“Did he say why?”
“He’s mad that I arrested your dad because he’s got no priors. I told him I have evidence that he’s been abusing you, but he just ... it’s like he doesn’t care about anything but my assignment. He thinks you’re dangerous, Klaus...” His voice was breaking, and he couldn’t contain the tears anymore. “But there’s no way...”
“My love,” he whispered as he pressed soft kisses to his face, “everything will be okay. We’ll meet your boss and show him that I’m safe. That dad deserved to be arrested. Come back to bed.”
“Yeah ... I hope he’ll behave...”

Klaus eased Dave to his feet and brushed his tears away with his thumb before guiding him toward the bed. It was dark, and he assumed that Grace had already made dinner, but the only thing that mattered to him currently was the agent. He’d also realized that their overnight bag was still in the trunk, but he’d get it later after his lover had calmed down. Together, they curled up in bed, staying as close to each other as possible. Klaus carded his fingers through his hair and pressed a kiss to his forehead before wrapping him protectively in his arms. “Rest, sweetheart. I’ve got you.”
“I love you,” he whispered brokenly, nuzzling into him.
“I love you, too, and I always will.”

When he was sure that he had fallen asleep, Klaus carefully plucked Dave’s keys from his belt and his phone and sent Diego a text message, hoping the agent wouldn’t mind. Moments later, Number Two appeared in the doorway and glanced at the bed, gesturing toward Dave. “Is he sleeping?”
“Yeah,” Klaus whispered. “Would you mind getting our overnight bag out of his car?”
“Not at all.” He accepted Dave’s keys. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m okay. Better now that Reggie’s gone.”
“I’m sorry he was treating you like that, brother.”
“It’s not your fault, but thanks for standing up for me earlier.”
“No problem. Mom made dinner. If you’re hungry, I’ll bring you a plate.”
“I am, but I don’t want to wake him up. We’ll probably eat after he’s rested.”
“Okay, I’ll be right back with the bag.”
“Thanks, Diego.”
“Sure. Need anything else while I’m downstairs?”
“No, we’re all right.”
“See you shortly.”

Chapter Text

Diego wordlessly headed downstairs and quietly let himself out, found the agent’s car parked nearby the courtyard and popped open the trunk. He grabbed the duffle bag, closed and locked the vehicle, and then slipped back inside; he ascended upstairs and stepped inside Klaus’ room, silently setting the bag down by the door with the keys atop it. When he wasn’t acknowledged, he knew that his brother had fallen asleep as well, so he closed the door and retreated to his own room. The following morning, Dave woke to the sunlight streaming through the icy window; he nuzzled into Klaus, kissing him softly, and pulled the covers up to their shoulders. 

“Too early,” the seance mumbled.
“And too cold,” the agent laughed, snuggling closer. “I’d like to stay in bed longer, but we have to meet my boss...”
“That’s unfortunate.” He burrowed deeper into the blankets. “You’re cozy.”
“Mm, am I?”
“Mhm.” He peppered his face with kisses. “I love you.”
“And I love you.” He brushed the curls out of his face and glanced at the clock. “We need to get ready, angel.”
“Okay.” He reluctantly got out of bed and paused to ask, “Do you want to use the bathroom first?”
“You go ahead, darling. I can wait.”

Klaus nodded and grabbed something warm to wear before closing himself in the bathroom. He took a quick shower, dried off and dressed, brushed his teeth and combed his hair before exiting the bathroom. “All yours, love.”
“You…” His breath hitched. “You look great.”
“Stop making me blush,” he chuckled.
“Not a chance.” Dave nudged him as he dug through the duffle bag until he found something suitable to wear. “You’re too cute.”
Daaave,” he mumbled, hiding his face, “stop.”
“I love you,” he laughed as he kissed his forehead and slipped into the bathroom.

After he’d finished his morning routine, Dave dressed himself and opened the door, spotting Klaus stretched out on the bed. “Ready, angel?”
“As ready as I can be to face the cold and your boss.”
“I’ll keep you warm.” He glanced at his phone. “Tim texted me the address last night, and it’ll take about twenty minutes to get there. We’ll be right on time.”
“Sounds fabulous, sweetheart.”
“I hope things won’t go south...”
“It’ll be okay. We’ve got this.”
“You think so?”
“I know so.”

He wrapped an arm around Klaus, grabbed his keys, pocketed his phone, and then descended down the steps. The house was quiet; no one was awake yet, enabling a quick escape, but they both regretted it. The frigid wind bit at their exposed hands and faces, and they quickly closed themselves inside the vehicle. The agent wasted no time cranking up the engine to warm up the car faster and navigated toward the coffee shop. As soon as he arrived, he parked next to Tim’s car, shuddering as he cut the engine and studied the small building among its surroundings. It was old and weathered and didn’t seem to be in the best part of town, but there wasn’t a single soul around. With some reluctance, he and Klaus exited the vehicle and hastily entered the building to escape the cold. Tim, the only customer inside the cafe, was seated at a table nearby the window towards the back; three coffees were in front of him. 

“Good morning, Katz,” he greeted as he was approached. “Hello, Klaus. Nice to meet you.”
“Hi.” His voice was too quiet, and he made a point to sit as close to Dave as possible; he suddenly felt uneasy. “Uh, thanks ... you, too.”
“I took the liberty of ordering you both coffee.” He watched the seance. “Klaus, may I ask you some questions?”
“Slow down, Tim,” Dave cut in, a stern look on his face. “Give him some time.”
“You went against protocol, and you’re telling me - your manager - to slow down?”
“Go easy on him,” he snapped as he placed his arm around Klaus’ shoulders. “He’s been through enough.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” 

Tim focused on Klaus. “Is it true that your adoptive father has previously abused you?”
“Y - yes,” he stammered, avoiding eye contact.
“I went through the photos, but I’m not convinced those came from your father.”
“What photos?”
“Oh, Dave didn’t tell you? He sent them to his colleague who, in turn, brought them to me.”
“You sent them to someone?”
“I’m sorry. I should’ve told you, Klaus, but I didn’t know if you’d want me to. I needed to do it so I could arrest your father.”
“Oh,” he said quietly. “I wouldn’t have objected.”
“Focus, you two,” Tim butted in, raising a brow. “Save your lover’s quarrel for somewhere else.”

Klaus sank against Dave’s side as he met Tim’s harsh gaze. “What do you want with me?”
“Siblings fight, Klaus,” he replied, “and those bruises could’ve come from them. I’m well aware how many you’ve got. Your father is a billionaire, so your family isn’t completely off the radar. There have been rumors that you and your siblings were born with strange powers under unusual circumstances, and since Dave can’t stay focused, I’ve done my own research.”
“My siblings and I don’t fight like that... We’d never hit each other.”
“I’d say I don’t believe you, but I received recent video footage of Reginald striking you.”
Klaus shivered. “There’s your proof then.”

Dave glanced at him and squeezed his shoulder. “I’m right here, love. You’re doing great.”
“Is it true that your father locked you in a mausoleum when you were thirteen?” Tim pried.
“Yes.” The word barely came out as a whisper, and he could feel tears threatening to spill. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore...”
“We’re not finished yet.”
“Tim.” Dave glared. “Be patient with him.”
“No.” He shook his head. “Not until I have what I need.”
“You’re ridiculous!” Dave brought his fist down on the table, causing Klaus to wince. “He’s not dangerous! If he was, I highly doubt I’d be sitting here with you right now. We’re done. I’m taking him home.”
“Home? To the safe house, you mean?” he laughed. “Has he moved in with you?”

Dave ignored him as he stood up, keeping his arm around Klaus. “Come on, angel. I’ve got you.”
Tim left cash on the table to cover the drinks and followed them outside. “Dave, hold on for a minute.” His voice had softened. “Let’s talk.”
“Dave, stop.” He leaned against his own vehicle. “Fine, I’m sorry.”
“What do you want?” Dave secured both arms around Klaus and turned toward Tim.
“You’re right. Reginald had no right to harm him.”
“Why the sudden change in attitude?”
“I can’t reason with you?”

Before Dave could respond, a rugged fellow cloaked in dark, concealing clothing emerged from behind the cafe and pointed his gun at him. Klaus leaned back into the agent as he felt his grip tighten around his waist. Tim turned, meeting the gunman’s gaze, and audibly gasped, taking a step backwards. “Take it easy, man.” Dave spoke softly, keeping his voice calm.
“Wallet. Quickly.” He moved closer, loading the gun.
“Okay.” What a time to forget my gun. “I’m just going to reach for it. I promise.”
“Don’t do anything shady,” he growled, pointing the weapon at the agent’s head.
“I promise I’m only getting my wallet. I can assure you I’m unarmed.”
“A wise choice.” 

As he reached for his wallet, Dave glanced at Tim briefly, wondering why he seemed to be frozen in fear. He’d been on missions with his employees in the past that were much more dangerous than a situation like this. It raised his suspicions, but he wasn’t in a position to comment on it; he didn’t want to risk angering the gunman and causing someone to become injured or killed.

Chapter Text

Klaus trembled and clenched his fists as his breathing escalated; he could feel his brother Ben’s presence, and he fought with all of his strength to contain it, but he didn’t have complete control of his ability. He’d been able to conjure the dead in the past on two occasions when his siblings were in immediate danger. His hands began to glow blue, and, as his brother’s ghost stepped forward, he knew that the gunman was doomed. Dave and Tim exchanged horrified looks as the assailant’s face turned pale white moments before he was ripped to shreds by Ben’s ghost. Blood spattered the three of them as a stream of it flowed down the sidewalk and into the street. As soon as Ben disappeared, Klaus collapsed to the ground and scooted away from Dave, Tim and the corpse until his back touched the building. In a state of shock, the agent willed himself to tend to Klaus who flinched and shrank away as soon as he was approached.

The agent’s heart broke at his reaction. “Angel,” he softly spoke.
“Dave,” he whimpered as his breathing came in short bursts and tears streamed down his face.
“Oh, love...”
“I want to go home,” he choked out as he gripped Dave’s shirt, hiding his face against his chest.
“All right, I’ll take you home.” He embraced him gently and rubbed his back.
“I don’t know how to control it...” He trembled and sobbed as exhaustion took hold.
“Shh, breathe, angel. I’m right here.”

Tim finally managed to pick up his feet and approach the pair. “Katz, I’m afraid that someone with that kind of power cannot be among the general public.”
“He’s not dangerous.” Dave avoided looking at him. “Leave him alone.”
“Not dangerous? Are you joking? He summoned an otherworldly being and destroyed that man.”
“That man,” the agent snapped, “was going to rob me and possibly kill me - maybe even all of us - once he got what he wanted. I’m taking Klaus home.”
“You’re not taking him anywhere. He needs to be locked up for the safety of others.”

Locked up. 

At the words, Klaus’ tears flowed heavier, and he clutched Dave’s shirt so tightly that his knuckles turned white. “Please don’t let him take me away,” he said brokenly as memories from the mausoleum threatened to resurface. “I’ve got you, love. We’re going home.”
“Katz, do not ignore me.” Tim stepped closer. “That kind of power is too much, and I did hear him say that he doesn’t know how to control it. What if he uses it on you? You’re foolish for hanging around him.”
“I’m taking him home to let him relax. We, as in he and I, are going to sort this out together. Get back.”
“Katz, you are n-”

Dave reluctantly, although harshly, pulled away from Klaus and got in Tim’s face. “If you so much as think about harming him,” he hissed, “it’ll be the last thing you do. You don’t give a damn about him. For Christ’s sake, he’s in the midst of a panic attack, and all you care about is the mission and investigating him and his siblings. His safety and well being is important, too.”
“Do you realize that you just threatened your boss?”
“I’m well aware.”
“I could fire you for that.”
“Then fire me.”
“Dave, he killed a man...”
“A man who was threatening me. I am taking him home.” He gestured toward the body. “Good luck figuring out a cover story for this one, boss.”

He opened the passenger door before kneeling in front of Klaus. “Angel, are you ready to go back home?”
“Please,” he stammered, reaching for him.
“Come on.” He offered a small smile, eased him to his feet, and then led him to the car.
“I’m scared, love...” He settled into the vehicle.
“It’s going to be all right. We’ll figure everything out. For now, let’s just get home and relax, hm?”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

Dave held Klaus’ hand as he drove toward the mansion, occasionally glancing in his direction; he observed that he appeared pale. “Are you okay?”
Klaus met his gaze. “I think I’m going to be sick...”
“Oh, sweetheart,” he murmured as he quickly pulled off the road. 

As soon as the car was stopped, Klaus stumbled out and expelled every ounce of the contents of his stomach while Dave rubbed his back until he was finished, and then helped him to his feet. The seance wiped his mouth, and neither of them wasted any time getting back into the warm vehicle and resuming the drive. Once they pulled up to the monstrous house, the engine was cut, and they both braved the chilly air and entered through the gates to be greeted by Diego. Taking in his brother’s appearance, noting how sickly he looked as well as the blood staining his clothing, he glared at the agent and fidgeted with a knife on his belt. Raising a brow, he watched Number Two with caution, tightening his grip on Klaus, surprised that he could even think he had anything to do with this.

“Where the hell were you two, and what happened to him?” Diego snapped.
“My boss arranged for us to meet him at an isolated cafe, and things went south.”
“What does that mean?”
“Diego, stop...” Klaus weakly managed to say as he relied on Dave for support.
“It means that someone tried to mug me, but, uh, Klaus ... he, well, he...”
“I witnessed him summon a ghost with tentacles and rip the guy to shreds,” he blurted.
“That’s Ben, our brother. He hangs out with Klaus all the time.”
“Really?” Dave blushed as he recalled their make out session. “Good to know.”
“Sure is.” Diego smirked knowingly.
“If there’s anything else to talk about, mind if we resume later? He’s not feeling well.”
“Not at all.” He stepped aside to let them pass.

Dave gingerly lifted Klaus, cradling him close to his chest, and carried him up the stairs. “You doing okay, angel?” He knew the question was silly, but he was asking for peace of mind.
“Not really,” he whispered, clinging to him. “I feel weak.”
“Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’m going to take care of you.”
“Definitely.” He nudged the seance’s bedroom door open. “All the cuddles.”
“Where would I be without you?”
“You’ll never have to worry about that, my love.”
He transported him into the bathroom and carefully set him down, keeping an arm around him for added support. “Would you like it if I ran you a hot bath?”
“Yes,” he managed to say, clutching his hand. “Will you stay with me?”
“If you feel comfortable with that.” His breath hitched. “I’ll give you privacy while you undress.”
“Stand right outside the door … please?”
“Okay, angel.” He filled the tub up and pressed a light kiss to his lips.
“Thank you. I’ll let you know when it’s all right to come back in.”

He excused himself and, as promised, remained just outside the bathroom, returning when he received authorization to. With reluctance, he sat on the edge of the bathtub, avoiding looking in Klaus’ direction as he blushed. The seance felt self conscious despite being submerged and risked a glance at the agent, noting the redness in his cheeks. He hesitated as he threaded his fingers through Dave’s, craving a comforting touch; they met each other’s gaze and smiled softly. The blood that had previously stained Klaus’ hands had washed away, but there were still droplets on his face, and the agent reached for a cloth.

Chapter Text

“Angel, would it be okay if I helped you clean up?” He felt the heat rise up in his cheeks.
“S - sure.” His voice shook, and he thought it was mainly from his previous ordeal.
“I won’t. I mean, only if you want me to. Sorry, it’s ... there’s a bit of blood on your face. I should
have clarified...”
“It’s okay. I don’t mind if you don’t.”
“A little nervous, but I’d like to help you.”
“I’m nervous, too. I, um, I want to be more open with you regarding things like this so we can be there for each other if life decides to wrong us...”
“You’re a sweetheart, and I think that sounds like a great idea.”

Klaus smiled as Dave wet the cloth and carefully dabbed his face, being sure to remove all traces of the blood. “Are you feeling better?”
“A bit.” He trembled and squeezed the agent’s hand. “I’m afraid of your boss, and... I’ve killed before to protect my siblings... but taking his life wasn’t easy. I - I just wish I knew how to control my powers...”
“Don’t worry, angel. I’m not going to let my boss anywhere near you. As for your powers, we’ll figure them out together.”
“I was worried that you’d leave me after seeing what I can do.” His voice cracked. “I still am...”
“My love, I promised you that I’m yours for as long as you want me. Remember?”
“I do, and then I said that I’ll always want you.”
“I’ll always be here. I love you.”
“I love you, too.” The water had cooled significantly, and he shivered.
“You ready for bed, angel?” Dave chuckled, giving his hand a squeeze.
“Yeah. Could I, um, wear something of yours?”
“Of course. I’ll be right back. Start drying off if you’d like.”
“Thank you, love.”
“Anytime, Klaus.”

Dave excused himself from the bathroom and rummaged through the bag until he found Klaus’ boxers among a pair of his own fleece pants and a thin t-shirt. He tapped on the door. “May I come in?”
“Yeah, I’ve got the towel around my waist.”
“Okay.” He pushed the door open and set the clothes down on the sink.
“Hey.” He smiled and reached for his hand.
“Hey, yourself.” He gestured toward the clothes. “I hope these will do.”
“They’re perfect, sweetheart.”
“I’ll give you privacy to change.”
“Wait...” He didn’t let go of his hand. “You can stay, but could you please face away from me?”
“Yeah, of course.”

He pushed the door closed and faced the wall while Klaus let the towel fall to the floor and dressed into the pajamas. He then wordlessly wrapped his arms around the agent and kissed his cheek before opening the bathroom door. Together, they curled up in bed, and Dave pressed soft kisses to Klaus’ face until he was certain he’d fallen asleep. Soon after, he followed suit, keeping the seance nestled against his chest, but their restful slumber was short lived. Sweat beaded along Klaus’ forehead and soaked through his shirt as he relived the previous incident that had occurred at the cafe.

It was a trick. You took an innocent man’s life. He heard the whispered words replay in his mind, and the voice they belonged to sounded familiar. He shivered when the tone grew harsher and the gunman appeared as he had died, demanding why he’d been killed. He looked horrific as he screamed at Klaus, berating him for what he’d done. 

The seance bolted upright, flinging the covers from his body, as a bloodcurdling scream ripped from his throat, echoing throughout the bedroom. In his fear and confusion, he fell out of bed and pushed himself up against the wall as the terrifying images faded from sight. Tears streamed down his face, and he felt as if the walls were closing in on him. He pulled his knees up to his chest and attempted to make himself as small as possible, wishing he could disappear; he shivered and struggled to regain control of his breathing. Jarred awake, Dave stumbled out of bed and knelt down on the floor in front of Klaus as Diego shoved the bedroom door open, knife out. When he noticed what was happening, he lowered the blade and stopped to observe silently.

“Angel, can you hear me?” Dave kept his voice calm and quiet, but received no response, so he tried again. “Follow my voice, love. Hear my words. You’re safe in your bedroom with me. No one here will hurt you.”
“Innocent,” he choked out.
“Sweetheart?” Dave was confused at the statement, but he left it alone. “You’re safe. I promise. Can you hear me? It’s Dave. Dave .”
“Dave...” He forced himself to meet his gaze and shattered.
“Klaus,” the agent whispered, shedding a few tears as he cradled him against his chest. “I’m here.”

Dave wished he could take away all of the pain and trauma that the seance had endured throughout his life, frustrated that it wasn’t possible. Instead, he held onto him, whispering sweet nothings in his ear while he cried until he couldn’t anymore. The agent’s heart broke for him, and he sighed audibly as he carded his fingers through his hair. He silently cursed Tim for his lack of compassion and found himself wondering once again if he had something to do with the gunman’s appearance. He wanted answers, but now was not the right time as Klaus was all that mattered. Diego silently left the room and closed the door.

“He was innocent, Dave...” he whimpered, clinging to him.
“What are you talking about, baby?” He regretted asking the question instantly.
“The man I killed,” he stammered as his tears began falling again. “He came to me in my nightmare, told me it was a trick...”
“Like it was staged?”
“I - I don’t know...” His breathing escalated again. “I’m scared, Dave...”
“I promised you that I would protect you, okay? I’m not going to let anyone hurt you, and I’ll do my best to keep your nightmares away.”
“Could we go back to your house?”
“Of course, angel. I’ll get our stuff together. We’ll figure things out.”
“Okay. I’m going to change.” 

Klaus glanced down at the sweat-soaked shirt as he slowly got to his feet with Dave’s assistance. Reluctantly, he slipped into the bathroom with a clean pair of clothes and left the door ajar while he changed. When he opened the door, the agent was nearly done adding things they’d brought to the bag. He looked up and smiled as he zipped the bag up and lifted it as the seance wrapped his arms around him. “I love you,” he murmured as he kissed him.
“You do?” Dave chuckled, hoping to lighten his mood.
“Yes, you idiot,” he laughed.
“I love you, too.” He playfully nudged him. “Ready to go?”
“Sure am.”

The seance pressed another kiss to his lips and threaded his fingers through the agent’s as they exited the bedroom. Diego, who had been leaning up against the adjacent wall, cleared his throat as Dave jumped and Klaus exclaimed, “Christ on a cracker! Diego?”
“Afternoon, brother. You okay? I heard you scream.”
“Oh. Yeah, I’m all right.”
“Are you two heading out?”
“Yeah,” Dave answered. “We’re going back to the safe house.”
“Safe house?”
“Temporary living arrangement provided by my boss, but we may have to figure something else out now...”
“Mansion is always open, but I understand it may be too hard for my brother to stay here.”
“We’ll keep that in mind, but I’ll probably book a hotel and go from there.”
“Right. Dave, I saw what you did for him after his nightmare. I won’t lie when I say that I thought you did something to hurt him, so I ran in with one of my knives,” he admitted. “Thanks for taking care of my brother. You’re okay in my book. Feel free to come visit anytime.”
“Thanks, Diego,” Klaus and Dave replied simultaneously.

Chapter Text

As Number Two retreated, Dave and Klaus headed downstairs and let themselves out of the mansion; they headed for the car and settled into the vehicle quickly to get out of the cold. Wasting no time, the agent set the bag in between them and drove back toward the safe house. “We still have a full box of pizza and wings, angel.”
“Fabulous!” He grinned as he took his hand. “Dave, I have something I’d like to ask you...”
“I’m all ears, love.”
“I - I, um, think I’m going to shower when we’re home, but...” He trailed off, blushing.
“What’s on your mind?” he hummed, squeezing his hand.
“Would you take a shower with me?” he blurted before he lost his courage. “If it’s too much to ask or too uncomfortable, you don’t have to. I’ve never showered with anyone, and I’m nervous to even bring this up...” he realized he was rambling “...but I ... sorry, I shouldn’t have asked ... it’s too fast...”
“Angel, it’s okay. I’m new at this, too, so we can be nervous together.”
“Is that a yes?”
“It is.”
“I just ... I don’t want to be alone.”

Dave kept his eyes on the road and quietly exhaled as his nerves kicked in. He, of course, wanted to be there for Klaus, but showering together was intimate ... and it meant that they’d see each other completely undressed. Granted, he had been given a choice - he didn’t have to, but he knew they didn’t have to be guarded around each other. The seance let out a shaky breath and tightened his grip on the agent’s hand. He had seen him without a shirt, and he had even been undressed in his presence, but this was different. This was something they’d be doing together; he was feeling self conscious, but he willed himself to focus on something else to ease his mind. Before he knew it, they were in the driveway.

As the agent cut the engine, he unbuckled his seat belt and glanced at Klaus. “Are you sure you want me to shower with you?”
“Yes. I mean, I think so...”
“I won’t if you’re too uncomfortable. It is pretty intimate.”
“Your voice matters, too. Are you uncomfortable about it?”
“A little,” he admitted sheepishly. “No one’s seen me naked before.”
“Two people have seen me naked, but the one before you...” He shivered.
“I know, love,” he softly said, “but you don’t have to be afraid of something like that happening to you again. If you’re having second thoughts about a shower together, I’d be happy to stay in the bathroom with you as I did earlier.”
“Could we try...?”
“Sure, angel. How about you get in first, and then I will? Does that sound okay?”

Klaus unclasped his seat belt, exited the vehicle along with Dave and headed right for the door as the cold wind bit at his face. The agent pulled him close, shielding him from the frosty air, while he unlocked the door. “Go ahead and get the shower ready, angel. I’ll join you in a moment. Just have to do a few things.”
“Okay.” He kissed his lips, relieved to be in the warm house. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

As the seance made his way toward the bathroom, Dave placed his keys on the hook, locked the front door and checked all the windows. He didn’t think Tim would bother them, but he did know where the safe house was, and that had him on edge. Pleased that they were all secure, he carried the duffle bag down the hall toward the bedroom and slowly nudged the door open. The bathroom door was ajar, and he heard the shower running, but he decided to give Klaus more time to relax. He went through the duffle bag and stuffed the dirty clothes in the hamper, and then glanced at all of the bags from their shopping trip the other day. Adding room to his dresser for Klaus’ clothes was next on his to do list, but that would need to be saved for later. For now, he found a makeshift place for the clean clothes from the bag, and then grabbed two pairs of warm pants, t-shirts, fuzzy socks and boxers. He got the fire going to warm up the bedroom for them before knocking on the bathroom door.

“Angel, are you in the shower?”
“I am,” came the reply.
“Is it still okay to come in?”
“All right.” He let out a shaky breath. “Coming in...”
“Okay, sweetheart.”

The agent pushed the door open cautiously as he tried to steady his shaking hands, blushing as he spotted Klaus’ clothes on the floor in the corner. With reluctance, he stripped down to his underwear and added them to the existing pile as his nerves began to get to him again. He convinced himself to remove the final layer and let them drop to the floor. “Angel?”
“I’m - I’ll join you now ... if you still want me to...”
“Please?” His voice shook slightly. “Do you want to?”
“Yes,” he whispered.
“Whenever you’re ready, love.”

Dave felt vulnerable, and he began to get cold feet as he attempted to tell himself that he could do this. He didn’t know exactly why he was so nervous, but he narrowed it down to being exposed in the presence of another person. Exhaling another shaking breath, he stepped into the shower and met Klaus’ gaze, smiling timidly. Unable to help himself, the seance briefly looked him up and down, blushing when he’d realized that his legs were just as toned as his upper body. The agent’s face reddened as he stared at the shower floor and drummed his fingers on his thigh, partly compelled to cover himself.

Klaus redirected his gaze and mumbled, “Sorry...”
Dave met his eyes. “It’s okay. I’m just nervous.”
“I am, too. Do you want to stay...?”
“I, uh, well...” He sighed. “I do, but I guess I’m feeling self conscious. We’re a couple, love, and things like this are bound to happen in every relationship eventually. I’m just trying to calm my nerves, but I don’t exactly know where to start...”
“I’m not sure where to start either, but washing each other’s hair might be a good place. If that’s okay.”
“We can do that, angel. Want me to go first or...?”

Dave reached for the shampoo bottle, flipped the top open, poured some into his hand and hesitantly began lathering Klaus’ hair with it. His movements were guarded at first, but he gradually gained more confidence and gently scrubbed his head until each curl was coated. “Lean your head back, angel, and close your eyes.”
“Mhm.” He took a small step back until he felt the warm water flow through his hair.
“Still okay?” Dave massaged his scalp to rinse the excess shampoo.
“Yes, it ... feels good.”
“It does?”

The agent rinsed his hair thoroughly, and then pressed a gentle kiss to his temple as he mumbled, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” He shivered, hoping Dave wouldn’t notice.
“You all right?” He took a step back.
“Yeah, sorry,” he muttered, turning to face him. “It’s not you. This is nice. Intimate.”
“I second that, angel.”
“Would you like me to wash your hair?”
“If you feel comfortable doing so.”
“I’m a bit timid about it, but I’ll give it a go.”

Klaus repeated the steps that were performed on him, careful to avoid getting any of the shampoo in the agent’s eyes. When he finished, he offered a smile, and they washed their own bodies to avoid pushing boundaries. Dave turned the water off and stepped out, extending his hand toward the seance, who reached for it as he exited the shower. They dried themselves off and dressed into the clothes that had been set out earlier before cuddling up in bed together.

Chapter Text

As he was embraced, Klaus threaded his fingers through Dave’s as he nuzzled his neck and intertwined their legs. He rested his head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat and the crackling fire. Dave caressed his back. “Feel better, angel?”
“Mhm. Thank you for being here with me ... for me.”
“I’ll always be here for you.”
“Promise?” He readjusted his position to meet his eyes.
“I promise,” he answered as he kissed his forehead, “to be here,” his nose, “for you,” and then his lips, “no matter what.”

Giggling, Klaus nudged him gently. “I’m glad your boss chose you to investigate me.”
“It’s not about investigating you anymore, my love. It’s about protecting you and your siblings and figuring out why my boss is being so self-centered.”
“You don’t think he’ll fire you, do you?”
“I doubt it. He knows I’m his best agent, but, if he does, it’s his loss. Rest, angel. I’ll be here.”
“You rest, too.”
“Yes, sir,” he chuckled, kissing his head.

The seance drifted off almost instantly while Dave rested beside him for a couple of hours, but sleep was avoiding him. Sighing, he carefully slipped out of bed and livened the fire back up before redirecting his attention to the clothes he’d bought for Klaus. He made room in his dresser for them, sent Tim a text message requesting that he respond as soon as possible, and then began filling the drawers. Fortunately, within minutes, his phone buzzed.

T: What do you want, Katz?
D: Did you set up the mugging today?
T: What makes you think I was responsible for that?
D: Because I’ve worked with you long enough to know that you wouldn’t freeze in fear. Because Klaus had a nightmare and said that the man he killed was innocent. Explain.
T: I’m your boss. I don’t need to explain anything.
D: Yes, you do. Did you arrange for this to happen? Answer me honestly.
T: Fine, Katz. I knew the man who was killed. The whole thing was staged.
D: Why did you do it?
T: To find out if Klaus is dangerous, and I got my answer.
D: What the hell is your problem? I already warned you to stay away from him. He’s not dangerous to me or to you or to any of his siblings or his mother. Think about the amount of power he used today. It was self defense. He could have used his powers on his father, but he didn’t, so he must have some sort of control over it. You’re not taking him away.
T: I’ll make you a deal. If you can prevent him from harming another human being, then I will not lock him up. One wrong move, and he’s done.
D: I accept, but you won’t have to worry about that happening. 

He turned his phone on do not disturb, pocketed it and finished adding the remainder of the clothes to it. When he was finished, he slumped up against the wall and sighed audibly as more thoughts raced through his mind only to be brought out of his trance when he’d heard the seance stirring. Taking a deep breath, he pushed himself to his feet and crawled into bed as he cradled Klaus against his chest. “I’m here, love.”
“Where’d you go?” he mumbled, voice heavy with sleep.
“I had a chat with Tim, and I put your clothes in my dresser.”
“Thank you. Is everything okay with work?”
“Yeah, angel, things are fine. I just had some questions for him regarding the earlier events.”
“What did he say?”
“You were right. He staged it.”
“I k - killed an innocent man...”
“No, sweetheart, it was Tim’s fault. Not yours. Okay?”
“I have to live with what I did. Why did he do it...?”
“My love,” Dave whispered as he carded his fingers through his hair, “please don’t blame yourself for what happened. It comes down to Tim being a jerk. You aren’t dangerous. You saved me.”
“But he wasn’t going to hurt you.”
“You and I had no way of knowing that.”
“Tim did...”

Dave sat up, keeping Klaus close to him, and gently urged him to meet his gaze. “Angel?”
“Hm?” Klaus tightened his grip on the agent as he looked at him.
“What occurred this morning was no one else’s fault but Tim’s. What he did was wrong, and you are not to blame. I understand it was a difficult decision to make, but you acted in self defense to protect me. To protect us . If anyone tries to say otherwise, I’ll defend you with everything I have.”
“I love you,” he whispered, voice cracking as more tears escaped, “so much.”
“I love you, too.” He kissed his tears away. “Everything will fall into place. What do you say we finish off that pizza and those wings and spend the rest of the day curled up in bed?”
“Stay here and get comfortable. I’ll be right back.” He leaned in to peck his lips.
“All right.”

He brushed the hair from Klaus’ face before slipping out of bed and heading for the kitchen; upon removing leftovers from the fridge, he put them on paper plates and popped them into the microwave. While it was warming up, he boiled milk until it developed a frothy texture, and then added cocoa powder and a dash of sugar. As soon as it was mixed in well, he turned the stove off, pushed the pan to the back burner, filled two mugs and removed the food from the microwave. Carefully, he set everything on a tray and carried it to the bedroom, smiling at Klaus.

“Hello, my angel.” The agent set the tray down on the nightstand. “I made us some hot chocolate.”
“You did?” Klaus sat up and took his hand.
“Yeah. Perfect night for it. It’s getting colder as the days pass.”
“Snuggling weather,” he mumbled as he kissed his cheek.
“Mhm.” He leaned into the kiss and handed him a plate.
“Do you think it will snow?” He began to eat, hungrier than he’d thought.
“I don’t know.” The agent took a bite of a wing. “I’m surprised it hasn’t yet. Do you like snow?”
“I’ve never gotten to play in it...”
“Would you like to change that?”
“We’ll have a snowball fight and make a fort if you’d like.”
“That sounds fun!”

As Dave wrapped an arm around him, Klaus nuzzled his neck, and they finished off their dinner and hot cocoa in silence. They tossed their plates into the trash can and met each other’s lips with a chaste kiss. “Want me to liven up the fire?” the agent mumbled.
“What if I said you already have?”
“Oh?” His face reddened, and he searched Klaus’ eyes. “Are you suggesting a make out session?”
“Mhm, if that’s okay.”
“It is.” He gently pulled Klaus into his lap.
“No one’s around to catch us this time.”

Instead of answering, he kissed the seance with passion as he gently lowered him to the bed and hovered over him. Their kisses turned less chaste, and Klaus found his hands sliding beneath the agent’s shirt, caressing his muscular back. A quiet moan escaped as he felt Dave’s lips trail down his neck and his hands begin to lift up his shirt, eliciting a shiver. “Dave...” he whispered.
“You okay?”
“Yeah,” he managed to get out, “I’m okay. Keep going.”
The agent eased him up enough to toss the shirt to the floor and met his gaze. “I promise I won’t go any further than kissing, and, if at any point you want me to stop, please tell me, and I will.”

Dave peppered Klaus’ torso with kisses, brushing his lips tenderly over the bruises that were now fading from sight. The seance clutched the bed sheets at the sensation, the intimacy of it, as another soft moan left his throat. The agent smiled as he began kissing his neck again, groaning when his phone buzzed. “Dammit,” he muttered, head falling into the crook of Klaus’ shoulder.
“Let it go to voicemail,” he whispered, running his fingers through his hair.
“I can’t.” He removed it from his pocket and glanced at it. “It’s Tim. Things haven’t cooled down between us yet. We’ll pick up right where we left off. I promise.”

Chapter Text

Rolling over to stretch out beside the seance, Dave took the call. “Yes?” he asked breathlessly.
“Katz.” Tim paused. “Why are you panting?”
“I, um, was ... chopping firewood.”
“You can chop firewood anytime,” Klaus chuckled.
“Stop it.” The agent covered the phone and stifled a laugh. “He’ll hear you.”
“Katz? Are you still there?”
“Yeah, sorry, sir. What do you want?”
“I just got a report of a murder that occurred not far from where you’re staying. Would you mind going to investigate it?”
“Where did it happen exactly?”
“I’ll send the coordinates to your phone. It’ll be quick. The police and paramedics will be there soon, but I need you there to send me some information and photos. The murderer fled the scene, and we need him off the streets as soon as possible.”
“Fine, I’ll do it.”
“Thanks. Location is coming your way.”

Tim ended the call and, moments later, the map came through via text as Dave sighed. “So much for a relaxing night in.”
“What’s wrong, love?” Klaus squeezed his hand.
“There’s been a murder not far from here, and Tim wants me to collect information on it.”
“I’m guessing the murderer got away?” He shuddered.
“He did, but I doubt he’ll be at large for long.” He opened the text message. “Wow, it’s only ten minutes from us. Keep the doors and windows locked, all right, angel? I shouldn’t be too long.”
“I will. Stay safe, sweetheart. I love you.”
“I love you, too. I’ll be home soon.”

Dave took the phone off do not disturb, grabbed a pair of slacks, a collared shirt and his jacket before closing himself in the bathroom to get ready. He changed, combed his hair, brushed his teeth, and then stepped back into the bedroom as he adjusted the collar and picked up his badge and gun. He slipped his socks and shoes on, gave Klaus another kiss, and then headed out toward his car. He shivered as the frosty air nipped at his face and didn’t hesitate to get inside his vehicle. As soon as he cranked up the engine, he drove toward the location he was sent to, but feelings of uneasiness began to swarm him. He blamed it on what happened at the cafe earlier and tried to shake the memory from his mind, knowing he should have a clear head to investigate a fresh murder. Before he knew it, he had arrived on scene, parked and cut the engine. He sat in the car for a few moments with the doors locked and observed the surrounding area, searching for anything out of the ordinary. Normally, he was calm and focused under pressure, but he was having a hard time trusting Tim at this time, and it was affecting him. Sighing, he unlocked the vehicle and stepped out into the cold as a squad car pulled up.

Two officers exited the vehicle and approached Dave. “Do you have a right to be here? This is a murder scene,” the senior cop spoke up.
“I’m well aware.” Dave revealed his badge. “I was sent by Timothy Bishop to gather some information for him. I’m staying in a temporary house provided by the company until my mission is complete.”
“I know him. Please refrain from touching anything. Our forensics team will be here soon to collect
evidence, and the medical response unit will arrive to remove the body.”
“Yes, sir.” 

Followed by the officers, Dave wandered over to the corpse and knelt down to examine it. “Hardly a sign of struggle. The gunshot to the head is clean. It’s likely the victim knew the murderer.”
“You’re good.” The senior officer glanced over the body.
“I’ve been in this field for quite some time.”
“How long?”
“Uh, twelve years. Do you mind if I take some pictures and text them to my boss?”
“Not at all. Twelve years? Impressive.”
“Thank you.” The agent took several photos at different angles. “I took courses and got my first job with Tim when I was eighteen. The pay is decent, the benefits are excellent, and I get to see a lot of sights around the world, but it’s hard not having a permanent place to call home. Friendships and relationships are few and far between. Well, relationships were until recently.”
“Congrats, man. Does your partner get to travel with you?”
“Uh, well, y - yes, he does.”
“Hey, that’s great.” The officer smiled warmly. “It’s always nice to have someone you love to go home to at the end of the day, especially in a field like this.”
“Yeah.” Dave looked up and returned the smile while sending the images to Tim. “It really is. He’s great. Thank you.”

The ambulance pulled up and along with the forensics unit, and each team member exited their vehicles to begin their work. Dave remained near the senior detective. “Was the call made anonymously?”
“Yes. The witness was shaken up and wished to remain unnamed and not present.”
“Okay. When was the call made?”
“Less than an hour ago.”
“Did the witness actually see this murder occur, or did they find the body?”
“They told us they only found the body.”
“Isn’t it suspicious to you that they wished to remain unseen?”
“A little, but the forensics unit will be able to track down anyone who was involved in what happened to this man. No murderer is perfect. They all slip up.”

Dave nodded in agreement, unaware that he was being watched by a man concealed in dark clothing from the low-hanging rooftop above the crime scene. With stealth and agility, he launched off the building, landing gracefully behind the agent and gripped his jacket, forcing him to the ground. Dave’s head connected with the concrete and, before anyone could react, the assailant delivered several swift kicks to his torso. He was warned by the senior officer to seize the attack, but he ignored him and was stopped by a bullet to the head. Dave clutched at his ribs as the body fell to the ground beside him.

“Easy, kid,” the senior officer soothed as he knelt down and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“I can’t see straight,” he mumbled, attempting to sit up.
“Stay still,” a medic instructed upon approach. “You’re all right.”
“Do you need him to sit up?” the officer asked.
“Not yet.” The medic carefully assessed him for broken bones and signs of shock. “You’re in the clear,” he said as he eased him up and cleaned the small laceration on his head. “You don’t need stitches, and nothing is broken. I do, however, recommend you take it easy for at least two weeks and have someone drive you home.”
“I’ll take him,” the senior cop offered.
“Good.” The paramedic glanced at the agent. “If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, lose consciousness or experience pain or discomfort that doesn’t subside, please seek medical treatment immediately. You may take over-the-counter pain medication. Drink plenty of water and get as much rest as possible.”
“I won’t argue with that,” Dave chuckled.

The paramedic laughed and dipped his head before joining his team to assist in removal of the bodies. The senior officer flagged down his partner and requested that he follow him in the squad car while he eased Dave to his feet, causing him to flinch. “This is unpleasant."
“How are you doing, kid?”
“I’m all right. It’s painful, but I’ve had worse.”
“It comes with the job unfortunately.”
“Klaus is going to kill me,” he muttered.
“I doubt that,” he laughed as he opened the passenger door. “I’d say he’ll be worried, but glad that this incident didn’t require hospitalization.”
“When I’m healed, I think I’m going to get him a phone so we can stay in touch when I’m not home.” He handed the officer his car keys.
“Couldn’t hurt.”
“Ouch.” He winced as he got into the car.
“Take it easy.”
“I’m doing my best,” he laughed.

Chapter Text

The officer settled into the driver’s seat of Dave’s car and cranked up the engine. “What’s your address?”
“It’s not far from here.” Dave recited the address. I can’t wait to curl up in bed with Klaus, he thought.
He nodded and drove toward the safe house, checking the rear view mirror to make sure his partner was following. “Do you have pain medication where you’re staying?”
“Yes.” He nodded, wincing as a bout of mild pain surged through his head. “I do my best to keep that stuff on hand.”
“You okay?” The cop briefly glanced at him.
“Yeah, just a little pressure. This is nothing compared to what happened a few years ago. I was shot and suffered some broken ribs and a collapsed lung.”
“That sounds painful.”

When another five minutes had passed, the officers parked in front of the safe house and cut the engines. Dave took his keys from the senior officer. “Thank you for your help.”
“No problem.” He opened the driver’s side door. “Need an escort inside?”
“No, I’ll be okay.” He unbuckled his seat belt, exited the vehicle slowly and nudged the door closed. “Stay safe out there.”
“Thanks, kid,” he replied as he exited the vehicle, shut the door and headed for his own car. “Feel better soon.”
“Thanks.” Dave waved to him, and then unlocked the front door, stepped inside the warm house, and locked up as Klaus rounded the corner. 

“Hi, sweetheart,” he greeted with a smile.
“Hey, angel,” Dave replied as he removed his coat, put it on the rack, and reluctantly faced Klaus.
“What happened?” His smile faded when he took in the agent’s state and wrapped his arms around his waist.
“Easy.” He winced, resting his hands on the seance’s arms. “Nothing’s broken. It’s just painful. I got jumped at the crime scene. We thought the murderer fled, but he was watching us from the rooftop.”
“My love,” he murmured as he pressed random kisses to his face, “do you have any massage oils?”
“No, I only have over-the-counter pain relief. Oils wouldn’t be a bad thing to have around though.” He leaned into the kisses. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too. I washed our hot cocoa mugs, livened up the fire and lit a few candles in the bedroom while you were out.” Meeting his gaze, he pressed a chaste kiss to his lips. “What if I were to offer you some tea and all the cuddles you desire?”
“Offer accepted.” He smiled softly. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, my beautiful agent, so much.”

Klaus kept an arm around Dave as they headed toward the bedroom and made sure he was all right before kissing his cheek and going into the kitchen. He brewed some herbal tea, poured it in a mug, added a dash of honey to it, and then entered the bedroom. As he set the tea down on the nightstand, he found pain relief in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom; he then crawled into bed and peppered the agent’s face with kisses. “Hi,” he whispered.
“Hello, yourself.” Dave rolled over onto his back and propped himself up.
“I made you some lemon tea with honey.” He carefully picked up the mug and held it out.
“Thank you, angel.” He accepted the mug, dry swallowed the medicine, and sipped the tea. “This is really good.”
“You’re welcome, sweetheart.”

When Dave finished the tea, Klaus set the mug down on the nightstand, gently pulled him into his arms and massaged his lower back, careful to avoid his ribs. The agent nuzzled the crook of his neck, taking comfort in the soothing touches; he began to relax as the earlier incident faded from his mind. As he shifted to be closer, he winced and drew in a sharp breath, reaching for Klaus’ hand and squeezing it.

“You okay?” He used his free hand to run his fingers through Dave’s hair.
“Yeah. It’s tender, but I’m fine. I’m glad you’re here.”
“Wouldn’t dream of being anywhere else,” he mumbled as he kissed his lips.
“When I’m feeling better, would you like me to get you a cell phone so we can stay in touch?”
“Are you sure? Aren’t they expensive?”
“I’m sure.”
“I’ll pay you back somehow. Since Reggie’s in jail, there must be a way my siblings and I can get his money, right? What about his house? I want my family to be safe and have a place to live.”
“Angel, don’t worry about payment. As for Reggie’s house, I’d have to do some research, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t get to live there. He must have adoption certificates somewhere. As far as I know, unless they were evicted, the children, no matter the age, can reside in the parent figure’s house for as long as they choose. The money part might not be as easy, but I’ll see what can be done. There is a chance that Reginald may not be locked up for too long if we can’t get him to confess. The evidence I got will help, but we’ll eventually have to set up a court case.”
“Which means I’ll need to be present...” His voice shook.
“It’ll be okay, angel. I’ll be right there with you. Once all this blows over, we’ll be able to relax and focus on each other. A break would be nice.”
“You can’t request one?”
“Unfortunately not with this job. I’m on call constantly.”
“I’m sorry, love, but you’ll get one while you’re recovering, right?”
“Yeah. I have to call him later about that. I’m surprised he hasn’t been in touch yet, though. He seems to find out fairly quickly and calls at the most inopportune times.”
Klaus chuckled. “Like when you were chopping firewood?”
“Yes,” he laughed, “when I was chopping firewood. Next time, I should let it go to voicemail. I’m still angry at him for what he did to you. I guess I’ll call him now to get it out of the way. After that, I think I’ll change into something more comfortable and rejoin you here.”
“Sounds good. I’ll behave this time.”
“Promise?” He nudged him playfully as he dialed Tim’s number.

Tim picked up his phone within the first few rings. “Hello, Katz. How did the task go? I received the photos, but no other information.”
“Sorry, sir.” He cleared his throat. “The murderer never left the scene, and he attacked me. Police shot him ... he didn’t survive.”
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah, just some bruised ribs and a small laceration on my head. The on site paramedic recommended I take it easy for two weeks.”
“I can offer you paid leave for the duration of your recovery. Will that work?”
“Sure. Thank you.”
“What did you discover about the body?”
“Barely a sign of struggle. I think the murderer knew the victim.”
“Thanks. One more thing regarding the safe house ... Corporate is aware that Klaus is staying with you, and they no longer want to pay for it. They’ve referred to him as a liability. If he gets hurt, we could get sued, and you could lose your job. I’m sorry, but you’ll need to get a hotel and pay for it yourself.”
“How long do we have?”
“They want you both out immediately, but I’ll see if they’ll agree to let you stay while you’re recovering.”
“Uh, thanks.” He brushed the curls from Klaus’ face. “Tim, why are you offering to help us?”
“Dave,” he sighed, “I”d like to formally apologize for what happened at the cafe. I didn’t have any right to interrogate Klaus like that nor cause an innocent man’s death.”
“Mhm, and what else?”
“I’m sorry for intentionally upsetting Klaus. How is he doing?”
“He’s fine now, but he’s afraid of you, Tim.”
“Is there anything I can do to make it up to him?”
“I can’t answer that, but don’t expect him to trust you. He thinks you’re going to lock him up.”
“I’m not going to go to those lengths, Dave. Look, what I saw him do ... I wasn’t expecting that, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and agree that he isn’t dangerous. I’ll contact you again after I’ve received my answer from corporate about your living arrangement.”
“All right. Sir?”
“Um, can we talk about Reginald?”
“Your boyfriend’s father?”
“Yes. We’re going to have to set up a court case eventually and see if we can get him to talk.”
“That’s next on my list. He’s being held at the police station until we sort things out. I still have the photos and the video that you had Jack deliver to me. For the time being, focus on healing. I’ll be in touch. You and Klaus have a good night.”
“Thanks, sir. You as well.”

They ended the call, and Dave carefully shifted to face Klaus, wincing a bit at the mild pain, and nuzzled his neck. “He apologized, angel, and this time I think he means it.”
“I still don’t trust him…” He shivered and moved closer to the agent.
“I know, love, and you don’t have to. He needs to earn it.”
“What do you think he said happened to the body...?”
“He probably said it was an animal attack. There isn’t proof that it wasn’t since none of us actually touched that guy. Would you like me to text him and find out?”
“Okay.” Dave kissed Klaus’ forehead as he sent a text to Tim and, within minutes, he received a response. 

T: Animal attack. Klaus is in the clear. Corporate got back to me about the safe house.
D: What’s the verdict?
T: They’ll let you stay there with Klaus until you’re healed.
D: Thank you. Is there any way we can set up a court case during my recovery?
T: You’re welcome, and, if you’re feeling well enough for that, I’ll see what I can do.
D: Thank you, sir.
T: Take it easy.
D: Doing my best.

The agent set his phone to do not disturb to ensure he’d only hear it if work or his mother called, and then put it on the end table. “You’re safe, my angel. He told them it was an animal attack. As much as I don’t want to leave this bed, I don’t want to fall asleep in my suit. I’m going to freshen up.”
“Don’t be long,” Klaus mumbled, reaching for his hands.
“I won’t, babe, I promise.”
“Need any help?”
“I think I’ll manage.”
“Mhm.” He pecked his lips. “Keep the bed warm for us. I love you.”
“I love you, too...” he sleepily whispered.

Chapter Text

Dave removed a pair of fuzzy socks from the top left dresser drawer, and then closed himself into the bathroom. He stripped down to his boxers, splashed his face with cold water, and checked himself over in the mirror; the bruises were blotchy and painful, and he felt warm, but he blamed it on the incident from the crime scene. He slipped the socks on, exited the bathroom, keeping quiet about his elevated temperature, and crawled into bed as he draped one arm over Klaus, nuzzling the back of his neck. The seance rolled over to face him, intertwining their legs, and kissed his forehead, noticing instantly that he was barely dressed.

Blushing, he met his gaze. “You’re only wearing your boxers.”
“Uh...” Dave suddenly felt self conscious. “Yeah ... I can put some pants on...”
“It’s okay. I might like what I see.” He glanced at the bruises and winced. “Sweetheart?”
“Hm?” He blushed at his comment.
“Are you feeling okay?”
“A little warm,” he admitted, “and painful, but I’ll survive.”
“What if I did something to distract you?”
“What do you have in mind?”

Klaus brushed the hair from Dave’s forehead and peppered his face with kisses, gradually trailing his lips down his neck. The agent shivered as he rolled over on his back. “Kl - Klaus.”
“You okay?” He stopped the kisses to nuzzle him.
“Yes,” he breathed out.
“Feel good?” he teased.
“Maybe,” he mumbled as his face turned red.
“Don’t be embarrassed, my love.” He kissed his forehead. “Do you want me to keep going?”
“Are you comfortable with that?”
“Yeah. Are you?”
“I’m trying to be, angel.” He smiled timidly. “I think I’m self conscious because this is the first
relationship I’ve ever been in, and things like body worship are new to me. I’m also still a little worried about taking things too fast with you.”
“My beautiful agent,” Klaus murmured as he cradled Dave close to his chest, “you’re doing amazing. When I was with my ex, I never felt safe, but I never thought he’d -” He shivered and trailed off. “With you, I know I’m safe and that you’d never do anything to hurt me or make me feel uncomfortable. I’d never hurt you or do anything that makes you uncomfortable either. I love you so much.”
“Darling,” Dave softly spoke, ignoring his discomfort to meet Klaus’ eyes, “you’re not unworthy, and you didn’t deserve the pain he put you through.” He caressed his cheek and kissed his forehead. “You’re strong, loving, passionate, and sweet, and I love you, too, more than anything in all this world.”

Tears welled up at the corner of Klaus’ eyes, and he melted into the agent, still careful to avoid his ribs, searching for his hand. “Sweetheart,” he mumbled, voice cracking.
“Let it out, love.” Dave clutched his hand.
“Hold onto me,” he whimpered.
“I’m right here, and I’ve got you. I’ll always have you.”
“You’ll always have me, too.”
“Sleep, love. I’ll be here when you wake.”

Dave blew out the candles and kissed Klaus’ tears away while he softly ran his fingers through his hair. Fitted against his chest, the seance murmured out an I love you as he was consumed by sleep. The agent dozed off not long after only to be disturbed by his cell phone ringing. What now? he thought as he fumbled around in the dark for it; he didn’t bother to glance at the time - he assumed it was late. Without looking at the caller, he hit the answer button, thinking it was work.

“This is Dave...” His voice was heavy with sleep.
“Hi, baby,” his mother, Dorothy, spoke up, “did I wake you?”
“Yeah, but it’s okay.” He rubbed his eyes. “How are you, mom? I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, and I’m well. Are you doing all right?”
“I’m okay...” He hesitated. “Work’s been running me ragged lately, and I haven’t been getting much sleep, but, besides that, I’m doing fine. Tim granted me a two week paid leave that just started today, though.”
“Wonderful, dear! You deserve it.”
“Yep.” He shifted as he glanced at Klaus’ slumbering form and drew in a sharp breath.
“Are you okay?” Concern laced her voice.
“Yeah, it’s nothing serious. Just got roughed up during a mission.” He redirected the conversation. “I, um, I met someone...”
“You did?” She smiled. “What’s his name? Where’d you meet him?”
“Klaus.” He chuckled. “I was originally sent to investigate him, but we fell for each other. There’s more to it than that, but it’s a long and complicated story for another time. He’s sensitive, loving and sweet. He’s really great, mom, and I love him so much.”
“I’m happy for you, sweetie. Is he living with you?”
“Mhm.” He left his dilemma with corporate out. “It’s nice having someone to come home to, especially when I have bad days.”
“I’d love to meet him sometime.”
“I’d like that. We can try to arrange something during my leave, but there is a chance I may have more work coming up. We don’t have a definite yes as of now. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I have more information.”
“Okay. Get some rest and feel better. I love you, baby.”
“I love you, too, mom. Goodnight.”

They ended the call, and Dave set his phone back on the nightstand to snuggle into Klaus as he drifted off into the void of sleep again. The following morning, the seance was the first to wake to the sunlight streaming in through the frost coated window; he rolled over to face his boyfriend, who was still asleep, and pressed gentle kisses to his face until he began to stir. “Too early,” he mumbled, cracking his eyes open.

“Good morning, beautiful.” Klaus offered a chaste kiss. “How are you feeling?”
“My headache is gone, but my ribs are still sore.” He ran his fingers through his curls. “How did you sleep?”
“Perfectly content nestled up with you.”
“I second that.”
“I think it might’ve snowed last night.”
“Yeah?” He glanced at the window, noting the ice. “All the more reason to stay in bed and cuddle the morning away.”

The agent pulled Klaus close to his body and peppered his face with kisses. “My mom called last night after I’d fallen asleep. I thought it was work at first. I talked about you.”
“What did you say?” He giggled as the soft kisses continued.
“I told her,” he murmured, kissing his nose, “that you’re,” cheek, “sensitive, loving,” jawline, “and sweet,” neck, “that I love you so much,” shoulder, “and that it’s nice to have someone to come home to,” lips, “especially when I have bad days.”
“I love you, too. What’s your mom like?” He nuzzled his neck and reached for his hand.
“Nurturing is the best word I’d use to describe her. She and I have always been close, but she did so much for me while my ribs were healing. I occasionally had nightmares, and she stayed with me until I calmed down or when the pain got too unbearable. My father was of no help, but she made sure he left me alone. She’d love to meet you.”
“She sounds wonderful. Reminds me of my mom. I’d love to meet her, too.”
“I suggested having her visit, but, since corporate has an issue with you staying here, she’ll likely need to book a hotel. She won’t mind, but I’m not sure if Tim is going to set up Reginald’s trial.”
“Oh. Could we postpone it so you have a proper two weeks off?”
“Of course, angel, but I figured that, if we get him to confess in a timely manner, I won’t have any other stresses for the duration of my absence. If you’re not ready, I’d be happy to reschedule.”
“I’m worried about having to testify against Reggie. What if I can’t do it? What if we can’t get him to confess?”
“I’m not worried about that, love. I’m certain the judge will get him to crack and confess his failures as a father. You’re brave and strong, and I’ll be right there with you the whole time.”
“You’re sweet.” He pecked his lips. “Might I make you some coffee?”
“Coffee,” the agent hummed as he returned the kiss, “sounds amazing, but that means I’ll have to let you get out of bed...”
“I won’t be long.” He carded his fingers through his hair. “I promise.”

Chapter Text

Reluctantly, Klaus slipped out of bed, grabbed the tea cup from the previous night off the nightstand and headed toward the kitchen to brew enough coffee for two mugs. Dave carefully stretched to avoid causing discomfort, dry swallowed pain medication, and went into the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. He wandered over to the window and observed the yard; it hadn’t snowed, but there was a thin layer of frost coating the grass, and the sky was gray and dreary, as though flurries would fall at any given moment. He crawled back into bed and pulled the covers up to his waist, welcoming the warmth. Moments later, the seance returned with two hot mugs of coffee and set them on the end table so he could join Dave in bed.

“Hi,” he said as he kissed his cheek.
“Hello, yourself.” The agent smiled at him as he was handed a cup. “It didn’t snow, but it looks like it could at any time.”
“Snow is beautiful, but not as beautiful as you.”
“Really? You truly are an angel.”
“Stop,” he mumbled, hiding his reddening face against his shoulder.
“But you’re adorable when you blush.”

They were interrupted by Dave’s cell phone ringing and, with a grimace, he set his coffee down and answered. “Hey, Tim.”
“Good morning, Katz. How are you feeling? How’s Klaus?”
“Still tender, but I’m all right.” He ran his hand along Klaus’ shoulder. “Klaus is well.”
“Good. I made a few calls and was able to set up Reginald’s trial for tomorrow morning at ten sharp. Will that work for you? Does Klaus feel comfortable enough to testify against him?”
“May I have a moment please?”
“Of course.”
“Thank you, sir.”

Dave put the call on mute and met Klaus’ gaze. “Reginald’s trial has been set up for tomorrow morning at ten. Is that okay?”
“I don’t know.” He timidly smiled. “Dave?”
“What if he tries to hurt me again?” He set his mug down.
“I won’t let that happen, love, and there will be a police escort on site as well. If you’re not ready, I’ll tell Tim to reschedule.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to face him…” A few tears escaped as he leaned into Dave.
“Angel,” he soothed, setting the phone down to brush his tears away, “it’s okay to be afraid. I promised you that I’d be there for you, and I’m a man true to my word. Do you want to try?”
Exhaling a shaky breath, he nodded. “Yeah. If the judge calls me to the stand, will you be able to join me?”
“They usually don’t allow that, but I’ll see what I can do. Are you sure you want to go?”
“As sure as I can be.” He rested his head on the agent’s shoulder and curled up into a ball.
“Okay, love.” Dave kissed the top of his head and took the phone off mute. “Tim?”
“Yes, Katz?”
“Sorry about that. I was going over things with Klaus.”
“Is he okay?” Tim could hear him sniffling.
“He’s scared to face Reginald, but he’s agreed. May I ask you a question?”
“Hit me with it.”
“If Klaus gets called to the stand, he wanted to know if I could join him.”
“I can’t answer that. It’s not something they encourage, but I’ll tell the lawyer to go easy on him.”
“Thank you, sir. We’ll meet you at the courthouse.”
“Be there at 9:30. I’ll be right out front.”
“All right. See you tomorrow.”
“Bye, Katz. Have a good day.”

The call was disconnected, and Dave wrapped both arms around Klaus, keeping him close to his body. “Want me to make you some breakfast?”
Klaus buried his face against his neck, tears falling again. “Yes, but not yet...”
“I’ve got you, my love,” he whispered as he ran his fingers through his hair. “What can I do to ease your fears?”
“I don’t know,” he whimpered, clinging to him.
“Hm,” the agent thought, “sweetheart, I know it’s scary, but I’m sure the trial will be over quickly, and we’ll be back home before we know it. I’ll pick up some lunch and make dinner in the evening. Get a fire going in the bedroom, too. We can take a shower together again if you’d like, and then curl up in bed with some tea. How’s that sound?”
“I love you,” he mumbled, nodding, “so much.”
“I love you, too, angel. We’re in this together.”

After several moments of silence, Klaus sat up and lightly kissed Dave’s lips. “Thank you, love, for being here for me.”
“You’re welcome. Are you ready for breakfast? I’ve got eggs, cereal, pancake mix, oatmeal, and waffle mix. Might have some fruit, sausage patties and raisin bread, too. What are you in the mood for?”
“Pancakes and eggs,” he answered without a second thought, “with a side of sausage patties and raisin bread. What kind of fruit do you have?”
“I know I have strawberries, but I’d have to look and see what else there is. I never do a ton of grocery shopping since I’m never in one place for too long.”
“Does that ever bother you?” he asked, frowning.
“Sometimes.” Dave shrugged. “It was harder in the early days of my career, but I more or less got used to the constant traveling. I think the most difficult thing about it is not being able to see my mom much, and that friendships rarely lasted. I’m glad I’ve got you to experience this journey with, but now we have to find a place to live. I have no idea where to begin though.”
“We’ll figure it out.” He thought he could use Reginald’s money to help if they got it. “We’re in this together, remember?”
“Mhm.” He kissed his cheek and wrapped an arm around him. “Always, my angel. Always.”

Dave slipped out of bed along with Klaus and, hand in hand, they headed toward the kitchen. The agent leaned against the counter beside the stove and let his hands fall to his boyfriend’s hips. “Would you like to cook together?”
“What if I mess up? I never learned...” He averted his gaze, embarrassed.
“It’s okay, love.” He used his thumb to tilt his chin, coaxing him to look up. “You won’t. I’ll help you, all right?”
“Okay,” he agreed with a nod. “I’ll give it a go.”
“I’ll get the pancake mix and raisin bread. Do you mind getting the eggs, sausage and the fruit you want out of the fridge? Fruit is in the drawer, and the sausage and eggs are on the bottom shelf. You can set them on the counter next to the cutting board.”
“Not at all.” 

They got everything they needed and, once Klaus set the refrigerated food down, he returned to his previous place, unsure of what to do. Dave set the griddle on the counter followed by a mixing bowl, a spoon, water and the pancake mix, and then stood behind the seance. “Fill the bowl about halfway with the mix, and add enough water to thicken it as you stir. It’s okay if you add too much. You’ll just need to add more mix.”
“All right.” He nodded slowly as he picked up the box and poured it into the bowl. “This okay?”
“Perfect.” He wrapped his arms around his waist and rested his head on his shoulder.
“Thanks.” He smiled and leaned into him as he added the water. 

Upon stirring, he realized he’d added too much and used more mix to even it out; when it reached a thick consistency, Dave added a light layer of oil to the griddle and turned the heat on medium. “This can be where it gets a little tricky. Mind if I guide you, angel?”
“No, my love, of course not.”
“Okay. How many pancakes do you want?”
“Three, please?”
“Three it is. I’ll have that many as well. You ready?”
“I’m ready.”
“You’ll do great.”

Chapter Text

Dave placed his hand over Klaus’, and they poured the batter onto the griddle, utilizing the spoon to keep too much from flowing out. When all six were cooking, the agent set the skillet on the stove and added a dash of olive oil to it before turning the heat on low. “Do you like your eggs scrambled or sunny side up?”
“Sunny. What about you?”
“Same.” He handed him a spatula. “Want to flip the pancakes?”
“Sure.” He accepted it and faced the griddle, reluctant to ask for guidance. “Um, how do I...?  Sorry...”
“It’s okay. You’re doing great, angel,” he praised as he instructed him on flipping the pancakes without them falling apart.
“I have an excellent teacher.”
“You think so?”
“Mhm.” He stood on his toes and tilted his head back slightly. “He’s also quite handsome.”
“Yeah?” The agent pulled him close and hummed against his lips.
“Definitely,” he responded with a muffled voice, reluctantly breaking the kiss. “Eggs...”
“Eggs.” He nodded, squeezed his hand, and then turned toward the stove. 

While the eggs and sausage cooked, Klaus kept an eye on the griddle and turned the heat off when the pancakes turned golden brown. “They’re done.” He hopped up on the counter next to Dave and glanced at the skillet. “Smells good. Hm...”
“What’s on your mind, angel?”
“It’s silly,” he answered bashfully, “but this is nice ... domestic...”
“We can cook together more often, and I’ll continue teaching you. Would you like that?”
“Yes.” He grinned. “When I get fully comfortable in the kitchen, I could cook for you.”
“I’d like that, darling.” He turned the stove off and kissed him innocently. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

As soon as breakfast was served, they ate in the living room, cleaned up the kitchen together, and spent the rest of the day relaxing. The temperature continued to drop as the sun faded from sight, replaced by the moon, but the snow stayed away. When Klaus had fallen asleep, Dave texted his mother to update her about the court case, informing her that it should be quick, and he’d call her when things had cooled down. He pocketed his phone, carefully lifted his boyfriend off the couch and carried him to the bedroom, gently laying him in bed. He kissed his forehead, set the alarm for seven sharp, used the bathroom, curled up beside him, checking to make sure he was still sleeping. For a while, the agent remained awake as Reginald invaded his thoughts; he also worried that Klaus would get too overwhelmed. Sighing, he embraced the seance as sleep consumed him, but it wasn’t restful; he woke every few hours, and, before he knew it, the alarm blared music. Groaning, he silenced the radio and clumsily rolled over into Klaus as he searched for the covers; he was exhausted, uncomfortable, and his headache had returned, likely due to his restless evening.

“Good morning.” Klaus gave him a sleepy kiss. “Today’s the day ... did you sleep okay?”
“Not really.” He hid his face in the crook of his neck. “Kept waking up worrying about you.”“I’m sorry, baby,” he soothed as he ran his fingers along his spine. “Should we reschedule?”
“It’s not your fault. I don’t always handle stress well.” He arched into the touches, sighing contentedly. “We could, but the sooner we get Reginald behind bars, the better, unless you don’t want to face him today.”
“I don’t,” he confessed, “but I do want to get this over with.”

Dave propped himself up on an elbow, wishing he could stay in bed. “I guess we should start getting ready. Want to use the bathroom first?”
“Sure, if you don’t mind.”
“Of course not, angel. I’ll make some coffee and breakfast. What would you like to eat?”
“Okay, love.” He stretched and yawned as he sat up. “I should have bought you a suit and shoes when we went shopping, but I have some that will fit you.”
“A suit, huh? Think I can pull one off?”
“I think you’d look dashing.”
“You’re going to make me blush again.”

With a quiet laugh, he got out of bed, ignoring his headache, and rummaged through his closet until he found a set of black shoes and a charcoal gray suit. Upon removing them, he was surprised to see they were still in good shape as they’d been in the closet for years. “This was the first suit and pair of dress shoes I purchased in the beginning of my career. Consider them yours.”
“I’m honored. Thank you.” He accepted the items. “I’ll take excellent care of them.”
“I know you will.” He smiled softly. “I’m looking forward to seeing you in it.”
“I won’t disappoint.” He winked and escaped into the bathroom.
“Goof,” he giggled, shaking his head as he dry swallowed his pain medication and left the bedroom. He hoped it would kick in soon and relieve his headache so he could focus on the trial. 

Upon entering the kitchen, Dave brewed enough coffee to fill two mugs, cooked the waffles and prepared the plates. Klaus emerged from the bathroom, adjusting the suit. “What do you think?”
“Wow,” Dave breathed, eyeing him, “you look incredible.”
“Really?” He felt his cheeks reddening.
“Yes, you’re absolutely stunning.” He closed the distance to give a heated kiss before pulling away, embarrassed. “Sorry...”
“No, it’s fine.” He smirked, teasing, “Don’t get too lascivious before the case.”
Laughing awkwardly, his face turned bright red. “Klaus...” he griped.
“Sorry, but you’re quite adorable when you get flushed.” He poured coffee and cream into two mugs and offered one to the agent.
“You’re forgiven.” He smiled, accepted the beverage, and reached for a plate. “Want to eat in the living room?”
“Sure, that’s fine.” He picked up the other plate and followed him to the couch, placing his coffee down on the table when he reached it. “Are you feeling better?”
“A bit,” he answered, taking a seat. “Still tired, but I’ll be okay. How are you doing?”
“Still nervous.” He sat beside him and began to eat. “I keep trying to tell myself to be strong.”
“You're strong, angel.” The agent took a bite of his waffles and chased it down with his coffee.
“I don’t feel strong.”
“You’ve got this.” He squeezed his hand to offer reassurance. “I have faith in you.”

They finished their breakfast and coffee in silence, and Klaus offered to handle the dishes, hoping for a short distraction. Dave kissed his forehead before excusing himself to freshen up and change into a navy blue suit and black shoes. When he returned, he found his companion lounging on the couch and cleared his throat to announce his presence. The seance supported his weight upon his elbows and eyed the agent intensely before averting his gaze and mumbling incoherently. Stifling a laugh, he embraced Klaus and kissed his cheek. “Are you getting lascivious, angel?”
“Maybe a little...” He kept his face hidden.
“Don’t be shy, darling,” he murmured, glancing at the time. “Are you ready to go? We have to meet Tim before the trial starts.”
“He’s going to be there?” he questioned with a shudder.
“Unfortunately, yes, but he won’t be the one questioning you. It’ll be a lawyer and, if I’m correct, he was told by my manager to go easy on you.”
“Okay, we can go...”
“Okay.” He kept one arm around Klaus’ waist as he locked up and headed for the car, shivering as the frigid air nipped at his face. “I’m shocked we still haven’t gotten any snow.”
“Perhaps we will tonight.” He shivered as well, hugging himself in an attempt to warm up.

Dave hastily unlocked the car, and, wasting no time, they entered the vehicle, almost simultaneously buckling their seat belts. As soon as the car had been started, the agent turned the heat on, laced his fingers through Klaus’ and headed for the courthouse, arriving at 9:15 on the dot. He spotted Tim’s car and parked in the space next to it, catching sight of him standing in front of the building’s doors. He cut the engine, stuffed his keys in his pocket and studied his boyfriend’s face before pulling him in for a hug. “I love you, angel, and everything will work out.”
“I love you, too, and I hope so.” He peeked over his shoulder to glance at Tim. “I guess we should talk to him.”
“He’ll be civil this time.” He let him go to lightly kiss his lips. “I promise.”
“I hope you’re right.”

Chapter Text

Together, they exited the vehicle and, hand in hand, wandered up the steps, halting beneath the overhang as Tim acknowledged them. “Good morning, Dave. Klaus.”
“Good morning, sir,” Dave replied as Klaus huddled against him, eyeing Tim apprehensively.
“Klaus,” he said softly, “I owe you an apology. I am sorry for putting you in a stressful situation and for interrogating you at the cafe. It was wrong, and I shouldn’t have done any of it. I understand if I’m not forgiven, and I won’t be offended. How are you holding up?”
“I’m scared,” he whispered, squeezing Dave’s hand.
“It’s okay, kid.” Tim extended his hand to place it on Klaus’ shoulder, freezing when the seance flinched. “Sorry. We’re going to ensure your father gets put away for a long time. I’ve arranged for you to be seated beside your boyfriend, and I spoke to the lawyer who will be questioning you. He’s a good guy who specializes in cases regarding victims of abuse.”
“Thank you.” The seance smiled halfheartedly.
“You’re welcome. Shall we head inside?”

In unison, Dave and Klaus nodded and followed Tim inside the building, welcoming the warmth, and entered the courtroom, relieved that none of the jurors were currently present. “We’ve got the three seats in the front row,” Tim stated, gesturing toward them. Dave nodded and escorted Klaus toward the chairs while his manager followed. Once they were seated, the agent draped his arm across his lover’s shoulders and made small talk, intending to keep his mind at ease, until the lawyer and the jurors filled the room. The judge, Mark, ambled into the room and took his rightful place at the bench as an officer guided Reginald in, seating him to the left of the judge. Klaus’ breath hitched as he met his father’s hostile gaze, and he exhaled a trembling breath and scooted closer to Dave.

The agent rubbed his arm and kissed his temple. “Breathe, angel. I’m right here, okay? He’s not going to be allowed anywhere near you.”
“I know,” he sniffled, “but it’s harder than I thought to see him again.”
“I’ve got you,” he whispered.
“How’s he doing?” Tim frowned.
“It’s not easy for him.”
“I’m sorry, Katz. Is there anything I can do?”
“Not really. We’ll take it one step at a time.”

Mark observed the jurors and brought his gavel down several times to bring them to attention. “Let us begin. We have gathered here today to discuss the fate of Reginald Hargreeves, a man accused of abusing his adopted son, Klaus Hargreeves, since he was thirteen-years-old. As of now, this man is innocent until proven guilty.”

The trial started with Reginald being questioned by a man named Roger, but he was of little to no help. Frustrated, Mark brought the gavel down and ordered Roger to take a seat; once everyone had fallen silent, he spoke up. “Klaus Hargreeves, please take  a seat next to me at the witness stand for questioning.”
“Okay...” His voice was barely above a whisper, but he didn’t budge, frozen in fear.
“Go on, angel. You can do this.” Dave squeezed his hand, frowning, wishing he could calm him.

Klaus rose from his seat, trudged toward the stand and, unable to stop his trembling, claimed the chair beside the judge. He fidgeted with his suit as a lawyer approached him and spoke in a gentle tone. “Good morning, Klaus. My name is Jonathan. How are you?”
“Fine,” he stammered, risking a glance in Reginald’s direction only to receive the same piercing stare. “Terrified...”
“It’s okay to be afraid.” He offered a small smile. “Is there someone or something that helps to relax your mind? My goal is to ensure that we proceed with the least amount of stress.”
“Dave. My boyfriend. He’s here, too.”
“That’s wonderful, Klaus. Focus on him, okay? Don’t worry about your father. May I ask you a few questions and show you some photographs?”
“Yeah.” He nodded and let his eyes fall on Dave.
“Is it true that your father locked you in a mausoleum for hours when you were thirteen?”
“Yes,” he quietly answered.
“Why did he do it?”
“He said it was so I’d overcome my fear of the dead.” He shuddered as he recalled how scared he’d been as the ghosts lunged at him.
“Do you suffer from any psychological damage as a result?”
“I have nightmares often.”
“You’re doing great, kid.” Jonathan could tell he was uneasy. “Breathe. Keep your eyes on Dave. Are you ready to see some photographs?”
“Of what?”
“The bruised that Reginald allegedly inflicted on you.”
“I guess...” He exhaled a shaky breath and clutched his pant leg tightly.

Jonathan opened the manilla folder that he’d been holding, removed several photographs that were taken by Dave and placed them on the stand. As soon as Klaus caught sight of them, flashbacks of the first time he was struck invaded his mind, and he tried to find something to ground himself. He felt small and trapped, exactly like he was locked in the mausoleum again. He began to tremble as visions of how terrible his father was to him surged through his mind. He searched the crowd for Dave, but, even when he caught sight of him, he couldn’t bring himself to relax.

“Did your father do this to you?” Jonathan kept an eye on him.
“I - I...” He couldn’t form an answer as he began to shut down.
“Klaus?” He noted his stress and tried to think of something to distract him. “What’s something that you and Dave did together that you enjoyed?”
“We made breakfast yesterday,” he whispered.
“What was your favorite part about it?”
“It was domestic...” Tears pricked at the corners of his eyes, and his breathing escalated. “I can’t do this, I’m sorry...”
“Your Honor, may we call for a brief recession?”
“Recession granted.” He brought the gavel down. “Thirty minutes.”
“Thank you.”

Klaus was vaguely aware of the strong, yet gentle hands leading him away from the prying eyes and hushed whispers. Followed by Tim, Jonathan, and Mark, Dave brought the seance into the judge’s chamber and eased him onto the couch as he embraced him in a hug. “You did good, angel,” he murmured as he rubbed his back. “Take deep, slow breaths.”
“Klaus,” Jonathan piped in, “I’m sorry.”
“Shh, give him a minute,” instructed the agent.
“I thought I could do it.” The words came out brokenly. “Seeing the pictures ... it was too much.”
“It’s okay, love.”
“If he still wants to finish testifying, I can likely go through the rest of the questions without showing him the photographs. Your Honor?”
“That’s fine. I have no doubt that the jurors will agree that Reginald is a guilty man after witnessing this incident. Tim, Jonathan, please step out to give Klaus a chance to relax.”
“Yes, Your Honor,” they responded simultaneously and let themselves out.

Mark remained silent, and Klaus’ tears eventually subsided; his breathing returned to normal, but he still remained close to Dave. “I’m sorry,” he muttered, embarrassed.
“Don’t worry about it, kid,” the judge said. “Jonathan doesn’t have a lot of questions left. The only thing he plans on going over with you after the recess is the adoption. Are you okay with that?”
“Yes,” he answered with a cautious nod. “No more pictures?”
“No more pictures.” He looked at his watch. “We still have about ten minutes. Would you like to go
back in the courtroom before the jurors?”

Hand in hand, Dave and Klaus entered the room, relieved that Reginald had been temporarily removed, as Mark, Tim, and Jonathan trailed behind them. Klaus took his seat next to Mark while Dave and Tim resumed their places in the front row. Jonathan made small talk with the seance until the officer escorted Reginald inside and the jurors filed into the room, reclaiming their seats.

Chapter Text

“Order in the court,” Mark announced, striking the gavel against the wood. “Let the trial resume.”
“Are you ready, Klaus?” Jonathan smiled kindly as the jurors fell silent.
“I’m ready.” He returned the smile and nodded with more confidence.
“Reginald Hargreeves has adopted you and six other children as infants. Correct?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“One of your brothers, Benjamin Hargreeves, has passed away for reasons that the general public is unaware of. Is this also correct?”
“One more question. Does your father have a certificate of adoption for you and your brothers and sisters, and do any of you know who your birth mothers are?”
“No, we don’t know who our mothers are. He offered them money to ensure he could adopt us.”

The judge stared at Klaus, bewildered. “I’m sorry. Are you saying he bought you?”
“Yes, Your Honor.” The seance redirected his gaze toward Mark. “Forty-three children total were born under unusual circumstances, and he tried to purchase all of us.”
“We’re familiar with the circumstances regarding your births. It was all the news could gossip about. Reginald Hargreeves, I sentence you to life in prison without the possibility of parole for domestic abuse of Klaus Hargreeves and for the unauthorized adoption of seven children.” He brought the gavel down once. “This trial is adjourned. No further questions.”

The jurors vacated the premises, and Klaus felt a wave of relief wash over him as the police officer removed Reginald from the courtroom. The judge stepped down from the bench and patted the seance on the shoulder. “Good job, kid. You did well.”
“Thank you, Your Honor.”
“You’re welcome.” He nodded. “Take it easy.”
“You, too.”

Mark departed as Dave crossed the room and threw his arms around Klaus. “You did it, angel! I’m so proud of you! How do you feel?”
Giggling, he returned the hug. “Good. Like I did the right thing.”
“You were so brave.” The agent let him go to meet his gaze. “You did fantastic, my love.”
“Dave?” Tim cut in. “Come see me outside when you can.”
“Yes, sir,” he replied.
“Thanks.” He stepped out with a brief nod.
“Do you think it’s something bad?” Klaus stammered.
“Not at all, babe. Would you like to see him now to get it out of the way?”
“Might as well.”

The room was completely empty, so they stole a few kisses, and then headed outside where they found Tim leaning against a pillar. “Hello again, gentlemen.” Glancing at Klaus, he gave a respectful nod. “Great job, kid. I know how difficult it was for you to face your father, but you truly did well. Dave, I pulled some strings and was able to get your check for your leave early. It’s been deposited into your account. I also have some excellent news regarding Reginald’s assets. The children are inheriting his home and his money.”
“Uh, sir? Doesn’t he, well, have to be deceased in order for that to happen?”
“In this case, no. Reginald didn’t write a will. The lawyer and I went over everything before the trial, and the law states that everything gets left to the spouse or children should the parent be incarcerated. Since he isn't married, the children get all of it. Congratulations. That should help you out in purchasing a place of your own, huh?”
“Thank you, sir. I’m grateful.’
“Thanks, Tim.” Klaus wrapped his arm around Dave. “This means so much.”

Tim smiled widely. “You and your family deserve it, Klaus. Oh, one more thing! I have the documents that you will need to access your father’s bank account. You, as well as each of your siblings, will be issued a bank card to use your father's money.” He handed Klaus a folder. “Take that document to the bank to get everything set up, and they'll mail out the cards. I don’t know about the two of you, but I’m going home to warm up. It’s far too chilly out here for my liking.”
“We’re doing the same,” Dave agreed with a nod, “after we pick up some lunch. Drive safe, Tim, and thank you again.”
“Sure.” He shook Dave’s hand and headed for his car. “Be safe out there, you two.”
“See you later.” The agent waved at him as he drove off, and then turned toward Klaus. “Are you hungry, love?”
“I could eat.” He stood on his toes and lightly kissed him.
“Tacos sound good?” he mumbled against his lips.
“Mhm...” His face reddened as he pulled away.
“That does, too, huh?” He brushed his cheek.
“Yes, it does.”
“Must be the suit,” the agent teased as he unlocked the car, “but, if you feel like it, we certainly can have a make out session when we’re home.”
“Is that a promise?”
“Maybe.” He winked and opened the passenger door. “Let’s get home first, angel.”
“Good idea.” 

Klaus chastely kissed him before getting into the vehicle and buckling his seat belt while Dave settled in the driver’s seat. He cranked up the engine and turned the heat on. “There is an excellent taco restaurant on the way to the safe house. Would you like to eat in or take the drive through?”
“Drive through,” he answered without a second thought. “Too cold.”
“I agree, my love.” He squeezed his hand, and then drove toward the restaurant. “I know I already said it, but you did amazing during the trial.”
“Thanks.” He smiled and looked through the documents briefly. “I can’t believe it was that easy to get my dad’s money.”
“Like Tim said, my angel, you and your siblings deserve it.”

The drive to the taco restaurant was silent and, when Dave stopped at the menu, he and Klaus studied it. As soon as they decided on what they wanted to eat, the agent pulled forward toward the intercom and waited to be greeted. “Good afternoon. May I take your order?”
“We’ll have a number five and a number eight with two Root Beers.”
“Will that be all?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Your total is twelve dollars and fifty cents. Please pull to the second window.”
“Okay. Thank you.”

Dave drove up to the second window and paid with his card upon being acknowledged by the operator. After receiving the drinks and his card, he set them in the cup holder, and then put the card in his wallet. Moments later, the bag of food was handed to him and, before driving off, he set it down between himself and Klaus and thanked the operator. Within a half an hour, they arrived at the safe house, made sure they had everything they needed so they wouldn’t have to brave the cold later, and hastily made their way inside. They sat at the living room table to eat their lunch and consume their beverages. Once they’d finished, the agent tossed everything into the kitchen trash can and returned to the couch.

Taking hold of Klaus’ hands, he asked, “Would you like to take a shower together?”
The seance angled his body toward him and smiled timidly. “Could it be a bath instead?”
“Sure, angel.” He kissed his lips. “Are you comfortable enough to undress in the same room, or do you want me to give you some privacy?”
“I think I’ll be okay. Do you want privacy?”
“Well, uh, I do, but I don’t think I have a reason to be self conscious anymore. We did shower together previously.”
“You,” he replied as he blushed, glancing away, “are breathtaking.”
“I could say the same about you, angel.” He used his thumb to gently tilt his chin up and kissed him with desire before pulling away. “Remember what I promised you? I won’t force you to do anything you’re not comfortable doing. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

Chapter Text

Together they headed toward the bedroom and, as soon as they were in the bathroom, Dave closed the door. He released Klaus’ hand to turn the water on and adjusted it to a pleasant temperature before sealing the drain; as the tub filled, he focused on the seance, observing how nervous he appeared. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yeah. I mean, I’m anxious, but, like you said, things like this are bound to happen eventually, and we can be nervous together.”
“We sure can, babe.”
“I like when you call me that, too...”
“Yeah?” He kissed his forehead.

Dave kissed him once more, and then checked the water level, pleased that it had filled relatively fast. Noting the thin layer of steam hovering above the surface, he turned the nozzle off and faced his boyfriend. They smiled coyly at each other and removed their clothing until they were completely undressed. With a nervous laugh, the agent lowered himself into the hot water first, sighing contentedly; cautiously, the seance joined him at the opposite end. They searched each other’s eyes, unsure of what to do or say as they averted their gaze, staring awkwardly at the bath water.

Dave exhaled quietly. “Klaus? You okay?”
“Yeah...” He nodded as he looked up. “I just don’t exactly know what to do. I mean, I know we showered together, and that was nice, but this is more intimate...”
“Do you want to do something?” He felt flushed as he spoke those words.
“Maybe,” he mumbled, nerves firing up.
“Hm, if you’re comfortable, how about this? Turn around and lean against me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Well, not exactly, but we have to start somewhere, right?”

Timidly, Klaus turned around and moved toward the agent until his back was pressed against his chest. He shivered as gentle arms embraced him, resting across his abdomen, and a kiss was pressed to his temple. “Is this all right?”
“Yes.” His breath hitched when he’d realized how near Dave’s lips were to his ear. How the heat rose up in his cheeks at how close they were together.
“We don’t have to do anything, Klaus. We could just sit here like this until the water gets too cold if you’d like, or we can try some things. Remember, angel, I won’t do anything that you’re uncomfortable doing, and we can stop at anytime.”
“I know,” he whispered, placing his hands over the agent’s. “Um, would y - you kiss me ... on my neck...?” 

The agent shifted one of his hands to link their fingers together and tenderly allowed his lips to find the hollow of Klaus’ throat. “Okay?” he hummed.
“Yes,” he breathed out, squeezing his hand, “that feels quite nice…”
“Keep going?”
“Please,” he responded, sounding desperate. “I ... sorry...”
“It’s all right, love.” Dave pulled away to speak clearly. “This is a perfect way to find out what we both enjoy and what we’re comfortable with.”
“You like this?”
“I do.” He grazed his fingertips along his stomach. “I like knowing that you like it.”
Klaus blushed, tilted his neck slightly, inviting his boyfriend to continue the kisses, and shuddered as soon as he felt his lips brush over the hollow of his throat. Acutely aware of the agent’s hands sliding down his body to rest on his hips, he quietly moaned and gave in to the pleasure that he began to experience. Dave smiled against his skin. “Do you mind if I try something? If you don't like it, I’ll stop.”
“Okay,” he managed to answer.
“Y - yes,” he whispered.

Dave used his left hand to gently take hold of Klaus’ member and noticed when he tensed. “Do you want me to...?”
“I, um ... it’s ... different,” he mumbled lamely.
“Good or bad?”
“Good,” he replied after a moment. “This is okay.”
“You’re calling the shots, love. I won’t do this if you don't want me to.”
“Well, uh...” He blushed deeply. “You’re already touching me, and it does feel nice. I’m willing to see what it’s like.”
“I’ll start out slow.” The agent languidly stroked him, concern lacing his features when the seance fell silent. “Klaus?”
“Dave,” he sighed out as if his lover’s voice brought him out of his trance.
“Are you okay?” He slowed down to a near stop.
Keep going,” he pleaded.
“Of course, babe.”

Soft moans filled the bathroom as Klaus brought his right hand up to rest on the back of Dave’s neck while he was fondled. Occasionally, the agent rubbed his thumb over the tip and whispered a series of praises and I love yous. Unaware of how much time had passed as he’d been lost in a haze of pleasure, the seance forced himself to speak. “I think I’m close.”
“It’s all right,” the agent murmured, lips against the hollow of his throat. “I’ve got you, angel.”
“Dave,” he whispered as he released, shivering at the way it felt. The agent slowly pulled his hand away from Klaus’ shaft and leaned his head against the edge of the tub as the seance slumped against his chest; he brought his hand down to rest on his and worked to relax his breathing.

“How do you feel, angel?”
“Euphoric,” he panted. “How are you?”
“I could say the same.” He exhaled audibly. “I’ve never done that before.”
“Well...” Klaus shifted to face him. “I’ve never had one before, but I enjoyed it, and I’m glad my first was from you.”
“Hm, are you saying you think I’m good with my hands?” he teased.
“Uh...” He laughed nervously. “You’re amazing with your hands.”

After exchanging several heated kisses, Dave flipped open the drain and brushed Klaus’ damp curls away from his forehead. “What do you think about slipping into something warm and getting cozy under the covers?”
“I’d like that,” he murmured, “a lot.”
“Come on, angel.”

The agent stood, grabbing two towels off the rack as he did, and secured one around his waist while handing the other to his companion. He stepped out of the tub and, after the seance had tied his own towel, extended his hand toward him. With a smile, Klaus accepted it, and stood on his toes to give the agent a passionate kiss, mumbling, “I love you,” against his lips.
“I love you, too.” He let his hands graze over his lover’s rib cage and rest above the towel.
“Do we have to wear clothes to bed?” he asked before he’d realized it. Bright red and flushed, he stuttered, “Uh ... I mean ... I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking with my upstairs brain...”
“It’s okay, angel,” he laughed, bringing a hand up to his cheek. “I suppose clothing is optional. I’ll light a fire.”
“Mm, that sounds fantastic.” He pressed another kiss to his lips. “I’ll warm the bed up.”

He returned the kiss and, together they left the bathroom, simultaneously tossing their towels into the hamper. While Dave worked to bring the fire to life, Klaus crawled into bed, cocooning himself in the blankets, and kept his eyes on his boyfriend. He admired his toned body and, as his cheeks reddened, a quiet, desperate-sounding whimper escaped the back of his throat. Embarrassed by his behavior, he buried himself under the covers completely, shivering when the opposite side of the bed became occupied and he was joined beneath the blanket nest. Klaus opened his eyes and smiled. “Hi.”
“Hello, yourself.” Dave brushed the hair from his face. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” He averted his gaze, aware that he was still blushing. “I might’ve been checking you out while you were lighting the fire...”
“Oh, really?” he chuckled, placing his index finger below his chin.
“Mhm...” Reluctantly, he looked up and nodded while fidgeting with the sheets.
“We may both be new at this, but we’re learning together.” He chose his next words carefully. “I know that some things will be difficult for you, and that’s okay, sweetheart. I’ll be here for you no matter what, and I’ll never belittle you for not being ready for something. A relationship is a partnership where both people should feel safe, comfortable and happy. I love you, Klaus, so much, and I always will.”

Emotion poured into the seance, and, as tears steadily dripped down his cheeks, he sank into Dave’s open arms. He was confused as to why he felt like he needed to be close to his boyfriend as he’d never experienced it with his ex. He narrowed it down to what he’d received from the agent during their bath. Euphoric , he reminded himself. “I love you, too,” he said as his voice cracked. “You’ve been nothing but kind, gentle and patient with me, and I never thought I’d know what it was like. I’ve been around so much negativity that I was practically brainwashed to believe I was a waste of time and space and unworthy of love. I hit a point in my life where I stopped ca -”

Dave cut him off with a soft kiss to his lips. “Shh, my sweet angel,” he whispered as he caressed his back. “I’ve got you. Where are you right now?”
“The bedroom,” he answered brokenly.
“What’s one thing you hear?”
“The crackling fire.”
“Good.” He smiled. “What do you see?”
“You.” He returned the smile and nuzzled his neck. “My beautiful agent.”
“There you are,” he softly spoke, cradling his head. “Want me to make you some tea?”
“No,” he replied, voice muffled against his chest, “too comfy.”
“Rest, angel,” he hummed, “I’ll be here when you wake. I love you.”
“Love you, too,” he mumbled incoherently, sleep already consuming him.

Klaus drifted off to sleep quickly, but Dave remained awake for a while as he ran his fingers through his hair tenderly. He heard his phone ringing, recalling he’d left it in his pocket; he decided to let it go to voicemail and closed his eyes, falling asleep within minutes. Hours later, he woke abruptly, realizing almost immediately that it was dark, to the window rattling; he glanced toward it to see snow flurries flying past, dancing in the wind, and shivered instinctively. He looked at the sleeping form beside him, suddenly aware that he and Klaus had chosen to remain undressed, and blushed despite himself. He kissed the seance’s forehead and closed his eyes only to open them when he felt him waking up.

Chapter Text

“Hey, angel,” he quietly said, “it’s snowing.”
“Mm, what time is it?” He snuggled into him, keeping his eyes closed.
“Fifteen after eleven. How’d you sleep?”
“I feel rested,” he giggled as he opened his eyes, “but now we’re probably going to be up all night. Did you sleep okay?”
“Yeah, I did.” The agent laughed, too, and slid closer to him, taking his hand. “I’d suggest a snowball fight, but it’s quite windy, and…” He trailed off.
“You don’t want to get dressed, do you?” Klaus teased.
“Not really,” he admitted modestly.
“I’m not opposing.” He winked. “I’m enjoying the view.”

At that comment, Dave’s face turned bright red, and he was thankful that the room was too dark for Klaus to notice. He trembled when he felt his lover’s fingertips lightly dancing along his rib cage, gradually advancing toward his abdomen. A soft sigh escaped as the scar was grazed, and he clutched the bed sheets. Giving into the intimacy, he relaxed his body and closed his eyes as soft lips brushed against his neck. “Klaus...”
“Yes, darling?”
“Feels good,” he breathed out.

The seance hummed against his skin as he trailed his lips over Dave’s chest until he reached the scar, taking extra care to kiss every inch of it. The agent was falling apart at how gentle Klaus was, and bliss washed over him. He clutched the sheets with his right hand and searched the darkness for his companion’s hand with his left, sighing contentedly when their fingers linked. “Angel,” he exhaled.
“All right?” He studied his face.
“May I...?”
“Please,” he panted, knowing what he was asking.

Cautiously, Klaus reached between Dave’s legs and gently took hold of his erection; as he began to stroke slowly, he kissed his face, delighted when his moans broke the silence. To make things more sensual, he hovered over his body as he continued the gentle motions, feeling lustful at how much the agent was enjoying being touched. His lips were met with desperate kisses, and he returned them while massaging the tip of his length. The agent whimpered into his mouth and tightly squeezed his hand, undergoing an intoxicating sensation. With a shudder, his right hand found its way to Klaus' lower back, fingernails digging into the flesh as he released and sighed out his name. “How was that, sweetheart?” Klaus asked, curling up beside him.
“You’re incredible,” he answered breathlessly, dragging the covers up to their waists. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

While their bodies relaxed and they came down from their high, they remained snuggled up together, eventually succumbing to sleep; the following morning, Dave woke to the sun brightly shining in through his window. He checked the time and sighed - it was much earlier than he’d anticipated - before rolling over to face Klaus, careful not to wake him. He brushed the hair from his face, kissed his forehead, and then retreated into the bathroom to find his phone. Upon removing it from his pants pocket, he unlocked the device and had two missed calls from the previous night from his mother as well as a worried text message that had been sent an hour ago. Guiltily, he slipped back into bed as he called her.

She picked up within seconds. “Hi, baby. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m all right.” He kept his voice low to avoid disturbing Klaus. “I’m sorry I didn’t answer your calls, mom. The trial was yesterday.”
“I was worried when I didn’t hear from you. How did everything go?”
“Reginald got sent to prison for the rest of his life, and, because he chose not to leave a will, his children inherited his mansion and his money. Klaus and I were sorting out the paperwork last night...” He hated lying, but he couldn’t tell her what was really going on. “We have to make a bank run today to get everything set up so he can access the money at any time. How are you?”
“I’m well.” He could hear the smile in her voice. “I’d like to visit you and Klaus if possible.”
“I’d like that. I miss you, but I’m not sure if corporate will let you stay at the safe house. They’re aware Klaus is here, and they’re not happy about it. They’ve referred to him as a liability and have given us two weeks to find a place of our own or go hotel hopping as long as I agree to cover the cost.”
“They won’t pay for your travel expenses anymore?”
“Doesn’t sound like it.”
“I’m sorry, honey.”
“It’s okay. We’ll figure something out. When were you thinking of visiting?”
“I can book a flight as early as this afternoon and be there by evening if that’s all right.”
“Yeah, that actually sounds perfect. Since I’m on leave, I’m going to give Tim a call and see if we can pull some strings so you can stay here instead of in a hotel.”
“You don’t have to do that. I don’t want you to get in trouble.”
“I’m not worried about that, mom. I’ll text you as I find out. I love you.”
“I love you, too, baby. I’m excited to meet Klaus.”
“I can’t wait for you to meet him either. You’ll love him.”
“Be safe out there. I’ll see you later.”
“Okay, mom.”

As soon as they ended the call, Dave sent Tim a text message.

D: Hey boss, mom wants to visit me and Klaus. Think she can stay at the safe house with us?
T: How long?
D: Just during my leave.
T: I won’t tell if you won’t.
D: Look at you, going against corporate’s orders.
T: It’s the least I can do since they’re kicking you out.
D: Thanks, Tim.  

Dave sent his mother a text message to inform her that she could bunk at the safe house before turning toward Klaus. He carded his fingers through his hair and softly pecked his lips until he began to stir. “Five more minutes...” he mumbled.
“Good morning, sleeping beauty.” Dave chuckled. “I love you.”
“Love you, too.” He stifled a yawn. “Sleep well?”
“Yeah, did you?”
“Mhm. What’s on the agenda for today?”
“Quite a bit.”
“Pray tell?”

The agent pressed another kiss to Klaus’ lips. “My mother is going to stay with us for the remainder of my leave. She’ll be here tonight, so here's what I had in mind. We’ll take a shower, I’ll make breakfast, and then we can stop by the bank to set up Reginald’s account for you. When we get back, would you like to help me get the house cleaned up?”
“I’d love to, sweetheart. Shower together or separate?”
“Together okay with you?”
“Yes.” He placed a hand on Dave’s cheek. “It is.”
“Guess we should get out of bed...”
“Come on, love.”

Klaus laughed quietly as he took both of Dave’s hands, easing him up as he slipped out of bed. The agent threaded their fingers together while trudging toward the bathroom; once they were inside, he nudged the door closed with his foot and turned the water on. The steam rose up from the shower floor, and the two wasted no time getting in, sighing contentedly when the hot water rinsed over their skin. They washed thoroughly, brushed their teeth, turned the water off, dried and dressed into something warm before wandering into the kitchen. After deciding on eggs, Dave cooked them, and they ate in silence.

Chapter Text

Glancing out the window, the agent sighed and faced Klaus. “Ready to go to the bank?”
“Yeah.” He reached for the documents they’d need and clutched them. “I’m ready.”
“Shouldn’t take too long. At least I hope it won’t.”
“Too cold for your liking, agent?” He smirked.
“That, and there’s quite a bit of cleaning to do,” he admitted. “I haven’t had much time to get this house in order.”
“That’s okay, sweetheart. I’ll do anything I can to help out. We’ll have it looking fantastic before your mom arrives. We’ve got this.”
“You, my angel, are incredible.”
“You said that last night.” He winked.

Dave blushed and was rendered speechless, causing Klaus to stifle a giggle and kiss his lips chastely. With a chuckle, the agent grabbed the documents, shook his head and exited the house, arm around the seance, and locked the door. They hastily got into the vehicle to escape the freezing air, relieved that they hadn’t been snowed in, and began the trip to the bank. Upon arrival, the car was parked across from the entrance, and the two exited the vehicle and headed inside the bank to be greeted by the branch manager. “Good morning, gentlemen.”
“Good morning.” Dave offered a smile. “Uh, we’re here regarding his father’s account. Do we see you or a teller?”
“You will see me. Please, join me in my office.”
“Thank you.”

They followed him into a small enclosed room and claimed the adjacent chairs opposite the desk. Once the manager was seated, he smiled. “My name is Charlie. How many I assist you today?”
“Recently, his father was incarcerated for the remainder of his life and chose not to leave a will. We were given documents after the trial that we were told we’d need to get the account switched over.”
“Of course, sir.” He glanced at Klaus. “What is your father’s name?”
“Reginald Hargreeves.”
“And yours?”
“Klaus. I have five siblings. Would it be possible to set up the account for them to access, or do they need to stop in here?”
“Do you have all of the documents that they would need with you?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Wonderful. I’ll see what I can do. What are their names?”
“Luther, Diego, Allison, uh ... Five ... and Vanya.”
“May I see the documents?”

Klaus handed them over and enclosed his hand around Dave’s, giving it a slight squeeze, and focused on the manager the documents were reviewed. After a few moments of silence and a series of hmms, he set the papers down, pulled up Reginald’s account on his computer and glanced over it briefly. He folded his hands down on his desk. “Ideally I would have to meet with your siblings in person to set up access for them, but you’re in luck. I was expecting you both. Dave Katz, is it? Your manager faxed me a copy of the trial details yesterday.”
“I’m sorry,” Klaus cut in, “how did you get a copy of that?”
“Court reporter.” He refocused on the seance and smiled reassuringly. “In about fifteen minutes, you as well as each of your siblings will have complete access to your father’s money. The good news doesn’t stop there, though. Reginald seems to have a steady flow of income regularly deposited into his account.”
“How...?” Klaus’ brow furrowed.
“Stocks most likely. When companies do well, he gets a portion of the money. Congratulations to you and your siblings.”
“Thank you.”

Charlie smiled at him before setting everything up and, in under twenty minutes as promised, he spoke. “It’s done. In about seven to ten business days, your siblings will receive bank cards that will be delivered to the mansion. Before I send yours out, are you residing there?”
“No, I recently moved out.” He recited the current address. “I need to update my information.”
“Sounds perfect. Yours has been sent. Is there anything else I can assist you with?”
“I don’t think so. Thanks again.”

The branch manager nodded, shook their hands and, after picking up the documents, Klaus and Dave left the bank and got in the car. The agent cranked the engine to warm it up.“That went by faster than I thought. Want to head back home? Fortunately, I have cleaning supplies. I’ll make some hot cocoa before we start on the house. How’s that sound?”
“Fabulous, love.”
“I guess we’ll have lunch and dinner delivered there to save on time and spare us from having to clean up a ton of dishes. It’d be nice to be able to relax, hm?”
“Yeah, definitely. You, my darling, deserve some rest.”
“I must say that I’m a little anxious to be affectionate with you in front of my mother,” he confessed as he drove out of the bank parking lot and toward home.
“Why? You told me that she loves and supports you.”
“She does, but ... I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with how my dad treated me.”
“It’ll be okay.”

Klaus squeezed his hand reassuringly and frowned, falling silent, unsure of how to comfort him; before he knew it, they were in the safe house’s driveway. Without letting another moment pass, they exited the vehicle and escaped inside the warm home. As soon as the door had been locked, the seance pulled Dave in for a hug. “When’s the last time you saw your mom?”
“Regrettably, not since my injury a few years ago.” He melted into the embrace. “I meant it when I said that’s the most difficult thing about my career. I miss her terribly, and I’d do anything to be able to see her more often. I know she’ll love you and that she isn’t bothered by us, but ... I don’t know how to explain why I’m so on edge. My father was terrible to me, Klaus, and he said awful things. My mom doesn’t know about this, but he told me that the man who attacked me didn’t try hard enough...”
“My love...”

He placed his hands on either side of the agent’s face, and his heart broke when he was met with a pained smile and eyes that fought to keep tears at bay. The seance kissed his face while wrapping his arms around his waist and murmuring sweet nothings to him.  After a few minutes passed, Dave nuzzled Klaus’ neck. “Angel...”
“Your father was wrong for saying hurtful things to you, sweetheart, and you didn’t deserve to be treated that way. It’s okay to be anxious, but, based on what you’ve told me about your mother, I can tell that she, as do I, loves and cares about you so much. Everything’s going to be okay, sunshine.”
“Thank you, darling. I love you.” He placed his hands on his boyfriend’s hips and smiled. “I suppose we should start cleaning this place up.”
“If we’ve got time before your mom arrives, how do you feel about taking a hot bath with me? Tonight, when we’re in bed, I’ll give you a massage.”
“Hmm ... that sounds amazing.”
“Consider it done.”

They exchanged several kisses before parting ways to clean the house. Klaus handled the kitchen and living room while Dave worked on their bedroom and bathroom; they tackled their laundry, the utility room, guest room and guest bathroom together. Around noon, they took a break to eat lunch, and, by dusk, the safe house looked immaculate and smelled pleasantly of citrus. With a drawn out sigh, Dave faced Klaus. “My mom won’t be here for another two hours. Does the offer to take a bath with you still stand?”
“Yes, my beautiful agent, it does.”

Chapter Text

Hand in hand, they entered their bathroom and left the door ajar. Klaus turned the faucet on, adjusted the temperature until the water was pleasantly warm, and then sealed the drain. When the tub was full enough, he turned the nozzle off, and he and the agent removed their clothing simultaneously. The seance lowered himself in first and made sure to leave enough room for his companion. Once Dave was submerged up to his middle chest, he leaned his back against Klaus, shuddering when he felt his fingers graze his flesh. They reveled in the relaxation that swept over them and remained immersed until they were too cold; they allowed the tub to empty as they stepped out, dried off and dressed into something warm before wandering into the living room. Klaus stretched out on the couch, extending his arms for his boyfriend who immediately cuddled up to him. He ordered enough pizza from his phone app to last for at least two nights, and then placed his head on the seance’s chest. 

Klaus caressed his back. “How are you feeling, love?”
“Much better. Thank you, angel, for everything you did to help me today.”
“You’re welcome. How long do we have until your mom shows up?”
“An hour. Pizza will be here in about forty-five minutes.”
“Would it be too risky of me to ask you if you’d like to make out?”
“Probably.” He chuckled. “I might be brave enough to take you up on that in the bedroom. My mother always knocks and waits for authorization before opening my door. Would you like to browse for a cell phone and a laptop while we’re waiting for dinner?”
“Uh, wait ... a computer?”
“Mhm. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Figured you’d enjoy being able to video chat with me while I’m stuck in a hotel during missions. How’s that sound?”
“Sweetheart ... I don’t know what to say. Are you sure?”
“Of course, darling.”
“Thank you so much!” he beamed as he kissed him.
“You’re welcome. When your phone comes in, we can activate it from here, and I’ll help you get your laptop set up with virus and malware protection and get it connected to the WiFi if you need assistance.”
“Okay. Thank you again, Dave. I really appreciate it.”
“Anytime, angel.”

Dave had left his laptop in the bedroom and was too comfortable to get up, so he and Klaus browsed from his cell phone. They first shopped for computers and, when the seance found one equipped with a back lit keyboard and a webcam, the agent added it to the cart; he then navigated to the phones and scrolled through them until a slim touch screen caught Klaus’ eye. After selecting it, he checked out and, once the purchases were confirmed, the doorbell rang. He unwillingly left the couch, plugged his phone in and opened the door as he greeted the delivery personnel. Since he prepaid, he tipped him a few extra bucks, accepted the boxes and bade him a farewell; he nudged the door closed with his heel and set the pizza on the counter. Upon entering the living room, he spotted his boyfriend working to get the fire going. As soon as it was roaring strong, he joined him on the floor and leaned his head on his shoulder. They relaxed in silence, gazing at the dancing flames, until they heard a knock at the front door. The agent kissed Klaus’ cheek, pushed himself to his feet and ambled toward the entryway. After taking a deep breath, he opened the door as emotion flooded into him at the sight of his mother; he embraced her in a hug, concealing his face against her shoulder, and she returned it.

“Hi, baby,” Dorothy whispered.
“Hi, mom.” Dave’s voice quivered. “I missed you so much.”
“I missed you, too, honey.”
“How have you been?”
“I’m well. Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I’m sorry. I didn’t think this reunion would be so emotional for me...”
“Don’t apologize for that,” she soothed. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, mom.” He pulled away and picked up her bag. “Come on in. Pizza was just delivered, and we’ve got a fire going.”
“Smells great in here,” she commented as she stepped inside and removed her coat.
“We spent most of the day cleaning.” He locked the door and set her bag down. “Would you like to meet Klaus?”
“I’d love to.”
“He’s in the living room.”

Dorothy matched his stride and smiled as her eyes fell on Klaus sitting on the couch. When he noticed her, he stood up and met her halfway, halting in front of the fireplace. Once introductions were complete, the three of them retreated into the kitchen and dug into the pizza before returning to the living room. Dorothy claimed the left end of the couch while Dave and Klaus took the right; after they ate, they stacked their plates on the coffee table and agreed on a movie. The agent stared awkwardly at the screen, wanting to cuddle with his boyfriend, but unpleasant memories of the way his father treated him resurfaced. His mother picked up on his anxiety and reassured him that it was okay, and, with a timid smile, he placed his head in the seance’s lap; his stresses caught up to him quickly, and he didn’t fight the sleep that wormed its way in.

About an hour into the film, Klaus looked down at Dave and brushed his cheek. “He’s sleeping.”
Dorothy glanced at the time, noting how early in the evening it was. “He must have been exhausted. I’ll turn the movie off, douse the fire and take care of the dishes. Think he’d be more comfortable in the bedroom?”
“Probably, but I don’t have the heart to wake him. He’s been dealing with so much over the last few days.”
“I worry about him,” she admitted as she knelt on the floor next to her son. “He often puts his job before his own needs, and there are times where I think his boss doesn’t recognize when he could use a break. I’m not happy that he sustained injuries, but I’m glad that he’s been granted a leave of absence. He deserves to rest. I’ll bring you both some blankets and a pillow.”
“Thank you.”

She took care of everything, wandered down the hall into Dave’s bedroom and removed the quilt from the bed among one pillow before reentering the living room to see that Klaus had repositioned himself. He was now lying on his back and had the agent nestled up against his chest; she smiled at the sight, draped the blanket over them both and handed the pillow to the seance. As he placed it on the couch arm, Dorothy leaned down to kiss her son’s forehead and wished Klaus a goodnight before fetching her bag and retreating to the guest bedroom. He whispered a response to her and made sure to keep the agent close to him as he dozed off.

Hours later, the seance woke to the wind howling through the trees and snow blasting by the window. Instinctively, he shivered and wrapped himself and his companion up in the quilt similar to a cocoon. He watched the flurries for a while before kissing the agent’s lips delicately; he caressed his rib cage, contemplating on turning the heat up, but he didn’t want to risk waking him. After some time had passed, he returned to sleep, comforted by the body heat radiating from his boyfriend. The next morning, he stirred and mumbled to the sun peeking through the frosty window to go away as he rolled into Dave. He cringed and hoped he didn’t disturb his slumber, relieved when he realized he hadn’t. He was about to kiss him when he heard rustling about in the kitchen.

Dorothy stepped into the living room. “Good morning, Klaus. Did you sleep all right?”
He shifted just enough to look at her. “Snow storm woke me up, but, other than that, yeah. How about you?”
“It woke me up, too, but the guest bed is quite comfortable. Is he still asleep?”
“Yeah. What time is it?”
“A few minutes after eight. Would you like me to light the fire and make coffee and breakfast?”
“If it’s no trouble. May I assist?”
“I’ll handle it.” She smiled warmly. “You stay with him.”

She got the fire going before returning to the kitchen to busy herself with cooking eggs, sausage and waffles while the coffee brewed. The aroma woke Dave, and he nuzzled into Klaus as he listened to the crackling fire. He ran his fingers through his curls, intertwined their legs and slowly kissed his face, memorizing him; occasionally, he murmured how much he loved him. The seance giggled, welcoming the affection, and leaned into him. The tender moment was severed when Dave’s mother entered the room with two mugs of coffee and cleared her throat. Startled, the agent looked up, blushed crimson red and hid his face in the crook of Klaus’ neck as arms secured around him. Dorothy set the mugs on the table and squeezed her son’s shoulder.

“Honey, it’s okay. I promise. Please don’t let what your father did to you deter you from being affectionate with Klaus while I’m here. I love you, and I’ll always support you no matter what.”
“I know.” He sighed and reached for her hand as he looked up. “He was so terrible to me, mom, and sometimes those bad memories come knocking at the worst times.”
“Come here.” She pulled him in for a hug. “Sweetie, listen to me. Your father is a difficult man, but that doesn’t excuse his hostility toward you. You’re his son, and he should love and accept you for who you are. I’m sorry he can’t see how wonderful and kind you are, but you’ll always have me. I love you so much, baby.”
“I love you, too, mom.”
“You’ll always have me, too,” Klaus hummed. “I love you, sunshine.”

A few tears slid down Dave’s cheeks as he was overcome with emotion at the love and support he received from the two most important people in his life. His mother sat with him for a few moments before kissing his forehead. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” he mumbled, wiping his tears away. “Thanks, mom.”
“You’re welcome, honey. Breakfast is almost ready.”
“Okay.” He nodded and smiled as he shifted to lean on Klaus while Dorothy retreated back into the kitchen.

The agent nuzzled Klaus’ neck and closed his eyes, taking comfort in the warmth radiating from the fireplace and his boyfriend. The seance kissed his forehead and, unbothered by the silence, enjoyed the company. Ten minutes later, Dorothy entered the living room with a tray of three plates of food as well as three glasses of orange juice and set it on the coffee table. She sat beside her son and clutched his hand as he opened his eyes and smiled at her. With her free hand, she brushed his hair away from his forehead; he squeezed her hand, sat upright and began eating along with her and Klaus. The remainder of the day proved to be uneventful, although, at one point, Dorothy left to purchase some groceries for her son and his boyfriend to get them through their two week stay. She made sure to have enough nonperishable items on hand as well in case they got snowed in. When evening fell, everyone called it a night and retreated to their bedrooms. After they had closed their bedroom door, showered and changed into fleece pants, Klaus took Dave’s hand to stop him from getting into bed and smiled softly. The agent returned, threaded his fingers through his boyfriend's and pressed a lingering kiss to his forehead. He leaned into it with his eyes closed and hummed contentedly.

Chapter Text

Klaus murmured, “I believe I owe you a massage.”
“Is that so?”
“Mhm. Would you like one?”
“I could probably use one, especially after I was attacked.”
“Go ahead and get comfortable, love.”
“Yes, sir.”

Dave sprawled out on the bed on his stomach while Klaus straddled his lower back, causing him to shiver. The seance froze and raised a brow. “All right? I can sit off to the side.”
“Yeah, I’m good. Sorry, I just wasn’t expecting it.”
“Sure you don’t want me to sit on the bed?”
“No, it’s okay. I’ve never had a massage before,” he admitted. “I might be a disaster.”
“Don’t you worry, sunshine, I’ll do what I can to make you feel better, and I’ll try to be gentle. If I hurt you, please tell me.”

Klaus began by using the flat of his hands to press down on the muscles of his lower back, eliciting a groan from the agent. He continued to work, applying pressure where he needed to, and loosened up some tension. He moved his hands up to his shoulder blades, pressed his thumbs into them and winced as he felt the knot in his left one. Carefully, he massaged it as gently as possible, and the agent flinched and drew in a sharp breath as pain shot through him. The seance immediately pulled his hand away. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. I didn’t realize how tender it was.”
“Do you want me to stop?”
“Not really.”
“I’ll try to be more gentle.”

He adjusted his position and used the flat of his hand instead of his thumb to relieve some of the pain, and Dave began to relax. Occasionally, he winced, but he urged Klaus to keep going as he could tell it was loosening up. After about twenty minutes had passed, the seance rested his hand on his shoulder. “Feel better, or do you want me to continue?”
“I feel a lot better, angel. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”
“Um ... could you...?”
“Oh, right, sorry.”
“No, I - I meant could you lift yourself up a bit so I can roll onto my back?”
“Mm, agent, are you implying you want to make out?”
“With your mother just down the hall?” he teased.

They both laughed, and Klaus lifted himself up so Dave could roll over; they smiled at each other, and the seance leaned down to kiss his neck. Automatically, he tilted his head back into the pillows and rested his hands on the small of his back. When his companion’s lips brushed over a sensitive spot, a quiet moan escaped, and he allowed his hands to roam over his body and tried to reposition himself again. Klaus shifted so that Dave could wrap his legs around his waist and continued the soft kisses, gradually finding his way to his lips; the kisses grew intense, but they both made sure to keep themselves in check. They didn’t have anything they’d need to take their relationship further, and they had a guest; they knew they didn’t need to rush into anything, but they agreed that it would be best to wait until they had the house to themselves. When their breath was heavy and their kisses turned to chaste ones as sleep began to creep up on them, they brought their make out session to a close, curled up beside each other and dozed off. When morning arrived, Dave rubbed his eyes and pressed lazy kisses to Klaus’ face until he began to wake up.

“Good morning, angel,” he whispered against his skin.
“G’morning,” he mumbled sleepily. “How do you feel?”
“Not as tense. Thank you for everything you did for me last night.”
“It was my pleasure, sunshine. I love you.”
“I love you, too. Want to take a shower?”
“Hmm ... I don’t know. Do I dare shower with my sexy agent with his mother just down the hallway in the spare bedroom?”
“You’re killing me. Do you know that?”
“Mm, we can’t have that, can we? Come on, my love, let’s shower together.”

Without letting another moment pass, they slipped out of bed, escaped into the bathroom and nudged the door shut. While the water warmed up, they exchanged a few kisses as they stripped out of their clothing; they stepped into the shower and held onto each other as the hot water washed over their bodies, soothing their muscles. More gentle kisses were swapped as they bathed each other’s skin and hair before they turned the nozzle off and dried themselves. They exited the bathroom, dressed into something comfortable and padded down the hall as the aroma of coffee and pancakes grew stronger. 

Dorothy, while serving up breakfast, smiled warmly. “Good morning, boys. How did you sleep?”
“Perfect,” they answered simultaneously.
“Mom?” Dave spoke up. “I appreciate your help, but you don’t have to make our meals. You’re our guest. We should be cooking for you.”
“I know, honey.” She set the dishes in the sink and hugged her son. “I enjoy cooking for you both though. A mother will always cook for her children and their companion no matter the age.”
“I love you.” Dave returned the hug.
“I love you, too.” She rubbed his back and kissed his cheek.

After breakfast, Klaus and Dave handled the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen and spent the remainder of the day relaxing at the safe house with Dorothy. Nobody had a desire to venture out into the snow as the storm blanketed the yard in a thick layer. Sometime in the afternoon, the doorbell rang and, much to Dave’s surprise, Klaus’ bank card, laptop and cell phone arrived earlier than they were supposed to. He thanked the postal worker and closed the door; before he joined his boyfriend and mother on the couch, he turned the heat up and lit the fire. They watched movies to pass the time until night fell and, after good nights were exchanged, they retreated to their bedrooms. Dave and Klaus spent a short portion of the evening activating the cell phone and setting up the laptop; when everything was finished, they went to sleep, curled up in each other’s arms.

As the days passed and Dave’s leave grew closer to ending, his anxiety peaked at the idea of hotel hopping. His mother did her best to console him, but what he didn’t know was that Klaus had been spending each night after he’d fallen asleep scouring the web for a house to purchase with Reginald’s money. Miraculously, after a week of searching, a single story rustic house surrounded by beautiful forestry caught his eye, and he scanned through the photographs. It had an open floor plan with a fully equipped kitchen and combined dining room with a solid oak bar and two matching chairs. The great room had a marble fireplace and wall mounted flat screen; down the short hallway was a fully furnished bedroom with its own marble fireplace, television and adjoining bathroom. Between the great room and hallway were oak steps leading up to an oversized loft. Klaus immediately fell in love with the layout; it was complete with a stone fireplace, a forty inch flat screen, a  dome skylight that revealed the stars and a bathroom which included a large walk-in shower and a ceramic bathtub large enough for two. To bring it all together, an attached glass enclosed deck outfitted with an in ground jacuzzi with a stone border, a stone fire pit and a gazebo was easily accessible via a door at the far left end of the loft. It was exquisite in every sense of the word, and the seance knew he needed to be the one to own this house. Based on how much Dave expressed his love for scenery, he also knew that he’d like it, too.

He checked to make sure his boyfriend was still asleep, and then read the information to discover that it had been remodeled and upgraded with new appliances, including the jacuzzi, gazebo and fire pit. All he had to do was purchase several things for the great room and furniture and decor for the loft; he knew that the agent would love converting it into their bedroom. Without wasting any more time, he contacted the realtor and, after being extra careful to keep it under the table in case his boyfriend woke, had the complete payment transferred to the company. He received a text message confirming the purchase and that it would take thirty days to close. Unfortunately, that meant they would have to stay in hotels until then, but at least they had a place they could call home. He couldn’t wait for Dave to see it.

Chapter Text

Dorothy returned home the morning before her son’s last day of leave. He and Klaus packed all of their belongings, and a hotel was booked once he confirmed with Tim where the next mission was. When evening fell, they showered together and cuddled up in bed, but the seance was anxious to reveal his surprise. He opened up his laptop, navigated to the bookmarked page and fidgeted with his pants while it loaded. As soon as the images came into view, he nudged Dave gently.

“I have something for you, sunshine.” Klaus brushed the hair from his face.
“Hm?” Dave repositioned himself to rest his head on the seance’s chest. “What’s this?”
“I’ve been searching for a house that we could call our own.” He began to scroll through the pictures. “I purchased this one last week. It’s been remodeled and everything is included except a few things for the living room ... and I had it in my head that we could convert the loft into our bedroom.”
“Purchased it?” He sounded surprised.
“Mhm. I used Reggie’s money. We own it, my love.”
“Klaus, I don’t know what to say...” He stared in awe at each picture, mesmerized at the sheer beauty of the house. “It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”
“Wait until you see the loft.”

He clicked on the first photo and scanned through them until he reached the one with the glass dome ceiling. That was all it took for Dave to carefully push the laptop aside, straddle Klaus and pepper his face with kisses. “I love it, angel, and I love you so much. I can’t thank you enough. It’s beautiful. You’re beautiful.”
“I love you, too, darling.” He rested his hands on his hips. “It’ll take about thirty days to close, so we’ll have to crash in random hotels until then, but I can arrange something with the realtor if you’d like to have a tour of it. Would you like to browse for some furniture? I’m not too familiar with the online shopping thing, but I think we can set a delivery date to reflect when we can move in.”

Dave curled up beside him and placed the computer back on his lap with a nod. “Should we start with the living room first?”
“We’ll start with any room you’d like.” He kissed the top of his head. “Do you have a specific website you’d like to browse?”
“Not at the moment, but I love how rustic the house is. What do you think about furniture that coincides with it?”
“I think that’s a fabulous idea, love.”
“You’re incredible. I never thought I’d have my own place. Thank you again, angel.”
“You’re welcome, love. You deserve it.”
“We deserve it.”

Klaus smiled and typed rustic furniture in the search bar; together they browsed until they found an aged dark brown leather couch and a matching ottoman. They added a teak root coffee table with a glass top, a dark blue knit blanket and a few throw pillows to their cart to compliment the room. Eager to explore their options for the loft, the seance navigated to bedroom decor and shopped beds first. Once they’d selected a dresser, a king size and four fluffy pillows, they picked out dark blue satin sheets and shams as well as a black satin comforter with dark blue trim and a black fleece blanket for those winter nights. Next, they selected two teak root end tables, two Himalayan salt rock lamps and salt rock string lights for their wall as well as a dark blue faux fur rug. The final room to decorate was the bathroom; they chose a dual tree stump table, an oak cabinet, bath fizzies, scented candles and dark blue towels and a matching bath mat, made sure the delivery date reflected the move in date and checked out.

Dave met Klaus’ gaze and pecked his lips. “I love you, Klaus.”
“I love you, too. What time are we getting up tomorrow?”
“Five. Corporate wants us out as early as possible.”
“That’s unfortunate. I might miss this place a little, but it’s exciting that we have our own place now, huh, sunshine?”
“Mhm. I’m not sure how long I’ll be on my mission, but I’d love to tour it as soon as I’m able. I don’t think I can wait thirty days to see it.”
“I’ll definitely set something up. Is your colleague joining you this time?”
“Yeah. I’m hoping we’ll be able to get in and out. Based on what Tim told me, it shouldn’t be anything too tough. We have to confront someone about illegally selling certain things to minors. Normally, Jack wouldn’t join me on a case like that, but I think my boss is taking extra precautions since I got injured on my last mission. Sometimes sellers can become hostile.”
“When do you have to go?”
“The day after tomorrow. The hotel is a few hours from here, so you can sleep in the car if you’d like, and we can have a lazy day when we get there. Before I booked it, I checked out amenities, and it happens to have an indoor hot tub.”
“Mhm. I doubt too many guests will be bold enough to embrace the cold to get to it. We can take a dip in it if you’re feeling up to it.”
“Hmm ... are you condoning public indecency, agent?”
“It’s not public indecency if no one catches us.”
“Keep at it, and I’ll take you up on that offer.”
“Really?” he murmured while closing the laptop and moving it out of the way. “I’d be more than willing to get steamy with you in a jacuzzi.”
“I won’t argue with that. Dare I say you’re quite good at kissing?”
“What else?” he teased as he pressed his lips to his neck.
Fondling,” he blurted before realizing it.

It was late, and Dave knew he should rest to avoid being tired during the following day’s drive, but he ignored the time and hovered over Klaus. Slowly, he kissed his bare chest and abdomen, grazing his lips over his sternum and rib cage. The seance gripped the bed sheets and sighed out his boyfriend’s name; he recently discovered that he absolutely loved body worship. The agent hummed against his skin, “Shower?”
“Y - yes...” It didn’t matter they’d already taken one; neither of them felt like washing the sheets in the middle of the night. “Please.”

In a fluid motion, he scooped Klaus up into his arms and carried him into the bathroom as he kissed him. The water was adjusted to a pleasantly warm temperature and clothing was shed too quickly, but, as soon as they set foot into the shower, they slowed down. The agent began exploring Klaus’ body, kissing his favorite places, and stopped when he was at his waist. He searched his lustful eyes and silently asked for approval before closing his lips around his length. A moan escaped the seance’s throat as he leaned against the wall and searched for something to hold onto, relieved when he felt Dave’s hand grasp his. When the agent swirled his tongue around the tip, he shivered, and his breathing became erratic; it felt good, but his body was having a difficult time processing the pleasure that unexpectedly surged through him. He squeezed his companion's hand and clenched his eyes closed when he heard a soothing voice. “Easy, my darling. Deep, slow breaths. Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” he managed, keeping his eyes shut. “You can continue.”
“All right, angel. You’re in control here. I’ll stop if you want me to.”
“Okay. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

Dave placed his right hand on Klaus’ hip and steadied him as he began to swirl his tongue over the tip again. As the seance gave in, moans filled the bathroom, and he warned him when he was close. The agent pulled his lips away carefully and rested his head on his boyfriend’s shoulder while whispering in his ear as he stroked him languidly until he finished. Klaus sighed out his name and, had gentle hands not embraced him, he would have slumped against the wall to come down from his high. He tucked his arms close to his own chest and relaxed into Dave as his breathing evened out. When all traces of what had occurred were washed down the drain, the water was shut off; they dried off thoroughly, dressed into warm clothing and curled up in bed, consumed quickly by sleep.

Chapter Text

Morning approached too fast, and the alarm clock blared right on time, startling them awake. With a groan, the agent turned it off and lazily kissed Klaus’ face until he woke and nuzzled into him. After several moments, they reluctantly slipped out of bed, straightened the sheets, changed clothes, brushed their teeth and packed the car. Dave locked up the safe house, slipped the key under a flat rock, sent Tim a text message and, with Klaus by his side, began the journey to the hotel.

He stopped at a cafe’s drive through and ordered breakfast and coffee to tie himself and Klaus over until they arrived at their destination. The ride was silent as they were both tired from going to sleep too late, but they didn’t regret anything about the previous night’s events. A little before nine, the agent pulled into the parking lot, cut the engine and entered the lobby with the seance to check in. Once everything was sorted, they unloaded the car and took their luggage up to their room without bothering to unpack it. They freshened up in the bathroom and took a nap, waking just after noon. Instead of going out for lunch, they agreed to order food from room service and planned to do the same for dinner. The day passed by with haste, and the stars began to show themselves; their original plan had been to check out the hotel’s private jacuzzi, but they’d become too cozy to want to leave the bed. In case he dozed off early, Dave set his phone alarm for six and passed the time by watching television with Klaus until their eyelids grew heavy. After it was turned off, they burrowed under the covers and fell asleep.

When the phone alarm chirped, he rolled over and hastily muted it to avoid disturbing Klaus’ slumber; he tenderly brushed the seance’s curls from his face and lightly kissed his forehead before slipping out of bed and into the bathroom. He showered, took care of his stubble, dried off and dressed into black slacks, a white collared shirt, a black jacket and matching shoes. Once his teeth were brushed and his hair was combed back, he left the bathroom and checked the time. He made his way over toward the bed and leaned down to kiss his boyfriend’s lips and whispered, “I’ll be back soon. I love you.”
“Be safe,” came the sleepy response. “Love you, too.”

Dave left the hotel room and wasted no time getting to his vehicle as the cold wind swirled around his exposed skin. As soon as he was inside the warm cab, he cranked up the engine and met Jack at a seedy bar on the outskirts of town where their suspect had been known to frequent. It was far too early for the bar to be open, and the sun was not up yet. It would be the perfect time for illegal sales to minors to occur. To blend in, should he show up, they made small talk while leaning against the side of the building to shield themselves from the chilly air;  it didn’t provide much shelter, and they shivered, wishing they could observe from their cars. 

Jack shoved his hands in his pockets. “How are you and Klaus doing, Dave?”
“We’re fantastic. I was fortunate to be the one who was sent to investigate him, but it’s not about that anymore. It took a bit for Tim to see that Klaus isn’t a threat, and we did get into it after that staged incident at the cafe, but he’s coming around.”
“I heard about that, and I’m still shocked he’d do something like that. Tell me about Klaus?”“I’ll say the same thing to you that I said to my mom. He’s sensitive, loving and sweet, and he recently purchased us a rustic house with Reginald’s money.”
“Seriously? Wow! That’s wonderful.” He smirked. “Have you gotten steamy with him yet?”
“That’s personal,” Dave mumbled, face reddening, “but yes ... a few times.”
Jack stifled a laugh. “Hope you were prepared.”

Dave’s breath caught, and his response came out jumbled. “I, uh, we ... I mean ...” In that moment, he was grateful for the darkness. “We haven’t gone that far yet.”
“Key word being yet.”
“Sometimes I hate you.”
“Yeah, I know you do, but we wouldn’t be good friends if you didn’t.”
“Please,” he chuckled, “I only put up with you when we’re sent on missions together.”
“Whatever you say, pal. Fifteen years in the making.”
“You’re an idiot. Do you know that?”

They laughed, falling silent as footsteps advanced toward them, and a figure emerged from the shadows, freezing when he spotted the agents. Keeping his distance, he roughly asked, “You fellas here for some goods?”
“As a matter of fact, we are,” Dave spoke up. “Think we can chat somewhere else?”
“No. I do all my business here. You ain’t buying, you leave.”
“I didn’t say I wasn’t buying. I asked if we could chat. What’s your name?”
“I bet. Tell me, drifter, why do you sell illegal items to minors?”

The man attempted to flee, but Jack restrained and handcuffed him before he got too far. Without too much of a struggle, he secured him inside his vehicle. Jack huffed a laugh. “That was easy.”
“I certainly wasn't expecting that. Want me to contact Tim?”
“Nah, I'll handle it. You go back to the hotel and warm up.”
“Thanks, Jack. Drive safe.”
“No problem, man. Take it easy.”

Dave escaped into his vehicle and started the engine, idling it to allow the cab to warm up before driving back toward the hotel. When he spotted a coffeehouse, he turned off the road and took the drive through, relieved that no one was in line; he requested two large hot caramel lattes and a variety pack of pastries, paid and pulled out onto the main road. As soon as he arrived, he parked, cut the engine and hastily made his way up to his room, eager to be out of the cold, but was careful to avoid spilling the coffees. He swiped his key card, opened the door and slipped inside, quietly closing and locking it in case Klaus was still sleeping. He set the pastry box and drink carrier on the bedside table and stretched out in bed behind the seance, draping his arm over his rib cage.

He softly kissed his boyfriend’s face until he began to wake. “Good morning, angel.”
“G’morning,” he mumbled, leaning back against him. “I missed you.”
“And I missed you. It’s far too cold for my liking.”
“I’ll keep you warm. How’d your mission go?”
“Smoother than I thought. Our suspect tried to run instead of put up a fight. I hope this means I’ll have a mini break before the next one so we can at least stay here for a few nights.”
“I’m glad it was an easy one, and I hope so, too.”
“I picked up a box of pastries and a couple of caramel lattes on the drive back here, but I could use a hot shower and comfortable clothes. You’re welcome to dig in if you want.”
“Hm, what if I offered to take a shower with you?”
“Offer accepted.”

After they’d showered and dressed into lounge wear, they stretched out in bed and devoured their coffee and pastries. Due to the cold, neither of them had a desire to venture out in it if they didn’t have to, so they took advantage of room service for meals and had a lazy day. Dave talked with his mother over the phone in the afternoon, and, when early evening approached, exhaustion began to consume him. Lacking the energy to fight it, he drifted off into the void of sleep only to wake in the middle of the night with a headache and congestion. Quietly, he got out of bed, stumbled through the darkness into the bathroom and flipped the light on. He splashed cold water on his face and rummaged through his bag, frowning when he’d realized he didn’t have any cold medication. He removed his shirt and leaned over the sink as a set of arms wrapped around him from behind.

“You feel feverish,” Klaus murmured as he pressed a few kisses to his shoulder.
“I don’t have anything to take either.”
“Did you pack the tea before we moved out of the safe house?”
“I think so.”
“Go back to bed, sunshine. I’ll take care of you.”
“As much as I hate being sick, this most likely means I’ll get another short leave.”
“He better give you a break until you feel better. Might have to conjure up Ben and scare him.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too. Ich liebe dich.”

Chapter Text

Dave stripped down to his boxers and crawled back into bed while Klaus made tea using one of the provided hotel mugs and dampened one of the washcloths with cool water. As soon as he’d finished, he made his way over to the agent, set the mug down and kissed his forehead. He suggested checking out the lobby to see if it contained any cold or flu medication, and, when an agreement was reached, he exited the room. Shortly, he returned with two bottles of medicine and set them on the end table. He stretched out beside his boyfriend and ran his fingers through his hair.

“Yeah?” came the groggy answer.
“You’re in luck. The lobby had a few varieties, so I grabbed two bottles. One’s liquid, and the other is pill. I wasn’t sure if you had a preference.”
“The pills will work. The liquid leaves a weird aftertaste. Thank you, angel.”
“You’re welcome. How was the tea?”
“It was great. Thanks, babe.”
“My pleasure.”

Dave swallowed the recommended dose and curled up in Klaus’ arms, using his chest as a pillow, and fell asleep too quickly. The seance remained awake for a while, sighing when his companion’s cell phone rang. Who calls him this late? he thought as he picked it up and glanced at the caller ID. Tim.

“Hi, Tim,” he said upon answering the phone.
“Klaus? Where’s Dave?”
“He’s sleeping. He’s not feeling well.”
“What’s going on?”
“Came down with a cold.”
“Ah. I hope he feels better. I don’t have an assignment for him. I was calling to congratulate him and Jack for acting so quickly today. Have a good night, Klaus.”
“Thanks, you as well.”

Klaus set the phone on the end table and placed the back of his hand on Dave’s skin, grimacing as he still felt warm. He padded into the bathroom, dampened a cloth, returned to bed and draped it across his forehead. Carefully, he wrapped his arms around him and kept him close to his body before succumbing to sleep himself. When the sun began to rise, the seance woke and rolled over to face his boyfriend; he removed the cloth and gently kissed his cheek before slipping out of bed to wash the mug and freshen up. Upon slipping under the covers, he checked the time and gave him another kiss, content to let him rest for as long as he needed to. Several hours later, the agent stirred and kept his eyes closed while searching for a comforting touch, smiling when he was met with his lover’s hand. 

“How are you feeling, sunshine?”
“Worse than last night. What time is it?”
“Almost eleven. You’re still feverish, but I have an idea that may help you.”
“I’m not sure I have the energy to get out of bed, angel, but what do you have in mind?”
“I’ll run a cool bath and have room service bring up some soup and fresh tea. I’ll stay with you.”
“All right. I think I can manage that.”

The seance secured his arm around Dave, guided him toward the bathroom at his pace and helped him take a seat on the edge of the tub. After double checking that he was all right, he tested the temperature until it was pleasantly cool, but not uncomfortably so. The agent, with his boyfriend’s assistance, removed his clothing and lowered himself into the tub, sighing as the refreshing water lapped at his hot skin. The seance perched on the tub’s rim and used a cloth to wipe the sweat away from his lover’s face. “Tim called last night to congratulate you on a successful mission.”
“Was it late?”
“Yeah. I also told him you’re sick.”
“Hopefully that’ll deter him from setting up another task for me.”
“If he tries, I’ll make sure he knows I’m not letting you leave until you’re feeling better.”
“Thanks, angel. I love you.”
“And I love you.”

Several moments after Dave had been submerged, his phone rang, and he, along with Klaus, sighed audibly. The seance checked who it was and brought it back into the bathroom, claiming his previous position. “It’s your mom.” Klaus held out the phone.
“I’ll take it. She’ll worry if I don’t.” He answered the call. “Hi, mom.”
“Hi, baby,” she replied before pausing. “Are you ill? You sound congested.”
“Yes ... came down with something last night.”
“Do you have medicine?”
“Yeah, Klaus and I aren’t at the safe house anymore. We’re staying in a hotel, and, fortunately, the lobby had some in stock.”
“Are you feverish?”
“I’ve got a mild one.” He truthfully didn’t know how high his temperature was, but he didn’t want her to stress. “We’re working on lowering it. How are you?”
“I’m fine, honey. Please take care of yourself.”
“I’ll be okay, mom. I, um, have some good news...”
“Klaus used his father’s money to buy us a house. I haven’t seen it in person yet, but he showed me photos, and it’s beautiful. It’s everything I ever imagined.”
“That was sweet of him! What’s it like? Does it need anything?”
“It’s a recently remodeled rustic property complete with a glass enclosed deck, an in ground hot tub and a stone fire pit. It’s also got a loft, which we’ve chosen to convert into our bedroom, with a dome shaped skylight.”
“It sounds lovely. I’m so happy for you and Klaus!”
Dave smiled. “I’m considering having a tour of it if possible when I’m feeling a bit better. We move in about a month. We purchased furniture for the loft and the living room to be delivered on the move date, but we haven’t gotten any dishes or silverware yet. All appliances are included.”
“Do you think you’ll have a housewarming party? I’d love to see you both again.”
“We’re not sure, but, if we do, we’d invite you, Jack, and Klaus’ siblings and mom. You’re welcome to come visit us anytime though. I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, honey, and I love you. I’ll let you get some rest. Feel better, sweetie.”
“Thanks, mom. I’ll keep you updated on our house. I love you, too.”

They ended the call, and Dave handed his phone to Klaus, who set it to do not disturb and placed it on the sink. “Is the bed calling your name, sunshine?”
“Yeah, angel, it is.”
“Would you like me to have room service bring up some tea or soup?”
“I probably should have something in my stomach, huh?”
“Do you feel nauseous?”
“A little, but not enough to deter me from eating.”
“Okay. Come on, love, let’s get you dried off and into something warm.”

The seance drained the tub and brought Dave a set of fuzzy socks and pants and a thin t-shirt while he dried himself. The agent got dressed and, as his hand was taken, allowed himself to be guided toward the bed. He burrowed under the covers and immediately snuggled into his companion, grateful for the soothing touches and soft kisses; it was comforting. Room service was called, and, while they waited, Klaus held him close and rubbed his back until there was a knock at the door. He kissed Dave’s forehead and left the bed to bring the food and tea inside; he thanked the staff member, closed and locked the door, and then set everything down on the bedside table.

“Soup and tea is here.”
“What kind of soup did you get?”
“Chicken noodle.”
“That sounds perfect.”
“Thought it’d be the least irritating to your stomach.”
“Probably. Thanks, Klaus, for taking care of me.”
“Of course. I love you.”
“How much?”
“More than anything in all this world.”
“I love you, too, angel, just as much. When I look at you, I see the stars.”
“Dave, I ... I don’t know what to say...”

Teary eyed, Klaus wrapped his arms around the agent and kissed his forehead before shifting so he could eat comfortably. He kept an arm around him while he ate as much soup as he could and downed every ounce of the tea. When he finished, the dishes were placed on the table, and he curled up in his lover’s arms, welcoming the sleep that consumed him; his boyfriend, making sure to keep him close, dozed off soon after. In late afternoon, Dave woke, smiled at the sleeping form beside him and kissed him awake. “Hello, angel,” he hummed.
“Hello, yourself,” he mumbled tiredly, leaning into the kisses. “How are you feeling?”
“Much better. Well enough to tour our new house.”
“Oh?” He opened his eyes. “In that case, let me see if I can set something up.”
“Sounds good. I’ll apologize in advance for distracting you...”
“Distracting me?” He reached for his own cell phone and called the realtor.

While the phone rang, Dave nuzzled Klaus’ neck and kissed him softly in random places, eliciting occasional shivers out of him. When the realtor answered the call, she greeted, “Good afternoon. Bella speaking. How may I help you?”
Klaus worked to steady his voice before responding. “Hi, Bella. This is Klaus Hargreeves. Would it be possible to have a tour today?”
“Yeah, absolutely. My schedule is clear. What time would you like to meet?”
“Um...” He had a hard time focusing as the agent’s lips brushed over a sensitive spot. “We could be there in...” His voice hit a higher octave when the hollow of his throat was kissed. “...two hours.”
“Sounds perfect. Are you okay?”
“Hm? Oh, yeah. Just stubbed my toe.”
“Liar,” Dave murmured with a chuckle.
"Shh.” He covered the phone briefly.
“Ouch. See you soon, Klaus.”

Chapter Text

Dave hovered over Klaus as soon as the call disconnected and continued the kisses while grinding against him, creating friction between the layers of their clothes. The seance’s breath hitched, and he gripped his boyfriend’s arms, and whimpered, “Dave ... as much as I’d l - love to keep at th - this, we have to meet Bella...”
“Mm, I suppose we’ll have to pick up where we left off after the tour, then...”
“We could explore that private jacuzzi.”
“Your wish, my command.”

They exchanged a few more heated kisses before leaving the bed to get ready; as soon as they were dressed, they headed out to the car and drove toward their new home. Drumming his fingers against the steering wheel with anticipation, Dave followed the GPS instructions, anxious to arrive. Klaus leaned over to kiss his cheek, equally excited; he was certain photos weren’t doing it justice. The agent smiled at him and reached for his hand, giving it a slight squeeze, his eagerness growing with each passing minute. When he turned down a beaten path and approached the house, he stopped the car and cut the engine as his eyes widened. Everything he wanted to say caught in his throat, and he could only stare in astonishment until Klaus nudged him gently and gestured toward the waiting realtor. Dave exited the vehicle along with his boyfriend, took his hand and met Bella at the door, unable to contain his elation. 

The realtor shook their hands. “Good afternoon, gentlemen.”
“Good afternoon, Bella,” Klaus spoke up. “Thank you for meeting us on such short notice.”
“My pleasure. Are you ready for your tour?”
“Yes. We’re looking forward to seeing it.”
“You’ve chosen quite the beautiful property, Klaus. Much to everyone’s surprise, we’re shocked that it’s been on the market for as long as it has. Is this your first home?”
“Yeah.” He glanced at Dave. “I’m glad this house was still available.”
“Congratulations on your new house.” She smiled warmly as she unlocked the door. “Are you ready for the tour?”
“Yes,” they answered simultaneously.

Bella opened the door, and, upon stepping inside the house, Dave took in the stunning design and was rendered speechless again. Hand in hand, he and Klaus followed the realtor around; the final area she escorted them to was the loft. Once the three of them were on the enclosed deck, the agent gasped and threw his arms around the seance, peppering his face with kisses. When he pulled back, he let his hands fall to his lover’s waist, and Bella turned her head in the opposite direction to allow them to have their moment.

“It’s even more exquisite in person, angel! Thank you!”
“You’re welcome, sunshine.”
“I can’t wait to move in and start our new lives. Klaus?”
“This is ... it’s beautiful. I love it, and I wish we could move in today.”
“Time will pass quickly, and we’ll be moved in before we know it.”
“I hope so. I can’t thank you enough for this. I never thought I’d have my own place.”
“You already have thanked me,” he whispered, “in so many ways.”
“I love you so much.”
“And I love you. Want to grab some dinner and go back to the hotel?”
“That sounds great, babe.”

Dave and Klaus thanked Bella for her time as she escorted them outside. She nodded and shook their hands once more. “You’re very welcome. I’ll be sure to meet you both here on the official closing date. Have a good evening.”
“You as well,” they responded simultaneously.
“This really is a gorgeous property,” Dave commented.
“It was built with nature in mind.” Bella smiled. “I’m sure you and your partner will enjoy it a lot.”
“Thank you again for your time.”
“Of course.”

They parted ways, and, as Dave made his way back toward the hotel, he smiled at Klaus. “What do you want for dinner, angel? My treat.”
“Yes, darling, anything.”
“Steak, lobster and chicken teriyaki with pasta?”
“That sounds amazing, and I know just the spot. How about some champagne to go with it?”
“You got it.” He squeezed his hand. “I love you, Klaus.”
“I love you, too, Dave.”

When the agent reached the town that their hotel was in, he called the restaurant, placed the order and gave the cashier his card number before disconnecting. Within thirty minutes, they arrived, and Dave parked the car near the side where the pre ordered meals were picked up. He cut the engine and headed inside with Klaus to be greeted by a host. “Good evening. Picking up?”
“Yes. David Katz.”
“Ah. Yes, your order will be up momentarily.”
“Thank you.”

When the host busied himself with other guests, the agent turned toward Klaus and placed his hands on either side of his face gently. “I love you so much, angel, and I’m looking forward to the day we get to move into our new home. I can’t even put into words how happy I am to share my life with you. I truly do see the stars when I look at you.”
“I love you, too, sunshine, more than anything in all this world. Everything you did for me ... I - you rescued me. My knight in shining armor.”

Dave kissed his lips innocently and pulled him in for a hug; the seance melted into his embrace, keeping his face hidden against his chest as he clutched his shirt. As the host approached, he didn’t bother to pull away, taking comfort in the way he was held. The food was placed on the counter along with two bottles of champagne resting in a steel bucket of ice. The agent glanced at the host and smiled as he pulled out a twenty dollar bill. “Would you mind giving this to the chef?”
“Not at all.” The host returned the smile. “Enjoy your meal, gentlemen, and have a lovely evening.”
“Thank you. You as well.”
“Much appreciated.” He nodded and moved onto another guest.
“Angel, are you ready to go back to the hotel?”

Klaus grabbed the champagne bucket and food and followed Dave out to the car, shivering as the chilly wind nipped at his exposed skin. As soon as the vehicle was unlocked, they settled in, and the agent drove back toward the hotel. Upon arrival, they hurried inside the building and escaped into their room, eager to begin eating. The seance set the food and champagne down on the small table, seated himself and opened up the boxes, inhaling the aroma. He removed the plasticware from the bag as well as two champagne glasses, carefully unwrapping the protective layer that they were in. Dave sat beside him. “Would you like to do the honors of opening the bottle?”
“I’d love to.” He picked up the nearest bottle, popped the cap off and filled the glasses up. “Should we make a toast?”
“Hm…” He picked up his glass and smiled. “I think I have one.”
“Yeah?” The seance set the bottle down and lifted his glass. “The floor is yours, sunshine.”
“Here’s to our new home … our new lives … and to us. I love you, Klaus.”
“I love you, too.”

Chapter Text

They clinked their glasses together, kissed each other and took a sip before digging into their dinner, eating as much as they could. Dave placed the leftovers in the room’s mini fridge and returned to his seat, studying Klaus’ face. He glanced at the time - it was later than he’d realized - and raised a brow. “Angel?”
“My offer to take a midnight dip in the private jacuzzi is still open. Would you like to brave the cold and check it out?”
“Hm, let me think about that … Do I want to go to a private hot tub in the middle of the night with this incredibly sexy agent? The answer is … yes!”

Several kisses were swapped as they changed into their swim trunks and wrapped up in the towels; they slipped out of their room and padded silently outside until they came to an enclosed room. Klaus opened the door and, along with his boyfriend, stepped inside and closed the door, relieved that no one was present. Anxious to warm up, they submerged quickly, sighing contentedly as the hot water caressed their skin. Klaus perched onto the second to last step and beckoned for Dave to join him, a seductive smile forming. The agent straddled him and placed his hands on his waist as he kissed him passionately; after several minutes, he trailed his lips over his neck and pressed them to the hollow of his throat. The seance let out a soft whimper and traced the scar on his lover’s rib cage, taking in everything about the intimate moment. He exhaled as he became aroused and grasped his boyfriend’s hips; as the days passed, he was finding it more difficult to refrain from asking if they could take their relationship further. His body was telling him he was ready, but his mind was conflicted as his first time was unpleasant in every sense of the word. Another whimper left his throat, but it sounded distressed, and Dave pulled away to search his eyes.

“Are you all right, angel?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“What are you thinking about?”
“A few things…”
“You can tell me. It’s okay.”
“I’m … I think, maybe, I’m ready to take our relationship further…”
“As in … making love?”
“Yes, but I’m scared that it’ll be painful or that it’ll be like my first time.”
“Sweetheart, I won’t force you, and I’ll stop at any time you want me to. It’s okay to be afraid. You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. If you want to try, we can, but would you be all right with us waiting until we’re not in a hotel? Granted, I don’t have experience, but I’d like to be prepared and make sure we have everything we need to make sure it’s as pleasurable as possible.”
“Okay. We can break in our new bed in our new home beneath the stars.”
Dave smiled softly, kissed his forehead and whispered in his ear, “What do you say we go back to the hotel room and pick up where we’re leaving off?”
“Yeah. I’m, well … you know…”
“Don’t worry, angel. I’ll take care of that.”
“Okay,” he answered desperately.
“Come on, love, let’s go.”

They wasted no time getting out of the jacuzzi and wrapped up in the towels, hastily heading back to their room to escape the cold air. Ben glanced up and raised his brow as soon as the door opened, averting his gaze as they stripped of their clothing and tossed it onto the tile floor. Klaus connected with Dave’s lips, fingers running through his hair.

“Here we go again,” Ben muttered as he stood. “Seems like it’s time for the ghost to check out.”
“Mhm, sorry, mi hermano,” Klaus mumbled in between kisses.
“What?” Dave asked breathlessly.
“Nothing … Ben was here, but now we’ve got the room to ourselves.”
“Your ghost brother?” He blushed.
“Mhm, but don’t worry, sunshine. He never sticks around when we get intimate.”
“Good to know.”

Dave carefully lowered Klaus to the bed as he kissed his neck and took hold of his erection; he slowly stroked him while moans filled the room. After several minutes, he tightened his grip on his boyfriend as he orgasmed and breathed out his name. The agent removed his hand and smiled, whispering out an I love you, while he was gently urged to roll onto his back. “My turn,” Klaus murmured as he leaned over him and kissed his body, exploring him. Dave gave into the pleasure and twisted his fingers in the sheets when he felt his companion’s lips close over his member. The seance placed his hands on his thighs as he swirled his tongue around the head and the tip until his lover was close; he pulled his lips away, crawled up to meet his eyes and massaged him to bring him to release. Too exhausted to shower, they curled up in each other’s arms, dragging the sheets up to their shoulders, and fell into the void of sleep.

The following days passed by at a steady pace as their anticipation to move into their new home grew when the closing date neared. Dave had been assigned a series of simple missions, and he and Klaus traveled to the destinations they were in. As anxious as they were to officially have their own place, it meant that Klaus would no longer be permitted to travel with Dave when he was sent on missions. It bothered them, but they could communicate with each other now that they both had computers and cell phones, and they’d be sure to take advantage of that.

When the closing date neared, Tim contacted Dave and asked him if he’d like three weeks off to get settled in his home, and he agreed. The address was disclosed to his manager as well as his mother, Jack and Klaus’ family. On the closing date itself, Dave and Klaus met Bella out at the property early in the morning and received their keys; she smiled and wished them well before departing. As soon as they stepped inside, they made their way up to the loft and sat outside by the hot tub while they waited for their furniture to arrive. They sat in silence, enjoying each other’s company and the sounds of nature, until the delivery trucks pulled up.

Klaus and Dave met them out front and, together, they worked with the crew to get everything inside so no one was standing out in the cold for too long. Once the items were unloaded and put into the rightful rooms, the staff asked if they’d like assistance constructing anything. After some debate, they decided they’d handle it themselves and thanked them for their time and professionalism. When the trucks were gone, Dave closed and locked the door and, with Klaus’ help, began with the great room. When they moved to the loft and bathroom, time slipped away from them; by the time the bed was set up beneath the dome skylight and everything else was complete, the sun had begun to set.

Dave rested his hands on each side of Klaus’ waist. “We’ve been so busy we forgot to eat.”
“Hm, should we order pizza?”
“That sounds great, angel. I’m too tired to go grocery shopping anyway.”
“Could we eat on the deck?”
“Of course. Ham and pineapple?”
“Ham and pineapple,” he confirmed.

Dave kissed his forehead, placed the order via his phone, took his hand and guided him to the couch. “Even though we just moved in, I feel at home here. I feel at home with you.”
“Yeah. It might sound silly, but most people find comfort in their houses or bedrooms, but I find it with you. I feel at ease when we’re together, angel.”
“I feel at ease when I’m with you, too.”
“I love you so much.”
“Ich liebe dich.”
“I must confess that it’s quite sexy when you speak German.”
“Oh? I’ll be sure to keep that up then.”
“Most definitely.”

Chapter Text

The moment was severed when they heard a knock at the door, confused as to who it could be; it was too early for the food to have arrived. With a sigh, Dave got up to answer it, but no one was there. Arching a brow, he began to close the door when something at his feet caught his attention. He looked down to see a gift basket wrapped in shiny plastic with an attached note; curious, he picked up the folded piece of paper and read it.

Have fun. J.

Suddenly concerned, he put the note back onto the plastic, lifted the basket and examined the items inside, blushing bright red when he realized what they were. It contained various lubricants, a box of condoms as well as a book on how to pleasure one’s partner in bed. I’m going to kill him , Dave thought as Klaus approached and asked, “What’s that?”
“Um … it’s, well, uh…”
“Is it what I think it is?”
“Who’s it from?”
“Jack. My colleague. Apparently he thinks he’s hilarious.”
“There is a bright side to this as awkward as it is. We now have what we’d need...”
“That’s true. I suppose I should put this in the loft before the food gets here and the delivery driver is scarred for life.”
“I’ll wait down here,” he laughed, “in case it gets here early.”

The agent closed the door, chastely kissed Klaus and made his way up to the loft, gift basket in hand. He placed it by the bed and sent Jack a quick text message.

D: Just so you know, you’re not funny.
J: I think I am. What’d you think?
D: I honestly don’t know what to say. Thanks?
J: You’re welcome. Enjoy!
D: This is likely the most awkward housewarming gift I’ll probably ever receive.
J: I’m not even sorry. I’m sure it’ll be getting a lot of use though. ;)
D: Sometimes I really do dislike you.
J: Hey, at least you have it now and didn’t need to go out to get it.
D: True, but it’s strange that it’s from you.
J: I’m sure you’ll forget about that when you and Klaus are in bed later.
D: Ugh. Stop, please. Did you drop it off?
J: Nah, I'm not in the area. I arranged for the local post office to do it.
D: You are so weird.

Sighing, Dave set his phone down on the end table and stared at the basket as his nerves fired up. One step at a time , he told himself while rejoining his boyfriend in the great room, smiling to see him stretched out on the couch. Klaus met his eyes and returned the smile, sliding over to make room for him; he didn’t hesitate to curl up next to him and didn’t move until another knock sounded at the door. He left the couch to greet the delivery personnel and accepted the pizza, being sure to tip extra. He bade him farewell, closed and locked the door, and then returned to his lover. They relocated to the deck, ate slowly in silence and retreated to the kitchen to get everything cleaned up.

“Angel?” Dave questioned, searching Klaus’ eyes.
“Yes, sunshine?”
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yes. I think so.”
“If you’re having second thoughts, we don’t have to.”
“I am nervous,” he admitted, “but I feel like I’m ready. Are you…?”
“I’m nervous, too, but we don’t need to rush into it, and I won’t pressure or force you. We’ve got all the time in the world. What do you say we take a shower together first to help us relax?”
“All right. I trust you, and I love you.”
“I love you, too, so much.”

They climbed the steps up to the loft and, upon spotting Ben perched on the edge of the bed, Klaus blushed deeply. Number Six observed him momentarily, cast a glance at Dave and smirked knowingly at his brother before vanishing. Stifling an awkward laugh, he followed his boyfriend into the bathroom, and they stared at each other sheepishly. The agent exhaled a shaky breath, reached for the nozzle, adjusting the temperature to a pleasant one, and connected his lips to the seance’s.

Instinctively, Klaus melted into him, and clothing was shed at a moderate pace and tossed to the corner. As they entered the walk in shower and the hot water soothed their skin, Dave intensified his kisses, and, with a content sigh, the seance found himself against the wall. He let his hands wander, exploring his boyfriend’s body, feeling every muscle, and shivered as a sensitive spot on his neck was kissed. They occupied the shower for a while, discovering where and how they most enjoyed being touched before taking things to their room.

Dave lowered Klaus to the bed gently, searching his nervous eyes. “Are you sure you want to?”
“Yes … I mean, I think so…”
“If you’re unsure, we can cuddle instead.”
“I want to, but … could you … um … be gentle with me?”
“Of course, angel. You’re calling the shots here. Are you ready?”
“As ready as I can be. I love and trust you.”

The agent hovered over Klaus as he pushed the plastic away from the basket and reached for a bottle of lubricant. As he applied it, making sure his boyfriend was prepared too, he maintained eye contact while lining himself up. He balanced his weight with his left hand and used his right hand to caress the seance’s face as he began to penetrate. When he was about halfway in, he stopped and asked, “You okay?”
“I’m … yes, I’m all right.”
“Mhm. Are you?”
“Yeah. Do you want me to?”
“Wrap your legs around my waist, angel.”

Klaus obliged as Dave cautiously began to thrust, experimenting with different angles and depths, until he made contact with his boyfriend’s prostate. The sensation was intense, and he was urged to keep going; while it was stimulated, the seance’s toes curled, and he clawed at his shoulders and back as waves of pleasure surged throughout his body. His moans permeated the bedroom as his orgasm approached, and he whimpered his lover’s name, clinging to him. The agent maintained his pace and whispered sweet nothings into his companion's ear as he carded his fingers through his hair and brought him to climax. Several moments later, he released, his boyfriend's name rolling off his tongue, and gradually brought his movements to a halt. Carefully, he pulled out, cradled him close to his chest and pressed random kisses to wherever he could reach. While they worked to catch their breath, Klaus trembled against him as quiet sniffles escaped his throat.

Concern etched its way onto the agent’s face, and he softly spoke. “Hey, sweetheart, are you crying?”
“No...” His response sounded weak, and he knew he wouldn’t fool his boyfriend.
“Klaus, look at me please?”
“I’m fine…”
“Angel, please talk to me. Did I hurt you?”
“No, it’s not that. You were incredible. It’s … well, it’s stupid…”
“Whatever’s on your mind, I’m sure it’s not. You can tell me anything without fear of judgement.”
“Dave, I don’t … I didn’t know sex could be like that. It was soft and gentle, and you were so sweet. It was everything I ever imagined that my first time should have been like…”
“My darling,” he murmured, kissing his face, unsure of what to say, “I love you so much, and I’ll always be here with you and for you no matter what.”

Chapter Text

The seance sank into Dave and nuzzled him, intertwining their legs, as the comforter was dragged up to their waists. As he relaxed in his lover’s arms and came down from his high, his breathing evened out, and the trembling subsided. The agent hummed quietly to him while running his fingers through his hair until he was certain he’d fallen asleep; keeping him close to his body, he drifted off as well only to be woken the following morning to tender, lazy kisses. He leaned into them and pulled the blanket over their heads to hide from the sun.

“Good morning, sunshine,” Klaus whispered.
“Good morning, angel.” He rested his hand over his rib cage. “How do you feel?”
“Fantastic. Last night was wonderful in every sense of the word. You were amazing.”
“I was, hm? So were you.”
“Everything about it was intimate. Um, do you think we could…?”
“In the shower?”
“I’ll meet you there.”

Dave kissed his lips, took a bottle of lubricant into the bathroom and prepared the shower as Klaus sat up and stretched. Ben reappeared and smirked. “Morning, Klaus. Sounds like last night was a lot of fun.”
“Christ on a cracker! Don’t scare me like that, ghost boy.”
“I’d apologize, but I did have to hear you and him, so I’m not going to. The hotel offered more room to wander whenever the two of you got steamy.”
“That’s fair,” he mumbled, embarrassed, “but you may want to excuse yourself again…”
“Enough said. Enjoy.”
“Shut up, Ben … said with love.”

Number Six winked as he dissipated, and Klaus stumbled out of bed and into the bathroom, breath catching when his eyes fell onto Dave’s body. With a soft smile, he took him by the hand and passionately kissed him while stepping in the shower. He let his hands wander, grazing every dip and muscle he could reach, and slipped his tongue into his boyfriend’s mouth. They took their time, stroking each other until they were completely aroused before the lubricant was applied.

Dave lifted Klaus, gently secured him against the wall by the hips and guided himself in, finding his rhythm. As he was made love to, the seance wrapped his legs around his waist and clutched his shoulders, occasionally murmuring when ecstasy consumed him. Nearing his orgasm as a sensitive spot was connected with, he released and breathed out his boyfriend’s name. The agent climaxed moments later, withdrew and gingerly lowered his lover to the floor. While they came down from their high, they washed each other’s bodies and exchanged chaste kisses.

Once the shower was off, they dried themselves, dressed into something comfortable and stripped the bed of the linens. When they reached the laundry room, they realized they didn’t have any detergent, but were relieved to find a leftover bottle likely from the previous owner. Upon loading the washer, they started it and made their way back to the loft to relax on the deck by the hot tub. They stretched out beside each other and later headed inside to move the sheets to the dryer, and then took a nap on the couch. When they woke, they made the bed and had dinner delivered to their home; after eating, they cleaned the dishes and kitchen, cuddled up in bed and watched the stars. They discussed having a few people over for a housewarming party, and, after choosing a date, Dave called his mother; she picked up within the first two rings.

“Hi, baby!” she beamed. “How are you? How’s Klaus?”
“We’re fantastic. We’ve officially moved into our home as of yesterday. How are you doing?”
“That’s wonderful! I’m doing great. Are you planning on having a gathering?”
“We were thinking this Saturday. I know it’s short notice, but Tim gave me three weeks off, and Klaus and I would love to see you. He’s texting his siblings as we speak.”
“I’ll book the earliest flight there. Is there anything you need?”
“Just your company.” He gave her the address. “I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, sweetie, but the weekend will be here before we know it. Get some sleep. I love you so much.”
“I love you, too. Good night, mom.”

When the calls were ended, Dave wrapped his arms around Klaus and nuzzled his neck. “Did you hear from your brothers and sisters?”
“Still waiting to get a reply from Allison, but the rest of them said they’ll come.”
“Perfect. I’ll invite Tim and Jack tomorrow. Are the rest of your siblings as protective as Diego?”
“No,” he chuckled, “you’re safe. I should inform you, though, that Luther is quite strong. He, uh, well … he’s actually got the body of a gorilla. Nothing about my family is normal…”
“That’s okay. I love you more than anything, and I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”
“I love you, too, sunshine.”
“Let’s get some rest. We’ve got a busy day tomorrow.”

The weeks leading up to the end of Dave’s leave went by relatively quickly much to his dismay, but he and Klaus stayed busy. They purchased the rest of what they needed and had a successful housewarming party. Dorothy bought them each a pair of silk pajamas and stayed for several days before returning home. When they had their home to themselves again, they spent a majority of their time getting intimate with each other, upset when the break came to a close.

Fortunately, Tim assigned Dave with easy, local missions and occasionally emailed him reports to review via his laptop from home as long as he met the deadline. Klaus proved to be a pleasant distraction during that time, and at least a few of the documents arrived late. Since his employee was always punctual, Tim questioned why some had arrived late and hastily said not to answer that, sending Dave into a fit of laughter. After nearly two months of nonstop work, he was granted with downtime until further notice and took advantage of that, spending all of his available hours with his boyfriend. One evening, while they were unwinding in their jacuzzi with the stone fireplace roaring, Tim called Dave, and he reluctantly answered.

“Hey, Tim. What’s up?”
“Hello, Katz. I’ve got a relatively quick one for you.”
“Where at?”
“About three hours from your location. Some abandoned warehouse that a group of teens meet up at to sell drugs and fake IDs. Jack’s going to fly out tomorrow morning and crash in a hotel. I need you both to confiscate anything they have and arrest them. The police are aware, but they wanted a neutral party there before intervening in hopes of keeping the kids calm.”
“Do you know if they have any weapons?”
“I can’t answer that, but since my agents don’t wear uniforms, they won’t suspect either of you immediately. Jack will be in touch when he lands, and you can go from there. Be careful.”
“I’ll certainly do my best.”
“Good luck, and thanks, Katz.”

Once the call ended, Dave wrapped his arm around Klaus’ shoulders. “I have another local mission that shouldn’t be too long. Tim said it’s about three hours from here, and all Jack and I have to do is arrest some teens.”
“You’ll come home in between if it takes longer than a day?”
“Of course, angel. I’d rather be here with you than in a hotel.”
“Really?” He straddled his lap. “And why might that be?”
“Mm, well, to start with…” He began kissing his neck. “You’re breathtakingly beautiful … passionate … sensual…”
“Make love to me.”

Their kisses grew less chaste, and they relocated to the bedroom, succumbing to sleep after their climax. The next morning, the agent kissed Klaus awake; they showered together, had breakfast and got a fire going in the great room. They relaxed on the couch and watched television while waiting for the call from Jack; once it came through, Dave picked up his phone and answered it.

Chapter Text

“Hey, Jack.”
“Hi, Dave. I just got settled in my hotel room.”
“Do you want me to drive there today?”
“Nah, I was thinking we can meet here tomorrow morning around nine. I’m not worried about these kids. They’ll probably be spooked more than anything when they find out we’re undercover. I’ve already been in touch with the local police, and they’ll loiter around the warehouse waiting for our signal to move in when we’re ready.”
“Sounds good. See you tomorrow.”

Dave and Klaus spent the remainder of the day in their home as it was still too chilly for their liking and turned in for the night early. When the alarm on his phone went off, the agent woke, showered and got ready, dressing in a casual t-shirt, pants, boots and a jacket; before departing, he kissed his boyfriend and murmured, “I love you. I’ll be home later.”
“I love you, too,” came the sleepy response. “Be safe, sunshine.”
“I’ll text you as soon as I get to the hotel and will update you when able.”
“Okay … I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you, too. Get some sleep, angel.”

Dave grabbed his gun, stepped out of the house, locked the door, got into his vehicle and navigated to the hotel Jack had mentioned he was residing at. Upon arrival, he parked beside his colleague’s car and spotted him leaning against it. He sent Klaus a text to inform him he’d made it safely and was fixing to head to the warehouse so he may be delayed in responding before advancing toward his coworker.

“Good morning, Jack.”
“Morning, Dave. How’d you sleep?”
“Pretty good. We went to bed early last night. What about you?”
“I slept like the dead. I was so exhausted. Tim’s been keeping me up late to gather information on these kids. You ready? We’ll take my car.”
“Sure. Should we stop for coffee?”
“I made some before I left my room. It’s in the car. I also grabbed some pastries from the lobby.”

They got in the car, welcoming the warmth, and made small talk on the way to the warehouse as they ate and sipped at their coffee. Dave texted Klaus in between conversation, happy that the destination was on the outskirts of town; it gave him more time to communicate with his boyfriend. Jack glanced toward him briefly and redirected his gaze onto the road; he took another swig of his coffee and turned the radio on, keeping the volume low.

“How are you and Klaus doing, Dave?”
“We’re fantastic. With this career, I never thought I’d meet someone and be able to make it last. Granted, traveling frequently and being away from home won’t be easy for either of us … him especially … but he’s wonderful, Jack, in every sense of the word. He’s so sweet.”
“I’m happy for you. You deserve to have someone special in your life. I’m assuming my housewarming gift is being put to good use.”
“I … uh…” His face turned bright red, and he nearly choked on his coffee. “Well, y - yes…”
“I knew you both would enjoy it.” He smirked. “Don’t hit me. I’m driving.”
“I can hit you when we stop.”

Time passed by at a moderate pace, and, once they’d arrived at the warehouse, Jack parked off to the side and turned the miniature camera clipped to his shirt on. Dave sent Klaus another text before setting his phone to silent; while following his colleague, he asked, “How do you know these kids will be here today?”
“It’s their regular hang out. They’re not exactly a good crowd. Skip school and avoid their parents for as long as possible. Getting them off the streets is honestly in their favor.”
“Learn them a thing or two by sending them to juvenile jail, huh?”
“You got it. The goal for now is to make them think we’re the good guys. Not the ones setting up their arrest.”
“Sounds good to me.”

As soon as they set foot inside the warehouse, they spotted a group of six teenage boys leaning against the pillars engaging in conversation. Each fell silent and stared at Dave and Jack; one of them, likely the oldest, stepped forward and glowered. “Who might you be?”
“I’m Jack, and this is my friend Dave.”
“What brings you here?”
“We’d like to help you boys boost your sales.”
“We’re probably half your age,” he laughed. “Why would you two want to help a bunch of kids out?”
“Thought you could use a ring leader or two. We’re familiar with what you do already.”
“Oh, yeah? And what’s that?”
“You make and sell IDs and drugs to others.”
“We’ll think about it. You can find us here anytime before dark. The name’s William.”
“Good to meet you, William. Take care.”
“You, too.”
“We’ll be in touch.”

As the days passed and turned into weeks, the teenagers gradually grew more trusting of the agents and were less guarded. At the end of each meet, Jack bunked at the hotel, and Dave, as promised, returned home to Klaus, relieved to have his own place. At the beginning of week four, both Jack and Dave felt confident enough that they’d be able to have the teenagers arrested. Using the mini cameras, they were able to gather enough evidence for the police, so they arranged with them to meet at the warehouse at ten sharp. In case things went wrong, they opted to have at least one ambulance standing by; they never saw weaponry on any of the teenagers, but they could never be too careful. Before entering the old building, Jack informed the senior officer that he’d send out a text when they were ready to make the arrest.

When he set foot inside the warehouse, Dave immediately picked up on how uneasy the older teenage boy appeared, and his walls went up. He subtly nudged Jack and whispered, “Keep an eye on him.”
“Okay,” he mouthed.
“William?” Dave questioned.
“What?” The answer came out harsher than he’d intended, but he didn’t apologize.
“Are you all right?”
“I’m fine. Why?”
“Your voice is shaking. You can’t sit still. Did you take something?”
“No, I don’t do the drugs, man. I just sell them. Why are you asking so many questions? You a cop or something?”
“No. I’m watching out for you. If you took something, you can tell me so I can get you the help you need.”
You are a cop ,” he hissed.

William removed a 9mm handgun and aimed it toward Dave with unsteady hands, causing the other five teenagers to shrink back. Jack placed his own hand on his gun, but Dave put his hand up slowly, signaling for him to stop. Hesitantly, he let his hands fall to his sides and watched the situation unfold, scared for his friend’s life.

Dave calmly spoke. “William, let me help you.”
“Why would a cop want to help me?” he snapped, finger resting on the trigger.
“Listen to me. Take a deep breath and hand over the gun. I know you don’t want to do this.”
“Answer me!”
“Please, William, trust me. I’m not a cop. I’m an undercover agent, and, if you hand me that gun, you can walk out of here with barely a punishment.”
“I’m not going to jail!”
“William, don’t -”

Chapter Text

The sound of William’s gun firing echoed throughout the warehouse and, before Dave realized it, his own gun was in his hand and the trigger had been pulled. The bullet traveled through the teenager’s skull, and his body plummeted to the ground with a resounding crack; blood began to pool around his head. He couldn’t take his eyes off of the horrifying sight, and nothing, not even the bullet which grazed his left arm, brought him out of the trance he seemed to be in. He didn’t react to the police moving in to catch the remaining teenagers, the ambulance rolling in or to Jack calling his name.

He paled and unknowingly dropped his gun as he stumbled and nearly collapsed, but he was caught and eased to the floor, back resting against a pillar, by Jack. He clutched his colleague’s shirt and continued to stare at the corpse; his respiratory rate increased while a state of shock consumed him. Jack gently placed a hand on the side of his face and attempted to console him, but it proved to be ineffective. He doubled over and expelled the contents of his stomach, panicking when his chest constricted and he experienced labored breathing. He felt arms embrace him and vaguely heard his coworker calling out for someone to help him.

A nearby paramedic approached with a gurney and knelt beside them. “What’s going on?”
“I think he’s in shock.” Jack’s voice was remarkably steady. “He threw up, and I’m worried he’s going to pass out.”
“Let’s take him to the ambulance and get him some oxygen.”
“Thank you.”
“Of course. What’s his name?”
“Dave, my name is Cody. Your friend and I are going to secure you to the gurney, all right? I’m going to assess you.”
“I can’t breathe,” he choked out, squeezing Jack’s hand.
“I know. It’s going to be okay. We have everything we need to help you.”

Jack picked up Dave’s gun and talked quietly to him while he was strapped to the gurney, wheeled across the warehouse and loaded into the ambulance. Cody placed the oxygen mask over his mouth and nose and instructed him to think of something that would help ease his mind and to keep breathing into the mask. He undid the straps and allowed Jack to sit in the vehicle beside him as long as he stayed out of the way and began his exam. Dave attempted to think of pleasant memories that he and Klaus had made, but visions of the teenager’s death wormed their way into his thoughts. His stomach churned, and he ripped the mask off of his face as he pushed himself up and vomited again. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, put the mask back on and, with a shudder, leaned against Jack for a sense of comfort.

Jack placed an arm around his shoulders. “You okay?”
“No…” He exhaled a shaky breath. “I want to go home … to Klaus…”
“I can assure you,” Cody spoke up, checking his heart rate and blood pressure, “that you’ll get to return home once you’re stabilized. You’re not in shock, but you had a severe panic attack. The wound on your upper left arm is superficial and requires no stitching. I’ll clean and bandage it, but this will need to be done daily. If you experience any complications such as fever, loss of consciousness, pain or swelling around the laceration, seek medical attention immediately. Take over the counter pain medication as needed. I’m also recommending a leave of absence.”
“I’ll handle everything with our manager.” Jack nodded. “Thank you for your help.”
“You’re welcome.”

Cody patched up his arm and departed to assist his fellow teammates, and, gradually, the police apprehended each teenager and cleared the scene. Dave kept the mask over his face until his breathing normalized; he was still unsteady on his feet, so Jack kept an arm around him on the way to the car and made sure he was settled before getting into the driver’s seat. He placed Dave’s gun in the center console and backtracked toward the hotel while the medics cleaned the vomit and the body was placed into a bag, tied to the gurney and loaded into the ambulance. Dave swallowed thickly and looked out the window in hopes of distracting himself, but he couldn’t escape what he’d done.

Jack glanced at him briefly with concern. “Dave?”
“It wasn’t your fault. That kid wasn’t stable.”
“I’ve never had to kill anyone before, Jack…”
“I know, but, as upsetting as it is, unfortunately we may be faced with difficult choices to make. You acted in defense. He pulled his gun first, and he did shoot you.”
“He was just a kid. I killed someone’s son…”
“Dave … it’s … I’m sorry, man. I can’t imagine how you feel, and I wish I knew what to say.”
“The sound when he hit the ground … all the blood … stop the car…”

He pulled off the road and into the grass, and Dave shoved the door open and tried to throw up again, but his stomach was empty. He could only dry heave while his colleague rubbed his back until he was finished. After several moments, they got back into the car and completed the rest of the journey; upon arrival, Jack parked next to Dave’s car, cut the engine and inquired, “You okay to drive? I can call you a cab and have your car towed to your house. I’ll cover the expenses.”
“I think I’ll be fine.”
“Text me as soon as you’re home. I’ll handle Tim. Take care of yourself.”
“I will. Thanks for being there for me.”

Jack nodded once and watched his coworker situate himself inside his own vehicle, drive out of the parking lot and onto the main road. As he neared his home, Dave felt his anxiety growing - how would he ever explain what he was forced to do? He felt ill again, but he tried to tell himself that his boyfriend wouldn’t degrade him. Time crawled by, and, lost in thought, he suddenly found himself in his driveway. With a shuddering breath, he cut the engine, sent Jack a message, pocketed his phone and keys and trudged toward the front door, a forlorn expression contorting his features. Before he had a chance to open the door, Klaus was there to greet him, but his smile hastily disappeared when he noticed how distraught Dave looked. The agent’s breath hitched as soon as his eyes fell on his companion’s, and, with tears streaming down his face, he sank into his open arms. The seance embraced him tightly and whispered softly to him as he cried while slowly escorting him into the house so he could close the door. When a significant amount of time had passed, Dave’s tears subsided enough for him to look at Klaus who appeared worried.

“Sunshine, what’s wrong?”
“I don’t want to talk about it right now,” he mumbled weakly.
“Okay. That’s fine, baby. Is there anything I can do for you?”
“I don’t know…” His voice broke, and a few more tears escaped. “Klaus…”
“Talk to me,” he whispered, placing his hands on either side of his face. “Please. What can I do?”
“I … I’m scared, angel…”
“What are you afraid of?”
“That what happened today will change how you see me. That I’ll lose you.”
“No, my love, don’t be afraid of that. I’ll always be here for you.”
“Klaus, I … I…” Trembling, he hid his face against the seance’s neck. “I took someone’s life today. He was just a kid … someone’s son … and I brought his life to an end in a split second.”
“Darling, look at me please?”
“Please, Klaus, I can't ... Just hold onto me…”
“I’ve got you.” He secured his arms around him and kissed his cheek. “I love you so much, and nothing will change that, okay? You are sweet and compassionate, and I know that you never would have done anything to harm this person intentionally.”
“He pulled a gun on me and fired it, but it’s the guilt of taking someone’s child from them. I can’t change what I did. Self defense or not, I still feel disgusting. I had a severe panic attack to the point I made myself sick, and I couldn’t breathe without the help of an oxygen mask.”
“Oh, sweetheart…”
“I still don't feel well...”
“I'll take care of you. How about we get cleaned up and cuddle? Shower or bath?”
“Shower. Will you stay with me?”
“Of course, love.”

Chapter Text

The couple ascended up to the loft and into the bathroom; the agent leaned against the wall, peeled the bandage off his upper arm and held Klaus’ hand while he readied the shower. Once it was hot enough to steam the area, they stripped of their clothing, stepped in and pulled the glass door closed. Dave still felt off and turned to his boyfriend for consolation, melting into his arms as soon as they enveloped him. More tears slid down his face as he clutched the seance in an attempt to ground himself, listening to his soothing words. Without fully releasing his hold on him, Klaus lathered up a cloth and began washing Dave’s body. When he was rinsed completely, he gently urged him to look at him.

“I love you. I love you so much, and I’ll do anything I can for you.”
“I love you, too,” he whimpered.
“I’ll be right here with you.”
“Can we cuddle on the deck…?”
“Absolutely. Would you like some tea?”

Upon turning the shower off, they exited it, dried and dressed into something warm and retreated onto the enclosed deck. Klaus kissed Dave’s lips, lit the stone fireplace and pulled him in for a hug as he whispered, “I’m going to bring some blankets out here along with your tea. I’ll be right back, sweetheart.”
“Okay. Klaus?”
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”

The seance worked quickly to brew the lemon herbal tea and carefully returned to the loft so as not to spill the cup. He swiped the quilt, a fleece blanket and the thick knitted blanket from their bed as well as several pillows. When he rejoined his lover, he set the tea cup down on the floor and made a nest of blankets in front of the fireplace, and then added the pillows. He grabbed the tea cup and gestured for his lover to get comfortable, stretching out beside him once he was settled. Dave consumed the tea in silence, moved the cup off to the side and snuggled up to Klaus, using his chest as a pillow. He watched the dancing flames for a while until he fell asleep in his boyfriend’s arms. Later, Dave’s colleague called to check on him, and, since he was still sleeping, the seance answered, informing him that he seemed more relaxed. Jack told him that he was holding onto his gun and that Tim granted him paid time off until he was comfortable enough to return. He also mentioned that he’d need to be present at a trial regarding the incident. Klaus said that he’d discuss it with his companion when he was awake.

After nearly a week had passed, Klaus noticed a decline in Dave’s mental health, and it drilled fear into him; he intentionally made sure not to leave him alone for any substantial amount of time. The agent began eating less and experienced restless nights as well as horrifying dreams of the incident, some so terrible that he'd wake in a cold sweat and make himself sick. His boyfriend did what he could to console him, but he was genuinely concerned for his well being. One evening, Dave suffered from a particularly violent panic attack and mumbled incoherently that he wanted to go to bed; reluctantly, the seance watched him disappear into the loft and exhaled as Ben's voice broke the silence. “He needs help, Klaus.”
“I know, but I don’t know how to help him…”
“You’re doing everything you can, but he might need to talk to a therapist about this.”
“I’m going to call his mom. It’s too late to contact a therapist … I’ll look into it tomorrow. I don’t want to leave him alone for too long, Ben. I’m scared he might try to hurt himself…”
“I don’t want to alarm you, but he’s definitely depressed. It’s possible he may resort to self harm.”
“I’m already worried, Ben, and that's not helping.”

With shaking hands, Klaus dialed Dorothy’s number, hoping she’d answer; relief washed over him when she picked up. “Hi, Klaus. How are you?”
“I’m okay … could be better,” he admitted.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
“It’s Dave … he was put in a difficult situation on his last mission, and he’s not handling it well.”
“What do you mean? What happened?”
“A teenager pulled a gun on him and fired it, so he was forced to shoot him. He didn’t survive, and it’s been tearing him up. He barely eats, doesn’t sleep much … When he does, he has nightmares and sometimes gets sick. I’m scared for his safety.”
“Don’t worry. I’m going to book the next available flight, and I’ll be there as quickly as I can. Stay with him, and keep doing what you can for him.”
“He had a bad panic attack before I contacted you and said he wanted to go to bed. I’m going to check on him, but I didn’t want him to know I called. I wasn’t sure if he’d want you to find out what he had to do. To make matters worse, he has to appear in court on Monday.”
“Sweetie, listen to me. I’ll be there soon, and we’ll help him get through this.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
“He’ll be all right.”
“I hope so…”
“Trust me. He’ll get through this. I’m sure you’re doing everything you can for him.”
“I’m trying.”
“Hang in there. I’ll be on my way as soon as possible.”

They ended the call, and Dorothy looked at her husband George; he had a scowl on his face and snapped, “Was that your son?”
“Our son,” she corrected, “and no. It was his boyfriend.”
“What the hell did he want?”
“Dave’s mental health has declined, and he’s worried about him.”
“His mental health?” George laughed. “That’s ridiculous. What’s he got to worry about?”
“If you must know, he had to make a difficult choice and end someone’s child’s life during his last mission. He’s not handling it well.”
“That boy has always been weak. A pathetic waste of space. It’s unfortunate he survived that injury he received a few years ago.”
“George!” Dorothy couldn’t believe what she’d heard. “How could you say that? He’s your son, too. It shouldn’t matter to you what his sexual orientation is. You’re his father, and you should love and accept him anyway.”
“I’m not proud to call him my son, Dorothy.”
“You’re absurd. Heartless. I think it’s best if you and I get a divorce. I’ll figure everything out after I visit my son.”

With a drawn out sigh, Klaus wandered into the kitchen and made a cup of tea before heading up to the loft. His breath caught when he didn’t see Dave in bed, and he glanced toward the bathroom; the light was on, and the door was ajar. Casting a worried look at Ben, he nudged it open and peeked in, afraid of what he might see. His blood ran cold, and he dropped the tea cup, shattering it, when he spotted his boyfriend sitting in the corner of the shower. The water wasn’t on, he was fully clothed, and blood steadily oozed from his wrist onto the floor. Panic nudged the seance forward, and he pulled the nearest towel off the rack and knelt down in front of the agent. He reached for his arm and applied pressure to the wound while fighting to keep his breathing under control. As Dave searched his fearful expression, tears streamed down his cheeks, and he brokenly repeated, “I’m sorry…”

Klaus didn’t say anything, instead focusing on slowing the blood flow, and instructed him to hold the towel while he retrieved the first aid kit from the medicine chest. With trembling hands, he placed it on the floor and opened it, fumbling for gauze, antiseptic and bandages. Dave’s tears still hadn’t subsided, and, too ashamed to face his lover, kept his gaze averted, staring at the blood escaping down the drain. The seance paled when he removed the towel, unsure of how deep the wound was, sighing with relief when the cut barely trickled. He held a piece of gauze over it as he opened the antiseptic; upon discarding the dressing, he poured the liquid into the wound, covered it with fresh gauze and loosely wrapped a bandage around it. He tossed the trash and cleaned everything up and returned to Dave’s side, cradling him against his chest; he hummed to him while rocking him gently as he cried until he had nothing left.

Chapter Text

After a while, the seance assisted Dave while he changed into something more comfortable, escorted him to the bedroom and tucked him in. He brushed the hair from his face, kissed his forehead and dressed into a pair of fleece pants before joining him in bed. The agent snuggled up to him and mumbled, “I’m sorry, Klaus…”
“Shh, my darling,” he murmured while pressing soft kisses to his face, “focus on what’s in front of you right now. I’m here, and I love you so much, okay? Nothing will ever change that.”
“I love you, too.”

Klaus continued kissing him until he was certain he’d fallen asleep, drifting off not long after, waking in the middle of the night to the moon shining brightly through the skylight. He noticed almost immediately that the bed was empty and audibly gasped as he scanned the dark room. Dave appeared to be searching for something; the seance softly asked, “What are you doing, love?”
The agent froze and turned around slowly. “Um, do you know where my gun is? I can’t find it anywhere. I must’ve left it at the scene…”
Klaus paled and snapped, “Why do you want to know where it is?”
His breath caught. “Klaus, I’m…”
“Jack has it,” he whimpered as tears streamed down his face. “I’m sorry for being harsh. I’m worried about you. I know you’re hurting, and I’m scared, Dave. I don’t want to lose you…”

Dave willed himself to pick up his feet and crawled into bed, embracing his boyfriend tightly in his arms as his tears flowed heavily. The seance trembled against his lover, breaking down, and clutched his shirt with everything he had as if he was afraid he’d disappear. Perched on the edge of the bed, Ben watched his brother, wishing he could do something to comfort him, and frowned; he hated seeing him so upset.

The agent kissed Klaus’ tears away and carded his fingers through his hair. “I’m sorry, angel.”
“No, it’s not. I scared you twice.”
“I love you so much, Dave, and I’m terrified that you’re unstable.”
“Sweetheart, I’m okay. It hurts, but I love you more than anything in all this world, and I promise that I’m not going anywhere. Let’s go back to sleep.”

Klaus’ grip never loosened as he snuggled up as close to Dave as possible and dragged the covers over their heads. His boyfriend drifted off hastily, but it didn’t come to him for quite some time; eventually he succumbed only to be roused the following morning by kisses peppering his face. Nuzzling into them, the seance mumbled sleepily, “Someone’s feeling better. G’morning.”
“Mhm,” he murmured, trailing his lips down his neck.
“Sunshine,” he exhaled.
“Yes, angel?”
“Keep going…”
“Yes, sir.”

Ben groaned and dissipated as Dave created friction between the layers of their clothing while kissing the hollow of his lover’s throat. The seance exhaled and grazed his fingertips along the scar on the agent’s rib cage as he became aroused; he felt Dave’s, too, and blushed despite himself. They removed each other’s clothing, and, once completely nude, Klaus persuaded his boyfriend to switch places, and, with a raised brow, he obliged, rolling onto his back. He relaxed as his companion selected a pleasure enhancing lubricant from the basket and took the necessary steps in ensuring that they were both prepared.

Klaus positioned himself between Dave’s legs and kissed his lips as he penetrated and began thrusting carefully, searching for his prostate. The sensation that coursed through the agent was unlike anything he’d ever felt, and he allowed it to consume him, moans echoing throughout the loft. His ankles rested on the small of his boyfriend’s back, and he clutched his shoulder blades once that sensitive spot was connected with. Aware that he’d found it, the seance adjusted his pace to stimulate it at a rapid rate, being sure not to hurt him, and brought him to ecstasy. Dave’s eyes glazed over, his toes curled, and he called out his lover’s name as he experienced two full body orgasms. Moments later, they both climaxed, and Klaus pulled out slowly, wrapping his arms around him while they caught their breath. When their euphoric feeling subsided, the seance removed the bandage from Dave’s wrist, and they showered together and dressed in casual clothes.

While they stripped the bed and tossed the sheets into the washer, Klaus confessed to Dave that he’d called Dorothy the night before and mentioned that she was going to book the next available flight and visit them. The agent gingerly placed his hands on the seance’s hips and kissed his forehead. “I’m sorry for frightening you, angel.”
“How are you feeling?” He searched his eyes. “Please be honest with me.”
“Better, I think, but the guilt is still there. It’s going to take a while for me to heal.”
“And I’ll be here every step of the way, my love, which brings me to the next thing … I wasn’t sure when the best time to tell you would be…”
“What is it?”
“Jack said there’s a trial in five days, and they need you there to share your statement.”
“I figured that would come up eventually…” He thumbed the flesh over his hips.
“Do you think you’ll be okay?”
“It won’t be easy, but that’s not something I can bail out of.”
“Will they let me come?”
“Unfortunately, trials set up after missions are private, meaning only those involved as well as the victim’s family are permitted in the courtroom.”
“Would I at least be allowed to wait for you outside?”
“I don’t see why they’d have an issue with that.”
“Okay. Sunshine?”
“I love you.”
“And I love you.”

They swapped a few kisses, and Klaus broke them to pull Dave in for a hug. “What would you say if I offered to light a fire in the great room, take care of the laundry, order pizza and make hot cocoa while you relaxed on our couch and found out how far out your mother is?”
“You won’t let me help, will you?”
“Not this time, my love. Make yourself comfortable, and I’ll take care of everything.”
“Okay. Angel, I know I said it before, but I truly am sorry for scaring you.”
“I know. I’m just glad you’re all right.”
“Perhaps we shouldn’t tell my mother about that…”
“It’ll be our secret, sweetheart. Go get cozy. I’ll join you soon.”

Dave kissed him, sprawled out on the couch and texted Dorothy while Klaus got the fire going and ordered pizza to be delivered. He switched the sheets over to the dryer, made two mugs of hot cocoa and placed them on the coffee table. He stretched out beside the agent and pulled the blanket over them as he kissed his cheek. Dorothy was a little over an hour away, and, while sipping at their warm beverages, they had no desire to leave each other until the pizza arrived. When the bell rang, the seance retrieved the pizza, tipped the driver and thanked him before closing the door and placing the box on the counter. He removed the sheets from the dryer, made the bed and reclaimed his place beside his boyfriend, noticing his eyelids were beginning to droop. He’d dozed off just before his mother arrived, and Klaus let her in and closed and locked the door.

He smiled softly and quietly said, “Dave’s asleep on the couch.”
She hugged him and rubbed his back. “How’s he doing?”
“He seems better…” His voice trembled slightly, and he sank into her arms, unaware how much he needed to be held. “He woke up in good spirits this morning.”
“Are you okay, honey?”
“Yeah … I mean, I’m still worried about him, but…”
“Shh, it’s okay. You are so brave. Keep him company, and I’ll bring you some food.”

Klaus returned to the couch and made a point to ensure the blanket remained wrapped around Dave’s body while holding him close. When the food was brought to him, he thanked Dorothy, and they ate their fill, saving several slices for the agent. He stirred and rubbed his eyes, keeping them closed, as he nuzzled his boyfriend’s chest, mumbling something about going up to bed. The seance carded his fingers through his hair, kissed his temple and hummed, “Your mom is here.”
“Hi, baby,” she soothed as she crouched beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Mom,” he sleepily whispered. “I missed you. ‘M glad you’re here.”
“I missed you, too, sweetie. I understand you’ve been having a difficult time, but could you do me a favor and eat at least one slice of pizza before bed?”
“Too tired…”
“I know, honey, but it’ll make me and Klaus feel better. We’re worried about you.”
“I’ll try.”

Dave was hungry, but, since he’d gotten sick the last few times he’d consumed meals, he was apprehensive about eating. Sitting up, he leaned against Klaus and took cautious bites until all that remained was the crust; for good measure, he had a second slice and, after hugging his mother, retreated to the loft with his lover. They cuddled up together beneath the blankets, and, while the seance watched the stars, the agent rested his head on his chest and murmured, “Klaus?”
“Yes, sunshine?”
“Can we take a bath together in the morning?”
“Of course. Anything you desire, I will do for you. Rest, my love. I’ll be here.”

Chapter Text

When the sun peeked through the skylight, Dave and Klaus stirred and snuggled into each other, hiding beneath the covers. Gentle kisses were swapped before they decided to leave the warmth of their bed and prepare the bath. A thin layer of steam hovered above the surface, and, after bath fizzies were added and scented candles were lit, they submerged themselves. Since they had a guest, they were only brave enough to exchange chaste kisses; Ben frequently reminded his brother that his adventures with Dave in the bedroom could be heard throughout the house.

After washing, they relaxed in the tub until the water cooled down, drained it, blew out the candles, dried off and chose something comfortable but presentable to wear. They descended from the loft as the aroma of breakfast cooking wafted through the area and entered the kitchen hand in hand. Dorothy had busied herself with cooking eggs, bacon, toast and waffles, but turned around to greet the couple. She set the spatula down and tightly hugged her son. “How are you feeling, baby?” she asked lightly.
“Better.” He melted into her touch. “Well…”
“What’s on your mind?”
“What I did still hurt. It probably will for a while, but I am okay.”
“You can talk to me about anything that’s troubling you, all right?”
“Thanks, mom. I love you.”
“I love you, too, honey.”

Dorothy decided to reside at her son’s home for a couple of weeks to be sure that he was truly on the mend and would stay longer if needed. At the end of the weekend, she informed him and Klaus that she was divorcing George and would sort everything out with him upon returning to her house. Dave felt relief wash over him and was genuinely happy for her; he, as well as his companion, would also be free to visit her anytime without fear of judgement or snide comments. That evening, while Dorothy prepared dinner, both Klaus and Dave offered to assist her with anything she needed. As her son reached into the cabinet above her head, her breath caught when she noticed the scar on his wrist. She took his arm and inquired, “Honey, what happened to your wrist?”
He froze and lightly tried to pull away. “Oh, um … it’s nothing.”
“Let me see it.” She examined it and exhaled.
“I cut it when I was working outside.”
“It doesn’t look like that…”
“Mom, don’t…”
“I’m not going to pry you, sweetie, but will you promise to talk to me or Klaus if you’re hurting?”
“Sure … I - I’m sorry…”

She secured her arms around him, and he leaned into her, welcoming her comforting touch, while she rubbed his back. After several minutes, she placed her hands on his cheeks. “I’ll handle the rest of dinner.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, baby.”
“Would you like to eat on the deck with me and Klaus?”
“That sounds wonderful.”
“Okay. We’ll see you out there.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too, mom.”

While she returned to the stove, Dave sighed and proceeded up to the loft with Klaus; they removed some plush blankets from their linens closet and swiped all of the pillows from their bed. They strategically placed the items on the deck in between the jacuzzi and the stone fire pit; a few logs were tossed in and, shortly, the flames blazed strongly, warming the area hastily. They snuggled up to one another, burrowing beneath the blanket nest, losing track of time. The seance nuzzled Dave and slowly kissed his face while massaging his scalp; the agent hummed contentedly. Dorothy stepped out onto the deck with a tray of food piled high on three plates as well as three mugs of hot apple cider. When she noticed them nestled in each other’s arms, she smiled, carefully set the tray down beside them and brushed the hair from her son’s forehead. He stirred and shifted enough to meet her gentle gaze and smiled. “Hi, mom,” he mumbled sleepily.
“Hi, honey. Are you still hungry?”
“Yeah. Klaus?”
“I could eat,” he chimed in. “What’d you cook?”
“Chicken teriyaki,” she answered, “with white rice and pineapples. I also made hot apple cider.”

Dave and Klaus sat up and scooted closer to the fireplace, and, once Dorothy was situated, they ate their meals and consumed their cider silently. After some time had passed, Dave’s mother kissed his forehead. “Your trial is tomorrow, isn’t it?”
“What time?”
“I’ll drive you and Klaus, and we’ll wait right outside for you. How’s that sound?”
“I’d like that. Thanks, mom. We’re going to sleep out here tonight.”
“Okay, sweetie. I love you. Goodnight, Klaus.”
“Goodnight,” he replied. 

Dorothy cleared the dishes and tray and retreated back to the kitchen where she cleaned everything up and went to the guest bedroom. Klaus held Dave close to him and made sure to set his own phone’s alarm for six in the morning; the agent had left his device downstairs intentionally as he didn’t want to be disturbed. He curled up to be as close to his lover as possible, and they soon fell asleep to the soothing sounds of nature. They woke the next morning to the alarm blaring and reluctantly began to get ready.

Klaus brought the linens in and straightened up the bed while Dave showered and dressed into the same suit he wore to Reginald’s trial. As he stepped out of the bathroom, he pulled Klaus in for a hug and said, “I don’t know if I can do this, angel.”
“Sunshine, I know that you can. Your mother and I promised to be waiting for you right outside the room. Will Tim and Jack be present?”
“Not Tim. Jack, along with the boy’s family, the paramedic who tended to me and the officers who made the arrests will be there.”
“I know I haven’t spent a lot of time with Jack to know him well, but he seems like a good guy. Even if he did give us a basket of lubricants.”
“Yeah,” Dave laughed, “he can be a pain, but he’s really supportive. He stayed with me the entire time after I shot the kid. He’s a great colleague, but an even better friend.”
“I’m glad he was there. I’m going to start getting ready.”
“Okay. I’ll be downstairs. I’ll make breakfast if my mom hasn’t beaten me to it.”
“Sounds fabulous. I love you, darling, and you’ve got this.”
“I love you, too, so much.”

While the seance readied himself, Dave descended down the steps and met his mother in the kitchen to see her finishing up the waffles. He chuckled as she turned around and smiled at him; she was sporting a knee-length black dress with a cropped coat and black heels. She wrapped her arms around her son. “You look handsome.”
“And you look beautiful, mom. You are beautiful.”
“How are you feeling?”
“Honestly? Scared. His family will be there…”
“Honey, listen to me. I know I wasn’t there, but you did what you had to. It was self defense and nothing more. I’m sorry that he was so young, but he was going to shoot you. He did shoot you. You were only protecting yourself.”
“It doesn’t feel like it was self defense.” He tightened his grip on her. “I don’t even remember pulling my gun or firing it. I just remember the body falling to the ground. It was like I blacked out. And I have to tell them that.”
“My sweet boy…”
“Mom, I…”

Chapter Text

His breathing rate escalated enough for his mom to notice, and she did what she could to console him. She whispered quietly to him, “Breathe, honey. I’m right here.”
“Mom…” he whimpered.
“Shh, sweetie. Can you tell me where you are?”
“My house.”
“What room?”
“Name some things you smell and hear.”
“Food … waffles. Um, your perfume…” He relaxed a bit. “Klaus coming downstairs.”
“Good. Take deep, slow breaths.”

The seance entered the kitchen, freezing when he recognized how upset Dave appeared, and frowned. “What happened?”
“Minor panic attack. He’s okay.”
“Sunshine…” he murmured, placing a hand on his shoulder.
“I’m all right, angel,” he replied, pulling away from Dorothy.
“I love you. Ich liebe dich.”
“And I love you.”

The three of them ate and worked together to clean the kitchen up before heading out into the cold toward Dorothy’s car. The agent locked the house and, instead of claiming the passenger seat, he sat in the back with Klaus. When the courthouse came into view, Dave instinctively squeezed Klaus’ hand and shuddered. Dorothy parked in front and cut the engine; they exited the vehicle and met Jack at the front door beneath the overhang. “Hey, Dave,” he greeted, “how are you holding up?”
“I’m okay. This is my mom. Dorothy.”
“It’s nice to meet you, ma’am. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Likewise,” she answered, shaking his hand. “Klaus and I are going to wait outside the courtroom. Take care of my son.”
“Of course. He’s in excellent hands. Ready, Dave?”
“As ready as I can be.”

The group entered the building, and Klaus and Dorothy claimed the bench across from the room the trial was taking place in. Dave kissed Klaus before following Jack inside and taking a seat next to him at the table in the middle. The teenager’s family, police officer’s and the paramedic resided in the rows toward the back as the judge and the lawyer who would be questioning Dave ambled up to the stand; they discussed things amongst themselves and then scanned the small crowd. The judge brought his gavel down. “Good morning. We have gathered here today to take a statement from the agent who brought a dangerous situation to an end. David Katz, please join me at the witness stand.”
“Yes, Your Honor.” He briefly glanced at Jack and stepped up to the stand. Once he was situated, he exhaled a shaking breath.
“Proceed.” The judge fell silent as the lawyer approached.
“Good morning, David.”
“Good morning.”
“Whenever you’re ready, provide us with your statement regarding the incident.”

He observed the crowd, flinching when he received hostile stares from the boy’s family. With another sigh, he cleared his throat and recounted the event. “On the day of the arrest, I noticed that William was unable to relax, and I suspected he’d taken drugs. I asked him if he was on anything, but he got defensive and accused me of being a police officer for, as he put it, asking so many questions. He removed a nine millimeter handgun and aimed the loaded weapon at me. I remained calm and tried to reassure him that I was there to help him, but he pulled the trigger…”
The lawyer nodded and looked at the agent, noticing immediately that he’d paled. “David?”
“I need some water…”
“All right. Breathe. Can someone get him a drink please?”

The paramedic brought him a cup and went through the steps with him to prevent him from having a panic attack. Once the agent had stabilized, Cody returned to his seat as the lawyer waited for him to finish his water. When the cup was empty, Dave averted his gaze. “Sorry…”
“It’s okay. Do you think you can give us the rest of the statement?”
“Y - yeah.” He nodded. “Um, after William fired his gun, I grabbed my own and … I don’t … the next thing I knew, his body was on the ground. I think I blacked out or something … I don’t remember pulling the trigger...”
“Thank you, David. Your Honor?”

Everyone, aside from William’s family and Jack, cleared the room; seeing that his colleague hadn’t moved from the witness stand, he carefully approached and placed his hand on his shoulder. “Dave? You okay?”
“Not really…”
“You still look pale. Want me to get the medic before he leaves?”
“No … Klaus…”
“All right. Come on. I’ve got you.”

He guided him out of the stand and, just as they were about to leave the courtroom, William’s father approached them with a hostile stare. Jack partially blocked Dave from view and glared. “What do you want?”
“Your friend killed my son.”
“In self defense.”
“That doesn’t excuse what he did.”
“Your son threatened my friend. He pulled the trigger first. Why did he have a gun? Why was he selling drugs? Fake IDs? Did you know? How did he even get that stuff?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“I think you should leave.”
“Yeah, all right, I’ll leave.”

He glowered at Dave and took a swing at him, decking him in the face before he could be stopped. The agent staggered backwards and used the railings for support as he let his gaze fall to the floor, watching the blood drip down. Jack shoved William’s father and snapped, “Touch him again and see what happens. Get the hell out of here.”
“Yeah, sure, pal.” He cast another angry look at Dave.
“Now,” he hissed.

William’s father huffed a laugh and exited the room with his family while Jack tended to Dave. “Hey, man, look at me.”
“I deserved that…” he whispered.
“No, you didn’t. Please don’t beat yourself up, Dave. Let me see.”
“How am I supposed to live with what I did?”
“Don’t talk like that. Look at me.”
“I don’t know if I’m strong enough.”
“You’re scaring your friend. Please look at me.”
He redirected his attention and wiped the blood from his nose. “My mom and Klaus … they can’t see me like this.”
“It’s probably going to bruise. If it doesn’t, you’re lucky. How bad does it hurt?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s not broken.”
“I can’t force you, but I’d feel better if you got checked out by a doctor.”
“I just want to go home.”
“I understand. You are not at fault for what happened, okay? If you’re hurting, even if you don’t talk to me, please talk to someone. Take care of yourself, Dave.”
“I’m trying…”
“I know you are, and I’m here for you.”

Chapter Text

Before leaving the courtroom, Jack made sure the bleeding had stopped completely and then ushered him into the hallway toward Klaus and Dorothy. They both noticed that he seemed off and meandered toward him while his coworker stood idly by. The seance opened his arms, and Dave melted into his gentle embrace instantly, keeping his face hidden. His mother rubbed his back, and his colleague nodded once, and then departed to give them privacy.

“Sweetie, are you okay?” Dorothy asked.
“Not really, but I don’t want to talk about it…” he whispered.
“Okay. It’s all right. How about we pick up some lunch and go back to the house?”
“Sunshine?” Klaus spoke up.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

Klaus pulled away to kiss his forehead and kept an arm around his waist as they headed out toward the car. Instead of taking the passenger seat, he joined his lover in the back and held onto him during the entire drive. Dorothy stopped at a drive through and purchased three meals and drinks before she began the commute back to the house. Upon arrival, she cut the engine, and, along with her son and the seance, exited the vehicle. She carried the food up to the door as Dave unlocked it and gestured for his mother and Klaus to go ahead of him.

He’d remained silent for the duration of the ride and still didn’t speak once the door had been closed, causing Klaus and Dorothy to grow more concerned. With a heavy sigh, Dave attempted to retreat toward the loft, but his mother gently took his hand. He forlornly looked at her as she brought her other hand up to brush his cheek; he wrapped his arms around her as tears began to fall. She held him as he shattered while the seance stood nearby, his heart breaking for him. It hurt to see him so depressed, and he was terrified for his mental health.

He clutched the edge of the counter so tightly that his knuckles whitened and cast a glance at Ben, seeking reassurance. Number Six frowned, wishing he could offer a comforting hug or touch. “Klaus, he’ll be okay. Sure, he’s in a funk right now, but it’s going to take time for him to heal. It took time for you, too. All you can do is be there for him. Why don’t you and his mom coax him to go out for dinner tonight?”
“He won’t want to,” he whispered.
“Of course he won’t. That’s why I said coax him. It’ll be good for him. Perhaps you can even do something romantic for him once you’re back home.”
“You’re right. I’ll ask…”
Klaus waited in silence until Dave released his grip on his mother and looked her in the eyes. She ran her fingers through his hair and kissed his forehead. “Honey, Klaus and I love you very much, and we are here for you, but we are worried about you.”
“I don’t want to shut either of you out, but it’s hard to talk about…”
“Sweetie, it’s not good for you to bottle it up.”
“I know, mom…” He exhaled a shaking breath and hugged her again as more tears dripped down his cheeks.
“Let it out, my beautiful boy,” she murmured. “Klaus?”
“Hm?” he replied.
“Would you mind setting the great room up for us to have lunch and watch a movie?”
“Not at all.”

He retreated with the meals, Ben following, and placed the bags on the table; after setting them out, he lit the fire and readied the television. When Netflix was loaded, he grabbed the empty bags, entered the kitchen and tossed them into the trash. He smiled at the agent, relieved to see that his tears had subsided, and took him by the hand as Dorothy went into the great room to allow them to have their moment.

Resting his forehead on his boyfriend’s, Klaus whispered, “Do you know how much I love you?”
“I might have a pretty good idea, but I wouldn’t mind hearing what you’ve got to say.”
“I love you more than the moon loves the stars.”
“That much, huh?” He smiled.
“That much, my darling. You’re strong, and your mother is right. We are both here for you.”
“I love you, Klaus. I can’t even put into words the amount of love I have for you. I’m glad you’re here for me in this difficult time.”
“I’ll always be here, sunshine. Do you feel like eating?”
“Not really, but I will.”
“Okay. May I ask you something?”
“It was actually Ben’s idea, so I can’t take all the credit,” he chuckled, “but would you allow me and Dorothy to treat you to dinner this evening?”
“I’m not sure if I’ll have the energy to go out, angel…”
“I know, and I won’t force you, but fresh air would do you some good. We’ll take you wherever you’d like to go. I’ll mention it to your mom when you decide. Once we get back, we can have some alone time and take advantage of our jacuzzi.”
“I’ll give it a shot. Does Italian sound all right?”
“Of course.”
“I love you.”
“Ich liebe dich.”

Together, they joined Dorothy in the great room, and, after the three of them consumed their lunch, Klaus stretched out on the couch. Dave snuggled up to him while his mother cleaned everything up, selected a movie of his choosing and played it. As time passed and the fire died down, the agent’s eyelids grew heavy when his exhaustion caught up to him, and he drifted off in his boyfriend’s arms. When he was sure he was sleeping, the seance mentioned to Dorothy that an evening out would benefit her son; she agreed and made reservations to the nearest five star Italian restaurant. Later, Klaus began to fall asleep, so Dave’s mother powered down the television, doused the fire and draped a blanket over them. She disappeared into the guest room to let them rest; she’d wake them in time to get ready for dinner.

Several hours later, Klaus woke to see Ben perched on the armrest reading a book. “Good evening, Klaus. Sleep well?”
“Yeah,” he mumbled tiredly, rubbing his eyes.
“You two are almost adorable.”
“Were you here the whole time?”
“Well, I can’t exactly leave. I think it’s nice what you and Dave’s mom planned for him. I like her. She reminds me of Grace.”
“I agree with you there.” He glanced up as he heard footsteps. “Sayonara, mi hermano … and thanks.”
“You’re welcome, Klaus.”

Ben dissipated as Dorothy entered the room and smiled at the seance. “Is he still asleep?”
“Mhm. Should I wake him now?”
“As much as I’d love to let him keep resting, I do think we should get him out of the house for a while. Our reservation is in ninety minutes.”
“Okay. I’ll get him up.”
“All right. I’ll start getting ready.”

Dorothy returned to the guest room, and Klaus began to kiss Dave gently. “Rise and shine, my love. It’s time for us to get ready.”
“Mm, too comfy…”
“I know, sunshine, but a night out will benefit you. When we return, I’ll give you a little treat.”
“What kind of treat?”
“That’s a secret.”
“Oh, really? Whatever you’ve got in store, I’m looking forward to it. I love you.”
“Ich liebe dich. Want to take a shower with me?”

Chapter Text

They headed up to the loft, entered the bathroom and closed the door, removing their clothing once it was locked and the shower was warm. Simultaneously, they stepped in and embraced each other in a hug while the refreshing water caressed their skin. After they’d washed and turned the shower off, they dried and dressed into casual clothing. Klaus took Dave’s hand and kissed it. “Are you feeling better, sunshine?”
“Yeah, I do.” He nodded and kissed his lips lightly. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

They descended down the steps to see Dorothy waiting for them in the great room; she smiled and said, “You both look handsome.”
“And you look beautiful, mom,” the agent replied, squeezing Klaus’ hand.
“Thank you, honey. Are the two of you ready to go?”
“We are,” they answered at once.
“I’m glad you’ve agreed to go out to dinner, sweetie.”
“I’m glad you insisted upon it. I love you, mom.”
“And I love you.”

The three of them stepped out of the house and, after ensuring the door was locked, they headed toward Dorothy’s car. They settled in the cab and the journey to the Italian restaurant began; upon arrival, the vehicle was parked, and they entered the building. The host seated them at their reserved table and returned with three glasses of water before departing to give them time to scan through the menu. Seated across from his mother, Dave and Klaus glanced over one together while sipping at their water. Dorothy spoke up. “Dinner’s on me, you two. You’re welcome to get anything you’d like.”
“You sure, mom?”
“Of course, honey.” She reached over to give his hand a squeeze. “This is your night.”
“Thank you … for this and for all that you’ve done for me.” He held onto her hand for a moment and looked at his boyfriend. “You as well, angel.”
“You’re welcome,” she and the seance answered at the same time.

They resumed examining the menu and each chose an appetizer followed by three entrees, engaging in small talk while they waited for their meals. The appetizers were brought out first, and they continued the conversation as they snacked to reduce some of their hunger. Once the waiter placed the main courses to the table, he placed them on the table and asked if there was anything else he could do. They politely informed him that everything was perfect, and he took his leave to allow them to eat in peace. When they finished, dessert was ordered to go; Dorothy covered the cost, and they returned to the house.

As soon as she parked, Dorothy shut the engine off and strolled up the path with her son and his companion, halting when she reached the door. The agent unlocked it, and they welcomed the pleasantly warm air that greeted them. After the house was locked up, Dave’s mother set the dessert boxes on the counter and hugged her son tightly and kissed his cheek. For several minutes, she held onto him before pulling away to smile at him. He returned it and took both of her hands. “Thanks, mom, for treating me and Klaus to dinner. I had a great time.”
“You’re welcome, sweetie. Would you like to watch a movie while we eat dessert?”
“Do you mind if we postpone that until tomorrow night?”
“Not at all. Are you going to bed?”
“We’ll probably be up for a while.”
“May I bring something to you and Klaus?”
“Of course, mom. What do you have in mind?”
“That’s a surprise, but it should be ready in less than thirty minutes.”
“Okay. We’ll likely be out on the deck.”

Dave and Klaus ventured up to their loft and sat on the bed; the agent brushed the curls from his boyfriend’s face. “What do you have in store for us tonight, angel?”
“Well,” he hummed, “I thought we could begin an evening beneath the stars in our jacuzzi. Clothing optional.” He winked.
“Klaus, behave,” he laughed. “My mother is visiting.”
“Sorry, sunshine. I couldn’t resist. We can bring our night to a close by cuddling up in a blanket fort in front of our fireplace on the deck or retreat to the bedroom. Perhaps we could take a bath together … I’ll offer you another massage. What do you think?”
“The weather’s nice. How do you feel about sleeping on the deck?”
“I’m content being anywhere with you, my beautiful agent. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

To pass the time, they prepared the deck and set up a fort of plush blankets and pillows near the stone fireplace. After the cover was removed from the jacuzzi and the fire was lit, they stretched out in bed to relax until Dorothy returned. She remained in the kitchen for a few minutes before carefully transporting two identical beverages in stainless steel tumblers up to the loft. They sat up as she entered the room and got off the bed, curious as to what she had made. She set the canteens down beside the dessert boxes. “I made you both spiked hot apple cider. It contains orange spice tea, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, butter and light rum.”
“It sounds delicious,” they answered at the same time.
“I hope it will be just as good. Enjoy your evening. Good night, boys.”
“Good night, mom.”
“Good night, Miss Katz.”

Dorothy exited the loft and turned in for the night while Klaus and Dave took advantage of their newfound alone time. They changed into their swim trunks and transported their dessert, drinks, towels and the silk pajamas that they’d received as a housewarming gift onto the deck. As soon as they had everything situated near the jacuzzi, they submerged themselves up to their chests and sighed contentedly. While they relaxed, they sipped at their beverages and consumed their dessert. When they had their fill, the seance straddled his boyfriend and kissed his lips, murmuring against them, “You’re breathtaking.”
“Mm, am I?”
“Mhm. Absolutely stunning.”
“You’re not so bad yourself, angel.” He pulled away to trail his lips down his neck.
“D - Dave…” he stuttered when they brushed over the hollow of his throat.
“Feel good?”
“Keep going?”

The seance leaned his head back slightly and allowed his hands to caress his chest before they came to rest on either side of his rib cage. Without realizing he was doing it, he shifted his hips, grinding against him, building friction. His lips found his lover’s, and he mumbled incoherently into his mouth as he fumbled at his waist line. “Angel…” Dave whispered.
“Sorry…” He pulled away. “Maybe we shouldn’t … I’d hate for your mother to hear us.”
“I think we’ll be safe. I’m sure the sounds won’t resonate through the house thanks to the deck being enclosed.”
“Do you want to…?”
“Yeah. Do you?”

They resumed kissing and, as they grew less chaste, they switched places; shorts were discarded and tossed to the deck. Dave lowered himself onto Klaus’ erection, wincing slightly from the lack of lubricant as he took him in. He found his rhythm and moved his hips, riding him slowly, kissing him as he came to keep things quieter. He lifted himself up enough so his boyfriend could pull out and rested his head on his shoulder until their breathing regulated. Several minutes later, they got out of the jacuzzi, dried off and relocated to the blanket fort where things heated up again. After an extensive amount of foreplay, Dave hastily retrieved a bottle of lubricant and returned to his companion. He prepared them both and made love to him, lasting much longer than he normally did. Klaus had multiple orgasms and was unable to minimize the volume as his boyfriend stimulated his prostate for a significant amount of time until he reached his own climax and released, breathing out his name.

Chapter Text

Dave withdrew and cuddled up with Klaus beneath the blankets until they’d caught their breath. Once their euphoria had dissipated, the agent left the fort to liven up the fire while the seance placed the shorts and towels on a rack to dry, discarded the trash and placed the tumblers on one of the end tables. He put the lubricant in a drawer and took a shower with his boyfriend, and, wrapped in fresh towels, they returned to the deck and slipped into their silk pajamas. They spread the towels out to dry, snuggled up together in the fort beneath the stars and drifted off to the soothing sounds of Mother Nature.

Hours later, Dave woke to thunder rolling in, occasionally accompanied by lightning which illuminated the deck with an eerie glow. Instinctively, he wrapped Klaus up in his arms and kissed him softly until he stirred awake and mumbled, “‘s’wrong, sunshine?”
“It’s, uh, thundering,” he answered quietly.
“Are you afraid?” He met his gaze.
“It’s more of a feeling of uneasiness.” He flinched as another rumble rattled the windows. “Reminds me of gunfire…”
“Do you want to go inside?”
“Not really. It’s ironic … as uncomfortable as they make me, I do enjoy listening to the rain and watching the lightning. This is our first thunderstorm, isn’t it?”
“Mhm, I think so. Come here, my love.”

The agent released his hold on his boyfriend and nuzzled into him as he was embraced protectively. The thunder clouds loomed overhead and bolts of lighting streaked across the sky as the rain began to fall. Klaus held Dave tightly, pulled the covers up to their abdomens and whispered sweet nothings to him until he went back to sleep. Ben reappeared and cleared his throat. “Dave’s mom may have been spared from your rendezvous, but I wasn’t.”
“Are you ever going to stop bugging me about that?”
“Probably not as long as I have to hear you two.”
“Shut up, ghost boy.”
“Get some sleep, Klaus,” he laughed.

The seance listened to the rain for a while before succumbing to sleep, waking the following morning to see a thick layer of snow blanketing the roof. He hadn’t been expecting that, but he’d assumed it made sense considering a random thunderstorm blew through in the middle of winter. With an involuntary shiver, he burrowed deep into the bed linens and took advantage of the body heat radiating from Dave. Moments later, he began to wake and mumbled, “G’morning, angel.”
“Morning, sunshine.”
“You cold?”
“No … well, not really. It snowed.”

Shocked, the agent looked up toward the sky and nearly gasped, being sure to keep his arms around his boyfriend. “There’s so much of it!” he exclaimed. “We aren’t properly dressed, but I believe I promised you a snowball fight quite some time ago.”
“Yeah?” His eyes lit up.
“Mhm. Do you want to?”
“Yes, sunshine, I would love to!”
“We can warm up in the hot tub or shower after if you’d like.”

Silently, they moved from the deck to the loft and used the bathroom first before heading out into the snow. Wasting no time, Klaus darted out into it as a grin spread across his face, issuing a chuckle out of his boyfriend. The agent joined him, and they lobbed enough snowballs at each other to soak through their pajamas and chill their skin. Shivering, they embraced each other in a hug and exchanged a few tender kisses before heading inside, grateful for the warmth. Dorothy wasn’t up, so they escaped to the loft to strip of their clothes and take a hot shower together. When their body heat had normalized, they dressed into casual wear, cleaned up their loft and the deck and transported the bed linens to the laundry room. After starting the washer, they went back inside the house to be met with the smell of coffee. Dorothy smiled at them and, after morning greetings were swapped, they enjoyed the warm beverage in the great room.

She stayed for another two weeks and returned home to finalize the divorce with George and kept her son updated on that. For the remainder of the month, the agent was undisturbed by his manager, but, as expected, he eventually was contacted in the evening. Grimacing, he accepted the call. “Hey, Tim. How are things?”
“Things are fine, Dave. How are you doing?”
“I’m okay. Better now.”
“Good. I wanted to give you some time to heal, but Jack and I could use your help.”
“We, as well as the local police department, have received numerous anonymous tips of an underground drug trafficking ring in Spain. The police have done research and have discovered that the men in charge of this are gang members with a long history of violence. They’ve requested that we do what we do best and go undercover to gather evidence in person, but they’ve warned me to tread lightly and never let my guard down. Jack and I are flying out on a private jet next Monday. If you’ll join us, I’ll cover your fee and you can meet us at the airport that morning at five.”
“All right, I’ll be there.”
“You don’t have to. I can get someone else. I called you first seeing as you and Jack are my most experienced agents.”
“No, it’s okay. I’ll tag along.”

When the call ended, Klaus leaned against Dave. “I’m guessing you’ve got a mission coming up.”
“Yeah.” He wrapped his arm around the seance. “I leave early Monday morning with Tim and Jack. I have to meet them at the airport at five.”
“Where are you going?”
“Spain, but don’t worry, baby. I’ll keep you updated as often as possible, and I’ll talk to you when we return to wherever it is we’ll be bunking.”
“What’s the job?”
“Um, we have to put an end to a drug trafficking ring.”
“Something tells me it’s not going to involve any kids…”
“No, my angel, not this time, but please don’t stress yourself out. We’ll be careful, and I’ll be home before you know it.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

The remainder of the night passed by quickly, and Dave ventured out to the nearest jewelry store the next morning while Klaus was asleep. After browsing for a while, he selected a beautiful white gold band embedded with tiny diamonds, purchased it and began heading home. On the way, he made reservations at a Thai restaurant for Saturday evening at seven and picked up two caramel coffees, a half dozen pastries and two breakfast wraps. Upon pulling into the driveway, his nerves fired up as he pocketed the box concealing the ring and carried the food and beverages inside the house. He headed up to the loft carefully to avoid spilling anything and smiled softly when he noticed that his boyfriend still had not woken. He placed the items on the end table and kissed him until he cracked his eyes open.

“Good morning, angel,” the agent whispered. “I brought breakfast and coffee.”
“Mm, you did?” He curled up against him and closed his eyes. “What time is it?”
“Ten. You were pretty tired, huh?”
“Mhm. Is it cold?”
“Oh, yeah. I was hesitant to leave. As the holidays near, we’ll likely be in for quite a bit of snow.”
“All the more reason to stay in bed and cuddle.”
“I second that. Klaus, um, I have a question for you…”
“Okay.” He searched his gaze, observing that he seemed nervous.
“Would you allow me to treat you to dinner on Saturday evening?”
“Of course, sunshine. Where?”
“I made reservations for seven at a Thai restaurant. Is that all right?”
“Absolutely.” He kissed his forehead. “I love you so much, Dave.”
“And I love you, Klaus, more than anything.”

Chapter Text

The week raced by, and, before Dave had a chance to process things, Saturday had arrived, and his anxieties got the best of him. Klaus picked up on his stress and checked on him several times throughout the day only to be told each time that he was fine. Unsure of what to do to comfort him, he associated his uneasiness with how far he'd have to travel instead of their dinner plans. They'd been on dates before in the past, and the agent had never been timid about them then. When dusk approached, he and the seance showered together and dressed in formal attire; when it was time to head out, Dave discreetly ensured he had the ring secured inside his pocket and exited the house with his lover.

As he drove, he remained unusually quiet, and Klaus reassuringly squeezed his hand, wishing he could alleviate his worry. Ten minutes before their reservation, they arrived at the restaurant; the agent cut the engine, got out of the vehicle and laced his fingers through the seance's as he ambled toward the double doors. Upon entering, the hostess welcomed them, escorting them to their reserved table near the window as soon as she received a name, and they sat across from each other. Dave released his boyfriend's hand as the hostess departed and a waitress greeted them and placed two glasses of ice water and two menus down in front of them. Before she left, Dave requested a bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice; when she departed, Klaus gently took his companion's hand, frowning as he realized he had a slight tremble.

“Sunshine, you've been restless all day. Talk to me. What's wrong?”
“Klaus, I…” He trailed off, breath hitching when his eyes fell on the seance's. “For so long, I had a break, but now I have to travel all the way to Spain and be away from you for ... I don't even know. I'm aware I told you that everything would be okay, but I'm scared.” He hated lying, but he couldn't tell him the truth. “I'm afraid I won't be on top of my game and that something will happen..."
"Don't talk like that, my love. You'll be fine. Tim and Jack will be there to watch over you."
"I know, but these guys are gang members, and some were bred to be hostile.”

The waitress returned and gently placed the bucket on the table in between them along with two glasses and asked if they'd decided on what they wanted to eat. After informing her that they needed a little more time, she nodded and tended to other patrons; they glanced over their menus and, after agreeing on an appetizer and two main courses, they closed them and moved them off to the side. Several minutes passed, and she recorded their orders and departed with the menus to pass the paper along to the chefs as Klaus and Dave engaged in small talk until their meals arrived, feasting in silence. The agent covered the cost, tipping extra, and carried the champagne bucket and glasses out to the car, being sure to stay near his boyfriend. Once they'd settled in the cab, Dave started the engine and drove out of the parking lot and onto the main road as Klaus took his hand and questioned, “Where are we going?”
“A park…” He cleared his throat awkwardly. “I reserved a gazebo for a few hours. There won't be anyone there but us.”
“That sounds romantic. What's the occasion?”
“I thought I'd treat you to a nice evening before my mission…”

Dave's breath caught in his throat as he arrived at the park, choosing a spot near the gazebo, and shut the engine off as he risked a glance in his lover's direction. He had an awestruck expression on his face while he stared at the stunning property; the path, illuminated by solar lights, was lined with gorgeous maple trees, but the gazebo itself was decorated with a curtain of fairy lights. The seance gave the agent a less than chaste kiss and mumbled, “It's incredible, sunshine.”
“Would you like to see it up close?”
“Of course! Will the champagne be joining us?”
“Most definitely, angel.”

Together, they moseyed up the path and entered the gazebo, impressed by the sheer beauty of the interior; protected by pink mosquito netting, the structure was finished with gloss white paint that appeared to glow in the moonlight. Klaus claimed a place on the bench and the soft smile turned into a frown when he noticed Dave was drumming his fingers on his thigh - a nervous habit. He reached for that hand and kissed it. “What's on your mind, my love?”
“A lot,” he blurted, avoiding eye contact. “Sorry ... I don't know where to start, Klaus.”
“Take a deep breath. It's okay.”
“I, um, I…” His voice trembled. “Angel…”
“Sunshine, look at me. I'm right here. Breathe.”

The agent redirected his gaze and smiled shyly. "When I first met you back at that bar, I couldn't pinpoint it at the time, but there was something special about you. I might've been sent by Tim to investigate you, but, after talking to you, I wanted to know you. You, um, you've come so far, and you're incredibly brave, strong, sensitive and sweet, and I love you more than anything in all this world." He removed the encased ring from his pocket and, as he opened the box, he lowered himself to one knee. “Will you marry me, Klaus?”

As his eyes fell onto the ring, the seance gasped and threw his arms around Dave, peppering him with kisses. “Yes, darling ... Christ on a cracker, yes, I will marry you! I love you so much, my beautiful agent.”
After several tender moments, Dave got to his feet and sat beside him. “Would you like to see if it fits?”
“Absolutely!” he beamed, extending his left hand.

The ring slid onto Klaus' third finger easily, and they both admired it before smiling at each other; they exchanged a few kisses, cuddled on the bench together and popped open the champagne bottle. Dave poured it into the glasses, handed one off to his fiance and held his own up. "Here's to us and our future."
"And to many wonderful years together. I love you, sunshine."
"I love you, too, angel."

They clinked their glasses delicately, consumed the beverage and spent the remainder of the evening stargazing until their time slot expired and returned home. They placed the remaining champagne in the fridge, retreated to the loft where they shed their clothing and took a hot bath together; when the water had cooled off, they found themselves in their bed making love, succumbing to sleep curled up in each other's arms after coming down from their high. The following morning, Dave's slumber was disturbed by his cell phone ringing.

Fumbling for it, he mumbled, “It's Dave…”
“Hi, sweetie!" his mother exclaimed. “Did I wake you?”
“Yeah, but it's okay. How are you?”
“I'm great! Your father and I are officially divorced, and I got the house! How have you been doing? How's Klaus?”
“That's fantastic, mom. Sorry I don't sound upbeat. I'm really tired, but I'm doing a lot better. Klaus is great, too. Um, speaking of him, I have some amazing news…”
“Last night, I asked him to marry me.”
“I'm so happy for you, honey! Where did you take him?”
“I made reservations at a Thai restaurant and, later, we went to a park where I proposed to him in a gazebo beneath the stars. It was romantic.”
“I'm glad you have him.”
“Me, too. We've been good for each other. Mom, I have to travel to Spain for a mission on Monday. We're likely going to plan the wedding when I return.”
“Spain?" Concern etched its way into her voice. “What for?”
“Tim, Jack and I have to stop drug traffickers.”
“Be safe, my beautiful boy, and please call or text me whenever you're able, day or night.”
“I will. I miss you a lot.”
“I miss you, too, baby. Be safe out there, okay?”
“Okay. I love you, mom, so much.”
“I love you, too. Take care of yourself. I'll check in later.”

When the call had ended, Dave set his phone on the end table and brushed the curls from Klaus' face before kissing his temple; he slipped out of bed and into a pair of boxers, and then descended from the loft to the kitchen. Once he brewed two mugs of coffee, he placed them on a tray and returned to the bedroom as his fiance began to wake, searching the space beside him. The agent put the tray on the foot of the bed and met his hand with a light kiss. “Good morning, angel.”
“Good morning," he murmured, “did you sleep well?”
“Mhm. Did you?”
“Yeah.” He opened his eyes, kissed his lips and observed the ring. "I can't wait to marry you.”
“I second that. My mom called earlier, and I told her about our date last night.”
“What'd she say?”
“She's happy for us, sweetheart.”
“I'll have to let my family know soon. How did things go with her and your dad?"
“They're divorced, and she got the house."
“Fabulous! Do we have anything on the agenda today? I wish you didn't have to travel so far away…”
“I know, babe. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else except with you. As for our agenda ... I thought we could start our morning off with breakfast and coffee. Today, all of my hours are dedicated to you, angel. I love you.”
“I love you, too, so much.”

With no desire to unnecessarily brave the frigid air, Klaus and Dave opted to spend the day together in their cozy home. The agent made breakfast, and, after they’d eaten, they cleaned the kitchen and washed and dried their sheets. Once the bed was made, they cuddled up on the couch in the great room, fireplace crackling, and watched a movie. Around lunchtime, they had multiple meals delivered to cover dinner as well. When their stomachs were full, they had a movie marathon until the sun set and the stars and the moon appeared. They ate dinner and handled the dishes; Dave packed his bag, and then stretched out on the couch again with the seance.

Dave carded his fingers through Klaus’ curls. “Angel?”
He nuzzled his neck. “Yes, sunshine?”
“Would you like to take a candlelit bath with me?”
“Mm, definitely.” He searched his gaze. “That sounds romantic.”
“Oh, absolutely, my beautiful agent.”
“Come on, darling.”
“Yes, sir.”

As soon as they reached the loft, they connected their lips and stumbled into the bathroom, stripping down to their undergarments. As Dave readied the tub and lit the scented candles, Klaus knelt down in front of him and kissed him anywhere he could reach. Once the bath was prepared and the faucet had been shut off, they removed the remainder of their clothing and stole a few more not so innocent kisses.

Chapter Text

The agent submerged himself first, stretching out his legs, as his lover joined him, straddling him. Seductively, he shifted his hips to arouse Dave and feverishly kissed his lips, murmuring incoherently with pleasure as his skin was tenderly grazed. After mild fondling, the seance adjusted himself to allow his fiance to enter and found a steady pace. A mixture of heavy breathing, sighs of each other’s names and whispered I love yous filled the room as they reached orgasm and melted into one another.

Dave gingerly lifted his companion up enough to pull out and cradled him close to his chest while they caught their breath. Klaus trembled lightly as his body worked to calm down, and the agent spoke softly to him. “Angel, are you all right?”
“Yeah,” he panted, nestling against him. “It, um … hm … every time we make love, it’s always sensual and sweet. You’re so gentle, but sometimes those unpleasant memories resurface at the worst times. I still occasionally lack self confidence. How I was treated … what happened to me with my ex … it’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life.”
“I’m sorry,” he whimpered, fighting to keep his tears at bay. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I was the one in my family who always tried to make the best of a bad situation no matter how awful I felt. I tried to hide my pain from them.”
“There’s nothing wrong with you, sweetheart.” He gently urged him to look at him. “You are beautiful in every sense of the word, and I love you very much. Take a deep breath.”
“I wish you didn’t have to leave tomorrow…” he whimpered as the tears fell.
“I know.” He kissed his tears away. “What did I promise to you?”
“That you’d be home before we knew it.”
“And what’s going to happen when I return?”
“We’re getting married.”

Dave smiled and kissed his forehead. “Would you like to sleep on the deck tonight? We’ll dress in our warmest clothes and drift off to the sounds of nature and the crackling fire. How’s that sound, my sweet angel?”
“Will there be cuddles?”
“Definitely. Lots of cuddles.”
“Okay. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

While the tub drained and the candles were blown out, they dried off and slipped into fleece pants, fuzzy socks and light t-shirts. After tossing their dirty clothing and towels in the hamper, they descended down the steps to the kitchen to make hot apple cider to enjoy on the deck. Upon returning to the loft, Klaus held onto the mugs while Dave retrieved the pillows, the comforter and the fleece blanket from the bed and followed his fiance outside. He spread the blankets out, taking care to ensure it was padded, and then placed the pillows down before lighting the fireplace. The seance set the mugs down nearby, wrapped his arms around the agent and gave him a lingering kiss. When several moments passed, they situated themselves on the blanket nest and curled up together as closely as possible, occasionally sipping at their cider.

Dave regretfully set his phone alarm for three in the morning and rested his head on Klaus’ chest, arm draped across his abdomen. A sense of comfort washed over him as he felt his lover’s fingers caressing his face, and his eyelids grew heavy. Shortly, the both drifted into the void of sleep to the sounds of wolves calling out to their pack, owls hooting among the trees and the fire crackling as it died down. The night passed by too quickly, and the agent was jolted awake by his alarm; he groaned and struggled to silence it, unwilling to leave the arms of his lover. Sitting up slowly, he rubbed his eyes and glanced at Klaus before retreating inside the loft.

He stripped of his pajamas, took a quick shower, got dressed and brushed his teeth before throwing his toiletries in his bag and zipping it up. He returned to the deck, pocketed his phone and brushed the hair from Klaus’ face to kiss his cheek. “Angel?”
“Hm?” came the sleepy response.
“I have to leave for the airport.”
“What time is it?” he mumbled, sitting up.
“I’ll walk you out to your car.”
“Yeah? I’d like that.”
“Of course. I can’t let my beautiful agent depart without saying goodbye to him.”

With a chuckle, Dave pulled him to his feet, and, together, they headed out into the cold and toward the vehicle. The agent unlocked and opened it, placed his bag on the passenger seat and nudged the door shut with his hip as he faced Klaus. The seance immediately wrapped his arms around him tightly and buried his face in his chest. “I’ll miss you, sunshine. Please text or call me as much as you can.” He fought to keep his voice steady. “Be safe. I love you so much.”
“I’ll miss you, too, angel, and I promise I’ll stay in touch. I love you.”

Klaus held onto him for a while, reluctant to let him go, and somehow was able to hold his tears back. Dave placed his hands on either side of his face and gave him a passionate, desperate kiss before unwillingly settling into the vehicle. He cranked the engine and cast one last glance at his fiance, frowning at his broken smile, as he drove toward the airport to meet Jack and Tim. At a stop light, a few tears slid down his cheeks, and he sent his companion a message using voice to text.

D: My darling angel, everything will be okay, and I’ll be home before we know it. The time zone is different there, but I’ll be sure to talk with you every chance I get. Ben better keep you company in my absence. I love you more than words can express, and I miss you already. Xoxo.
K: I love and miss you already, too, sunshine. I tried to be strong, but I couldn’t keep my tears from falling after you drove away. Drive safe, and let me know when you get to the airport.
D: Sweetheart … It’s all right. I will definitely let you know. I should be able to keep communicating with you during the flight. Private jets are typically better than regular planes. What are you doing right now?
K: I’m sitting on the deck with Ben and a cup of coffee. I’m also wearing your pajama pants.
D: Good. I know it won’t be easy for you to be alone, but please don’t isolate yourself. Call my mom or your siblings. Have them come visit you, or stay with them.
K: I might do that. I’m afraid of having nightmares.
D: I know, love, but you’ve been doing so well. It’s been a while since you’ve had any, right?
K: Yeah, but having you to cuddle up with every night helps me feel at ease. I haven’t figured out if that’s why the ghosts haunt my dreams, but I used to have a lot of nightmares at the mansion. How far ahead is the time in Spain?
D: If I’m correct, six hours, but don’t let that deter you from calling me if you’re feeling anxious. If I’m unavailable, I’ll reach out as soon as possible. I just got to the airport. Will you be okay for a few minutes until we board?
K: Yeah. Ben is doing what he can to calm me down.
D: Okay, love. I’ll talk to you soon. I’m excited. I’ve never been on a private jet.

Dave put his phone in his pocket and drove around to the back of the airport and parked in between Jack and Tim’s vehicles. He cut the engine, grabbed his bag, met his colleagues inside the terminal and began the check in process. Since the company had paid for their travel expenses, it passed relatively quickly; after showing their passports and having their luggage examined, the pilot introduced himself.

“Good morning, gentlemen. My name is Antonio, and I’ll be ensuring that you reach your destination safely. Have any of you been on a charter jet before?”
“I have,” Tim answered. “They haven’t.”
“You’re in for a treat. We will be the only crew on board, so you’ll have all the privacy you desire to rest or discuss business. This particular jet is designed for luxury and includes a master suite as well as a moderately sized chamber with two double beds and an adjoining bathroom. There’s also a sitting area and a fully equipped kitchen. Champagne and refreshments are provided at no extra cost, and each room includes a flat screen television as well as charging stations for all of your devices. Are you ready?”
“Yes,” they simultaneously responded.
“Very well. Right this way, gentlemen.”

Chapter Text

Antonio escorted them onto the charter jet, and, as they took in the stunning interior, they nearly gasped in amazement at the layout. The pilot chuckled. “Make yourselves comfortable. I will begin the flight momentarily.”
“I call the master suite!” Dave exclaimed.
“Normally, I’d try to fight you for it, but I’m too tired,” Jack laughed.
“Wow,” Tim managed to say, “I’ve been on a couple of private jets, but corporate really stepped up their game. This is exquisite.”

Tim and Jack placed their bags on the couches as Dave retreated to the master suite while Antonio made his way to the cockpit and prepared for take off. Dave placed his bag on the floor in the corner once in the bedroom and took in the design. He captured several photos on his cell phone and sent them to Klaus along with a text.

D: Hey, babe, we’re on the jet, and it’s incredible! This is the master suite. It’s even got an attached bathroom with a shower. I think you and I need to book one of these for ourselves.
K: Wow! I wish I was there. How are things going so far?
D: Good. I don’t have complete details as to where exactly we’re staying yet, but I’ll find out from Jack momentarily.
K: Let me know when you do. I miss you.
D: I miss you, too, and I love you.
K: And I love you.

The pilot announced over the intercom that the flight was starting as Dave joined his colleague and manager in the sitting area. They discussed things over coffee. “Dave,” Jack began, “I have your gun in my bag.”
“Thanks for holding onto it for me. Where exactly are we heading?”
“Madrid,” Tim replied. “Corporate booked two rooms for us. You and Jack will be sharing one, but, from what I’ve gathered, the bedrooms and bathrooms are private while the kitchen and sitting areas are shared. Our rooms are next to each other, and a washer and dryer are included.”
“What’s on the agenda once we land?”
“A day to relax. Seeing that Spain is six hours ahead, we’ll actually arrive around six or seven in the evening. There are some areas to avoid in Madrid, and I recommend that, if you are to explore, you don’t go alone. Our mission has no specific deadline, and corporate said that we can take as much time as we need to plan the best approach for handling the drug traffickers. They frequent an unsafe ghost town known as Valdeluz, prime territory for crime. It contains a housing unit as well as an abandoned train station that failed to flourish, and it’s been vacant for over a decade. It’s less than an hour from Madrid. We’ll need to stay on our toes and remain calm and collected to ensure that these men don’t suspect us. Watch out for each other.”
“Yes, sir,” Jack and Dave answered simultaneously.

Dave returned to the bedroom, stretched out on the bed to unwind and removed his cell phone to resume his conversation with Klaus.

D: I got more information, angel.
K: Pray tell?
D: We’re staying at a suite in Madrid, and we’ve been advised to explore the city in pairs. The drug traffickers hang out in an abandoned city called Valdeluz.
K: That sounds dangerous…
D: Don’t worry, love. We’ve handled guys like this before. We just have to tread lightly and stay on our toes.
K: Not that I want to think about it, but, in the event of an emergency, will medical personnel travel to that area?
D: I’m sure they will, but everything will be okay. Tonight, we may go out to eat depending on how we feel, and tomorrow we’ll likely relax while planning the best way to approach the gang.
K: Stay safe, sunshine.
D: I will. I’m pretty tired, angel. I think I’m going to take a nap. Would you like to video chat with me when we reach the hotel?
K: Absolutely! I love you. Get some sleep.
D: I love you, too.

The agent removed his jacket, shirt and shoes, plugged his phone in and drifted off to sleep quickly. Hours later, he was roused by Jack. “Rise and shine, Dave. We’ve just landed.”
“I slept the whole time…?” He opened his eyes and sat up slowly to stretch.
“Yeah, you must’ve been exhausted. Did you sleep last night?”
“Nah, I was up pretty late. Maybe only got five hours in. Where’s Tim?”
“Waiting on the tarmac for us.”
“All right. I’ll be out in a minute. I’m going to freshen up in the bathroom.”
“Of course.”

Dave yawned as he stumbled down the short hallway, nudged the door shut and used the toilet; he washed his hands and splashed water on his face before texting Klaus.

D: We’ve landed. I was so tired I slept the whole time. It’s a little after seven here. How are you, angel?
K: I still miss you, but I’m okay. Ben says hello.
D: Tell Ben hi. I miss you, too. Did you eat something?
K: Yeah, I ordered pizza and wings.
D: Good. I’m going to have to get used to this time zone. It’s strange that it’s afternoon in New Hampshire, but dusk here. We’re heading to our hotel in a few, and I’ll let you know when we’re there. I love you, babe.
K: I love you, too. Xo.

The agent lifted his bag, grabbed his phone and charger and captured a few more photos of the jet before departing to join his colleagues on the tarmac. They bade the pilot a farewell, greeted the cab driver, placed their bags in the trunk and settled inside the vehicle; the cabbie headed for the hotel as Dave sent Klaus the images of the aircraft’s interior and scanned his surroundings.

The ride, with the exception of occasional small talk, was silent, and, within an hour, the driver pulled into a massive parking lot and stopped in front of an upscale hotel. “Welcome to Madrid’s finest luxury suite, gentlemen. Your company has paid for this fare, so you are free to go. If you’re looking for a good place to eat, there is an impressive seafood restaurant not far from your hotel. They also serve steak and various types of poultry. Enjoy your stay.”

After thanking the cabbie, they carried their bags into the extravagant establishment and were greeted by the concierge. Once confirming who they were and the company they worked for, he handed them their keys and wished them a pleasant stay. The three of them took the elevator up to the fifth floor and wandered down the hall to their rooms. Tim unlocked his as Dave swiped his own key and opened the door to his and Jack’s suite. As soon as they entered, Jack turned the light on and closed the door; both of them were rendered speechless for a moment as they studied the floor plan.

Down the condensed hallway was a fully equipped kitchen and bar to the left and an eating area with a bay window to the right. At the end of the suite, across from each other, were two private bedrooms complete with king sized beds, end tables, dressers, fireplaces, flat screen televisions and adjoining bathrooms with walk-in showers and bathtubs. Dave set his bag down on the floor. “This is the most amazing hotel that I have ever stayed in. When Klaus and I get married, I’m definitely taking him to a place like this for our honeymoon.”
“Bow chicka wow wow,” Jack laughed.
“Shut up. Did you or Tim get any sleep on the charter?”
“Yeah, a few hours. You hungry?”
“Starving. Even though I slept the whole flight, I still feel tired. Should we see if they deliver?”
“Jet lag, my friend, and yes. Delivery sounds great. I’ll text the boss.”
“All right. I’m going to chat with Klaus.”

Dave closed his bedroom door and dialed Klaus’ number, unable to keep from smiling when he picked up.

“Hey, sunshine. How is everything?”
“Fantastic, angel. We’re at the hotel, and it’s magnificent. I’ve got my own private bed and bath. Did the pictures of the charter jet send?”
“Yeah, it looked incredible. What’s the hotel like?”
“Oh, it’s gorgeous, Klaus. It overlooks the city. We’re having dinner delivered here tonight so we can relax. What are you up to right now?”
“I’m actually in the hot tub drinking tea. Fireplace is going strong.”
“You are, huh?”
“Mhm. There’s a chance I’m not wearing anything.”

Chapter Text

Jack tapped on Dave’s bedroom door. “Are you decent?”
“Hold on, love.” He opened the door. “Yes, I’m decent. What’s up?”
“Tim and I decided on what we’re ordering. I’ve got the restaurant on hold. What would you like?”
“Calamari, shrimp cocktail, crab legs and steak with a side of vegetables and rice.”
“All right. Anything to drink?”
“Uh, cafe con leche.”
“Okay. I’ll bug you again when everything gets here.”
“Sounds good.”

Dave closed the door again and sprawled out in the bed. “Sorry, babe. You’re sitting in our jacuzzi naked without me, huh?”
“Mhm. Would you like me to prove it?”
“I’d ask if you’re in the mood for some phone sex, but it’d be too risky since Jack is there, right?”
“Right. Angel, would you like to experience what it’s like to fly on a charter jet?”
“You’re serious?” He couldn’t contain his excitement.
“Of course. When we’re married, I’d be happy to reserve one for us to take to a honeymoon destination of our choosing.”
“I’d love that, darling, and I love you!”
“I love you, too.”

They talked for a while until Jack knocked on the door again and informed Dave that the food had arrived. The agent acknowledged him, and then said to Klaus, “Hey, love, dinner’s here. I’m probably going to eat in the bedroom. Would you like to video chat once I’m settled?”
“Absolutely! As soon as we get off the phone, I’ll be sure to send you that picture.”
“And I am looking forward to it. Talk to you soon, angel.”

Dave disconnected the call, exited the bedroom and stepped into the kitchen to see Jack dishing up the portions. “Hey, Jack,” he announced. “Smells good.”
“Let’s hope the cabbie was right about this place. How’s Klaus doing?”
“He’s all right. A bit worried about having nightmares, but otherwise okay.”
“Nightmares about his past…?”
“Well, sort of. It’s complicated, and you’d probably think he was crazy.”
“Did you forget that I heard about the cafe incident?”
“Yeah,” he laughed, “I did actually.”
“I didn’t want to ask you about it at the time, but I quickly realized I have no idea how to even go about bringing a topic like that up. Tim wasn’t too elaborate though.”
“Klaus can conjure the dead, but he hasn’t figured out how to completely control the ghosts yet. They come to him while he’s asleep, hence the nightmares, but he hasn’t had any in a long time. I told him he can call me anytime he’s feeling anxious. I hope he’ll be okay.”
“I’m sure he will, but at least he’s got you, right?”
“Right. I promised him we’d video chat while I ate, so I’ll be in the bedroom if you need anything.”
“All right. Tell him I said hi.”

Dave picked up his plate and cup before returning to his room and closing the door with his hip. He set his meal and beverage on the end table and rummaged around his bag until he found his laptop and charger. As it booted up, he leaned against the headboard and began eating; while he waited for it to load, an image from the seance came through. He took a sip of his drink as he opened the message and nearly choked on the liquid as the heat rose up in his cheeks. He promptly saved it to his phone and checked on the computer, pleased that it was ready for use. He set his phone down, connected to the WiFi, launched the video program and called Klaus. When his fiance’s face popped up on the screen, he smiled.

“Good evening, angel.”
“Good afternoon, sunshine.”
They laughed, and Dave took another bite of his food. “How are you doing?”
“Okay. I don’t like being here alone.”
“I know, love. I don’t like being away from you either. Are you still on the deck?”
“Yeah. I livened up the fire and put a pair of your pants on. It’s really cold.”
“I wish I was there to warm you up. Speaking of heat, I got the picture you sent me.”
“Oh? Did you like it?”
“Like is an understatement. I saved it to my phone.”
“I’d be happy to send you more. I might even be willing to put on a show for you while we video chat.”
“I’m not against that, love, but I should mention that Jack’s room is across from mine.”
“In that case, I’ll continue sending you saucy photos.”
“Mm, you would, huh? I definitely wouldn’t mind that.”

As they communicated, Dave finished his meal and excused himself for a moment to clean the dishes. Once he’d returned to his bedroom, he opened the window and moved the laptop to rest on the spare pillow; he situated himself beneath the covers and propped himself up on his elbow as the conversation with his fiance resumed. Hours ticked by, and midnight rolled up in Spain, and the agent’s eyes began to grow heavy as he settled further into the blankets and smiled at Klaus.

“I wish you were here with me, angel,” he murmured. “I miss you a lot.”
“I miss you a lot, too. What time is it there?”
“A little after midnight.”
“You should rest, sunshine.”
“As exhausted as I am, I’d find it easier to fall asleep if I had you to curl up with. We haven’t been away from each other since we met, have we?”
“Not like this, no. Please, my love, try to sleep. I love you so much, and I want you to be safe.”
“I love you, too, darling.” He closed his eyes.
“Goodnight, sweetheart.”

Klaus disconnected the video chat and closed his laptop as he glanced at Ben who tried to console him as best he could. The two headed inside the house, and the seance burrowed beneath the blankets on the agent’s side of the bed and allowed sleep to consume him despite it being early evening. His brother watched over him, understanding it was difficult for him to be without Dave, wishing he could do something other than just sit idly by.

The agent was so exhausted that he’d fallen asleep without powering down his laptop or closing the window. Jack lightly tapped on his bedroom door, opened it slowly when he didn’t hear a response and stepped inside. He quietly placed his colleague's gun on the end table, powered his laptop down and set it beside the weapon; he then closed and locked the window and draped a blanket over him before returning to his own room.

Late into the morning, Dave stirred and rubbed his eyes as he opened them. Stretching, he sat up and glanced at the clock followed by his phone to see he had a few missed calls from his mother and several texts from Klaus. Guilt coursed through him as he dialed Dorothy’s number; he’d never contacted her after he’d landed. He wasn’t sure if she’d answer as it was about five AM in the state, but, when she did, he winced at how worried she sounded. “Honey, are you okay?”
“Mom, I’m so sorry I didn’t call you. I slept the whole time on the jet, and the time difference here is messing with my head. I just woke up. It’s eleven in the morning.”
“It’s okay, sweetie. Is everything going well so far?”
“Yeah. The hotel is nice. I’m not sure what’s happening today. We’ve been warned to take our time gathering information on the drug traffickers before stopping them.”
“Do you know what area they frequent?”
He cleared his throat. “Um, it’s a ghost town called Valdeluz. The police don’t really go out there.”
“But they want you to?”
“We wouldn’t be suspected immediately. I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, baby. How’s Klaus?”
“He’s all right … he’s not with me unfortunately. Corporate won’t let him tag along anymore.”
“I’m sorry, honey.” She could hear his sadness.
“It’s okay. We’re staying in touch, but it’s still not easy to be so far from him. We haven’t been away from each other since we met.” His voice cracked. “I miss him a lot…”
“Honey, time will pass quickly, and you’ll be home with him soon. Would you mind sending me the address of where you’re staying?”
“I’ll text it to you. I need some coffee.”
“Be safe out there, and please check in with me when you can. I love you.”
“I will. I love you, too, mom.”

Chapter Text

Dave ended the call and carried his phone out into the kitchen as the aroma of freshly brewed coffee greeted him. “Morning, sunshine,” Jack acknowledged with a chuckle. “About time you woke up. Sleep well?”
The agent’s breath hitched. “That’s what Klaus calls me. I slept all right. You?”
“Like a baby. Want some coffee?”
“Please. I talked to my mom a few minutes ago.”
“How’s she doing?”
“She’s worried about me, but she’s doing well. After I get some caffeine in me and shower, I’m going to call Klaus. Did you hear from Tim yet?”
“Nah, he’s probably plotting what we’re going to do today.”
“Works for me.” He accepted the mug that was offered to him. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.”

Jack claimed a seat at the bar while Dave perched on the sill below the bay window and observed the scenery. Madrid seemed to be a busy city, and it made him miss his cozy secluded house and his companion even more. With a sigh, he sipped at his coffee, opened up the images that the seance had sent to him and nearly choked at how provocative they were. He risked a glance at his colleague to be sure he wasn’t watching and studied each photograph as he felt his arousal surfacing. Blushing, his mouth almost fell open at the last one; his fiance was seductively posed on their bed wearing a revealing black lace lingerie dress. The caption below the picture read: “a little reminder for what you’re missing.”

With a quiet whimper, he saved the image and cast a timid look toward Jack. “I’m going to take a shower. Let me know if you hear from Tim.”
“Sure will.”
“Thanks.” The agent slowly got up, making a point to keep his back toward his coworker.
“I’m making breakfast soon. Anything in particular you want?”
“Eggs will do.”

Dave disappeared into the bathroom and removed his shirt before responding to Klaus.

D: You’re sexy. That gown you had on...
K: I bought it recently. Thought you’d find it appealing.
D: You look incredible in it. I wish I was home…
K: A little turned on, agent?
D: A little is an understatement. I had to excuse myself to my room.
K: Haha, sorry! Did Jack notice?
D: Thankfully, no, but I’m not sure this will resolve on its own.
K: Mm, really?
D: Yeah … I’m going to take a shower.
K: Have fun, babe. I love and miss you!
D: I love you, too, and I miss you so much.

Dave put his phone on the edge of the sink, prepared the shower, removed his pants and stepped in, sighing when the warmth washed over his skin. He placed his right hand on the wall and, with a shaky breath, stared at his erection and took hold of it. Awkwardly, he stroked himself, biting his lip to muffle any sounds, until he came with a shudder. He washed all traces down the drain and cleaned himself up before shutting the water off, drying and dressing into something more presentable than pajamas. He then sent Klaus another text.

D: Out of the shower. Did you sleep okay last night?
K: Yeah. I wore your clothes, and Ben kept me company. No nightmares yet.
D: Good. Um, that lingerie you bought … do I get to see you in it when I get home?
K: Oh, absolutely. I’ll be sure to have it on when you walk through the door.
D: Yeah?
K: Mhm. I’ll send you more pics, too. Sunshine?
D: Yes?
K: I might’ve bought more lingerie for our honeymoon. Lingerie that you won’t be allowed to see until then. I also ordered more pleasure enhancing lubricant for that trip … not that we need pleasure enhancers. I can’t speak for myself, but you’re incredibly amazing in bed.
D: I am, huh? You are, too. Would it be too much to ask if I could make love to you while you wear that gown?
K: Absolutely not, sweetheart. I’d love to be taken in it. How are things so far?
D: Looking forward to it. Things are good. Jack and I are going to eat breakfast soon and wait to hear what Tim has to say. I’m hoping for another chill day. Maybe a chance to explore the town.
K: What’s it like?
D: Busy. It makes me miss our home and you even more. If I head out, I’ll send you some pics.
K: Sounds fabulous, sunshine. Be safe. I love you so much, and I can’t wait to have you back in my arms.
D: I second that, my angel. I love you, too, and I’ll check in later.

Dave brushed his teeth, pocketed his phone and rejoined Jack, inhaling the various aromas of food. “Smells good,” he commented.
“I made eggs, bacon and sausage with a side of fruit. I also brewed a fresh pot of coffee. Tim texted me.”
“What’d he say?”
“He’s going to hang back in his hotel room and consult with the local police for more information on Valdeluz. He said we’re free to check out the city as long as we stick together.”
“Good. I was hoping for another easy day.”
“We might get a few of those. Corporate has advised us to gather as much information on these drug traffickers before we move in to meet them face to face.”
“That’s fine by me.”
“Me, too.”
“I hope we can take these guys down without incident.”
“I’m sure things will go smoothly.”

The two consumed breakfast and another cup of coffee; Dave handled cleaning up while Jack readied himself for the day. He reentered the sitting area and glanced at his colleague. “Want to head out? See what Madrid has to offer?”
“Sure. Since Corporate’s offered to pay for cabs, lodging and meals, we might as well take advantage of our free time.”
“I agree. Come on. If you’re up for it, we can walk and hitch a ride on the way back if needed.”
“That’ll work. Looks like everything’s pretty close together. I must say being back in a big city is making me even more homesick.”
“I bet. I like your house. It’s cozy.”

As they exited the hotel, they ambled down the sidewalk, stopping in gift shops and boutiques, where Jack purchased some items for himself and Dave chose things for himself and Klaus. After a while, they grabbed a bite to eat for a late lunch and consumed it by the river before returning to the hotel. Once they got to their suite, they put their items in their bedrooms as they received a group text message instructing them to meet with their manager in his suite immediately. Without wasting another second, they obliged and knocked on his door; he opened it instantly and ushered them inside.

Jack and Dave sat on the couch and stared expectantly at Tim as he paced back and forth, seemingly lost in thought. After a moment, he halted and faced them. “Gentlemen, I spent the majority of today gathering loads of information on the drug traffickers, and, as much as I’d like us to have more free time, I think it’s best if we venture to Valdeluz tomorrow to scout out the area. We’ll avoid the building they’re known to frequent and just pass through to get a feel for the terrain. Capture photos and document any suspicious activity you witness, but do it discreetly. Given that it’s a ghost town and there are many vacant places to hide, we need to remain vigilant.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Now that we covered that, both of you can return to your rooms or stay here for a while. I was just about to order dinner. I haven’t eaten anything all day.”
“Sorry, Tim, I think I’m gonna eat and then call it a night,” Jack spoke up, pointing to Dave. “I was up a lot earlier than this guy.”
“I’m with him, boss. I promised Klaus I’d check in with him.”
“Fair enough. Have a good night, and get plenty of rest. Set your alarms for six AM.”
“Yes, sir,” they answered simultaneously.
“See you tomorrow morning.”

They returned to their own suite, and, as Jack locked the door, he asked, “What do you feel like eating?”
“Something light. A pasta dish will do.”
“All right. I’ll call something in from room service.”
“Okay. I’m going to contact my mom and Klaus.”
“I’ll let you know when the food’s here.”

Chapter Text

Dave plugged his phone and laptop in to allow them to charge and called his mom; she answered within minutes. “Hi, baby. How are you?”
“I’m good. Sorry I didn’t send you the address earlier.” He recited it for her. “Jack and I explored the area and just got back to our room. It’s almost eight PM here.”
“That’s all right. Did you have fun? What’s it like?”
“Yeah. We checked out some gift shops and grabbed lunch. We’re getting dinner from room service. It’s a bustling city.”
“What’s on the agenda tomorrow?”
“Well … we unfortunately have to be up early. Tim got a lot of new information, so we’re going to scout Valdeluz to get acquainted with the town before we meet with the drug traffickers.”
“Be safe, sweetie. Don’t stay up too late tonight. Have you informed Klaus yet?”
“No, but I’m about to video chat with him. I love you, mom, and I’ll call you when we get back to our suite tomorrow.”
“Okay, honey. I love you, too. Take care of yourself.”

When the call ended, Dave sent Klaus the photos he’d captured of the city and informed him that he’d be available to video chat momentarily. He booted up his laptop and stretched out on the bed as he waited for everything to load; he opened the video program and hit the call button, smiling when his fiance’s face appeared on the screen.

“Hey, beautiful,” Klaus greeted. “I received the photos. You weren’t kidding. Spain is busy, but the river looked stunning. How was your day?”
“Hi, angel. It was good. Jack and I picked up some lunch at a local restaurant and stopped at a few gift shops. I bought something for you.”
“You did? May I see it?”
“Sorry, love. That’s to remain a surprise until I’m home. How are you?”
“I’m okay. I miss you terribly, but I’m managing.”
“I miss you, too. I have to be up early tomorrow. We’re going to Valdeluz with Tim to get a feel for the area, so I may not be reachable for a bit.”
“What time?”
“We’re getting up at six AM.”
“Hm … midnight here at that time. I might still be awake. I may not have had any nightmares yet, but it’s hard to sleep alone.”
“I know, darling. I don’t like being away from you either. Hey…” He tilted his head. “Who’s that sitting next to you?”
“Huh?” He raised his brow and gasped. “You can see him?”
“Is that Ben? He’s wearing a black leather jacket and has a book.”
“Yeah, it is him. How…?”
“I’ve always heard that cameras can detect ghosts, but I never believed it to be true.”
“I’m glad you can see him, Dave. Ben was there for me a lot in the past before I met you. He’s always been supportive even when none of my other siblings were.”
“I’m happy you have him there. He sounds like he’s a good brother.”
“Yeah, he really is.”
Jack knocked on Dave’s door. “Food’s here.”
“Hold on, angel.” He smiled. “Dinner’s just arrived.”

Dave opened his bedroom door to see his colleague standing there with his plate of food and a drink. “I also ordered you a cafe con leche.”
“Thanks, Jack.” He accepted the meal.
“No problem. You got Klaus on a call?”
“Tell him I said hi.”
“Of course.”
“Have a good night in case I don’t see you until morning. I’ll be in my room.”
“All right. Sleep well.”
“You, too.”

Jack disappeared into his own room as Dave nudged the door shut with his hip and returned to the bed. He placed the food in his lap and the drink on the end table and smiled at Klaus. “Jack says hi. What’d you do today so far, love? It feels weird asking that since it’s still afternoon there.”
“I started my day with coffee and made some waffles. For lunch, I ordered Chinese food, and I don’t know what I’ll do for dinner yet. Your mom called to check on me.”
“Did she? That’s sweet.”
“Yeah. It’s freezing here. Snowed a lot last night. I might take a dip in our hot tub later this evening.”
“Do I get more pictures?”
“Oh, of course, sunshine.”

Dave finished his pasta and beverage while maintaining his conversation with his fiance. When it neared eleven PM, he yawned and frowned. “Angel, I hate to cut this off, but I’m pretty tired.”
“It’s okay, my love. You need your rest for tomorrow. Be safe. I love and miss you.”
“I love and miss you, too, Klaus. I’ll check in with you as often as I can. I’ll send you a good morning text before we leave.”
“I’d like that. Goodnight, sunshine.”
“Goodnight, love.”

He disconnected the chat, powered down his laptop and set his phone alarm for six AM as previously instructed by Tim. After moving his computer off the bed, he turned the light off and cocooned himself under the covers, sleep swallowing him up quickly. The next morning, he woke abruptly to the alarm blaring and fumbled in the dark to silence it. Groaning, he sat up and let the covers fall to his waist as he stretched and rubbed his eyes. He checked his phone for any messages he had and opened several attached images from Klaus, blushing at the very sight of them. He saved them to his phone and sent him a text as promised before escaping into the bathroom to shower, change and brush his teeth.

When he finished getting ready, he glanced at his phone to see if he’d gotten a response, disappointed when there were no new messages; he was happy that his fiance was likely sleeping, but he had hoped to hear from him before venturing out. Upon exiting his bedroom, he noticed that the light in Jack’s room was on and heard him bustling about. He headed for the kitchen, washed his dishes and brewed a fresh pot of coffee; he filled two travel mugs up, added creamer and perched on the bay window to wait for his colleague. He sent his mother a good morning text message and then contacted his manager.

D: Hey, Tim. We’re almost ready.
T: Perfect. Meet me out front. There will be a cab waiting.
D: All right. We getting breakfast?
T: I grabbed things from the lobby.
D: Cool. Thanks. See you shortly.

Dave pocketed his phone and leaned against the window until Jack entered the room. “Hey, Dave.”
“Jack,” he responded. “I just spoke to Tim. He’s outside waiting by our cab.”
“Covered. Ready?”
“Sure am. Did you hear from Klaus or your mom?”
“Not yet. I’ll put my phone on silent when we get to Valdeluz.”
“Sounds good.”

They carried their coffee out of their suite, took the elevator down to the lobby and met their manager out front. “Gentlemen,” he acknowledged, gesturing toward the cab.
“Tim,” they simultaneously answered as they settled in the backseat.
“Did you both get enough sleep?” he questioned, situating himself in the front passenger seat.
“Enough to function,” Dave laughed. “Crashed around eleven.”
“I was out pretty early,” Jack answered. “Before ten I think.”
“Good. We shouldn’t be in Valdeluz for long, but we still need to be alert.”
“Yes, sir.”

The ride to Valdeluz was silent as they consumed their breakfast and coffee, unbothered by the lack of conversation. Dave heard from both his mother and Klaus just before arriving at the rusty, damaged gates leading to the ghost town. Unable to respond, he frowned as he silenced and pocketed his phone, and then followed Tim and Jack down the dirt path. The trio remained close to one another and kept their eyes open for any signs of life and suspicious activity. There were a significant amount of vacant buildings; some were crumbling and being reclaimed by nature and others were unscathed for the most part with the exception of graffiti, missing doors and broken windows. They made sure to cover every square inch of the grounds and captured photographic and video evidence before returning to the gates. Once a cab was hailed, they settled in the vehicle immediately and were transported back to their hotel. When they’d reached their rooms, Tim instructed them to take the rest of the day off while he sorted through their findings and consulted more with the local police department.

Chapter Text

They nodded and retreated into their suite, ordered brunch from the hotel’s kitchen and ate in their bedrooms. Dave responded to his mother first to inform her that he’d returned to the hotel and that everything in Valdeluz went smoothly; he then called Klaus after he finished his meal and softly said, “Hi, angel. We’re back at the hotel,” when he answered.
“How’d it go?”
“No casualties. It’s a spooky area, but we didn’t see a single soul out there. We covered the entire area and got a lot of fresh evidence.”
“What’s the plan now?”
“Tim didn’t specify. He took what we gathered and is consulting with the police again. I’m hoping we can have a bit of a break before we return.”
“Are you worried about something happening?”
“A little,” he admitted. “These men could be extremely dangerous according to corporate. I’d like everything to be handled without anyone getting hurt … or worse.”
“Sunshine,” Klaus murmured with a trembling voice, “I’m scared for your safety, too. I don’t like that you’re so far away…”
“I know, love. I don’t like it either, but what do we have to look forward to?”
“Our wedding…”
“What’s the next thing?”
“The honeymoon.”
“That’s right, and I promise I’ll be home before we know it, and we’ll start the planning process.”
“Yeah…” He sniffled. “Be safe, babe…”
“Klaus…” He sighed, wishing he could hug his fiance. “What can I do to ease your fears?”
“I don’t know … Can we video chat?”
“Of course. I’ll be on momentarily.”

Dave ended the call, plugged his phone in and placed it on the bedside table as he booted up his laptop; he opened up the video program when it loaded, connected with Klaus and his smile faded as he noticed immediately that his fiance had been crying. “Angel…” he murmured.
“I’m sorry…” he whispered. “I’m trying to be strong, but it’s not easy. I want you to come home.”
“Oh, love, it’s okay. Breathe,” he soothed. “I’m right here, and I’m not going anywhere.”
“I’m terrified. You’re so far away, and … if something does happen … how will I get to you?”
“Nothing’s going to happen, babe. We’ll be fine. Talk to me. What can I do to help you?”
“Come home,” he blurted weakly. “Please…”
“Klaus, I can’t just leave…” He reached out and touched the screen, wishing it was him. “Take a deep breath. What room are you in?”
“The loft.”
“Would you mind doing something for me?”
“If you’re not already, dress into something of mine and take the computer and some blankets out on the deck. Light a fire if you’d like and listen to the sounds of nature. The birds chirping and the bees buzzing. Any sound that’s around you. Focus on them and keep taking deep breaths.”

The seance nodded and set his laptop down to rummage through the drawers until he found a favorite article of clothing that belonged to his fiance. He changed into it, pulled the quilt and fleece throw blanket off the bed and headed out onto the deck with them and his computer. He placed the device down to arrange the blankets and light the fireplace; he bundled himself up in the warm fabric and shifted the laptop a bit to see his lover better and smiled softly.

“Is that helping?” the agent questioned.
“Yeah, a little. It’s more peaceful out here. The house is too quiet without you.”
“I wish I knew what to say, baby.”
“It’s okay. I miss you.”
“I miss you, too. Have you considered calling someone to keep you company while I’m gone?”
“Sort of. I don’t want them to feel obligated…”
“Angel, what do you mean?”
“My siblings…” He frowned. “They’re better now, but there’s still unresolved issues between us…”
“What about my mother? She’d drop everything in a heartbeat to stay with you.”
“I know, but I have to try to do this on my own. This won’t be the first time we’re miles away from each other. Ben helps me cope … he always has … but I need to be strong on my own…”
“You’re so brave, my love, and you are strong. I love you very much. Keep listening to the sounds of nature. The crackling fire. What else can you hear?”
“Your voice.” He smiled. “The wind howling through the trees.”
“What do you smell?”
“The smoke ... firewood burning.”
“You. Ben. The forest … snow…” He wrapped the blanket tightly around his shoulders. “Thanks, sunshine…”
“Feel better?”
“Yeah.” He smiled again. “I love you.”
“And I love you.”

The couple conversed for a while longer, breaking briefly so Klaus could eat breakfast and Dave could eat lunch. When they resumed, they agreed that being in a time zone with a six hour difference was unpleasant. The remainder of the day passed by steadily, and Jack ordered dinner from room service and brought a container of food to his colleague. Later in the evening, before bed, Dave contacted his fiance again and chatted with him until he could no longer keep his eyes open.

As the days turned into weeks, Tim kept his employees updated each time he received new information from the police. He informed them that they’d have a break until further notice as he wanted everyone to be completely prepared before meeting with the drug traffickers face to face. He advised them to keep their guns handy but to be sure that they were concealed and act as though they were interested in assisting with the trafficking process to avoid being suspected. He also mentioned that he’d have at least one undercover police officer who specialized in close range hand to hand combat join them.

Dave kept Klaus and his mother updated, but he grew increasingly anxious the longer he was away from his fiance. In an attempt to distract himself, during a phone call, they briefly discussed where they should get married and go for their honeymoon, but they chose not to finalize things right away. Late one evening, while he was video chatting with the seance, nearly two months after sorting things out, Tim sent out a group text message to his employees, instructing them to prepare to return to Valdeluz in two days time. Sighing audibly, Dave discussed the new plan of action with his companion, frowning when his voice cracked.

They continued their conversation for a while longer, but Dave was having a hard time keeping his eyes open as the clock passed midnight. He did what he could to try to ease his fiance’s fears before regretfully bringing the chat to a close. He promised that, even if he left the hotel, he’d communicate with him as much as possible before the mission began and even when he had a break.

The agent powered down his laptop, plugged it in to charge overnight and placed his phone on the end table. He took a quick shower, brushed his teeth and changed into the silk pajamas his mother purchased for him before switching the light off and curling up in the bed. Cocooning himself beneath the blankets, his mind was inundated with overwhelming thoughts.

Why didn’t I just say no to this one? What if things go south and something does happen to Jack, Tim or me? What if this was a mistake and I won’t make it home to marry Klaus? What if I never see him again?

Tears slid down his cheeks, and he attempted to muffle his broken sobs by burying his face into his pillow, flinching when his bedroom door slowly opened. Jack’s gentle voice inquired, “Dave, you okay?” as he sat at the foot of the bed.
“Not really…” he whimpered.
“Want to talk?”
“I’m scared, Jack. My anxiety has been through the roof lately.” The words poured out of him. “It’s never been an issue in the past, but now … I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I shouldn’t have come here. I should have declined. I want to go home…”
“Dave…” Jack felt terrible for him. “Nothing’s wrong with you. It’s okay to be anxious or upset or worried. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult things are for you right now … how much you miss Klaus … but you’ll be back home with him soon, yeah?”
“I’m terrified I won’t make it out alive,” he mumbled weakly.
“You will. Tim and I have your back, and we won’t let anything happen to you. Nobody’s going to get hurt. We’ll all return to the states safe and sound. I promise.”
“Thanks, Jack…” Despite his colleague’s attempt to calm him, he didn’t feel reassured.
“Of course. Is there anything I can do for you? Want some tea?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Yeah.” His voice cracked, and he winced. 

He sighed softly. “Hey, man,” he murmured, “we’ve still got a couple days before heading back to Valdeluz. Take it easy. Breathe. Get some rest tonight and sleep in tomorrow. Everything will be okay. I’ll keep my bedroom door open in case you need anything, all right?”
“Sure.” He offered a partial smile. “Thanks, Jack.”
“You’re welcome. Good night.”

Jack retreated to his room and, as promised, he kept the door ajar before turning the light off and getting into bed; sleep came to him as soon as his head hit the pillow. From his own bed, Dave pulled the covers over his head and tried to fall asleep, but it was proving to be evasive. With a heavy exhale, he peeked at the clock - it was just after one in the morning which put New Hampshire at around seven in the evening. He wanted to speak to Klaus even though he had not long ago, but he didn’t want to upset him again, so he contacted his mother.

When she answered, she beamed, “Hello, sweetie!”
“Hi, mom.” He smiled softly, but his voice didn’t sound as strong as he’d hoped.
“What’s wrong?” She picked up on his distress instantly.
“A lot…”
“Talk to me, baby.”
“I spoke to Klaus earlier, and it’s hard, mom, to be this far from him. He was so upset when our conversation ended. I made a mistake by agreeing to travel to Spain for this mission. I’m … I didn’t want to tell him this, but I have a bad feeling that things will go south. I’ve never been so anxious about a case before.”
“Honey, there’s nothing wrong with being afraid. I’m worried about you, too, but I tell myself as often as I can that you and your colleagues will return safely. The three of you have been working in this field for quite some time, and each of you know what you’re doing. It isn’t a perfect solution to my anxieties as your mother, but it does help ease my mind. I can’t tell you why you’ve been so anxious lately, but I might have a pretty good idea. You’ve got someone you love to come home to, and it’ll never be easy to leave him for extended periods, but it will strengthen your relationship with each other. It must be late there, huh?”
“Yeah…” Dave absorbed every word she spoke and felt better. “It’s after one.”
“You should rest.”
“I tried, but I can’t sleep. I’m returning to Valdeluz in two days with Jack and Tim to meet with these drug traffickers. I don’t know if I can do it.”
“Breathe, honey. You’re brave and strong, and you’ve got this. What’s something that helps to relax you?”
“Um, soft music … sounds of nature … crackling fires … Klaus…”
“Why don’t you give your fiance a call again? Chat with him until you fall asleep?”
“But he was upset earlier…”
“I know, and he will be until you come home, but I’m certain he’d still love to hear from you.”
“You’re right. Thanks, mom. I love and miss you.”
“I love and miss you, too, baby. Take care of yourself. Keep me posted on your progress.”

Chapter Text

After ending the call, Dave sighed and got out of bed, taking a blanket and his phone with him, and started a small fire in the furnace. Bundling up in the warm fabric, he contacted his fiance, smiling when he heard his voice. “Hey, sunshine. Are you okay?”
“Hi, angel. I’m … I’m all right. I called you because I can’t sleep.”
“My beautiful agent,” he murmured, “what can I do?”
“I don’t know, Klaus. I’m not confident about this mission, and I don’t know why. I keep associating it with what happened in the warehouse with those kids. That was the first time I took a life in all the years I’ve worked in this field, and I don’t think I can do it again. These men are allegedly dangerous, and I’m certain we won’t be able to avoid opening fire at some point.”
“If I hesitate or freeze, I co -”
“Shh, darling, that’s not going to happen. You’re strong, and you can do this. Tell me what I can do to help you relax.”
“I, um, I’m not sure.” He wanted to leave. Pack his bag and fly back to New Hampshire. “Where are you right now?”
“The deck. It’s a nice night.”
“Klaus…” His voice was breaking. “Describe what’s around you. What can you see and hear? Talk to me until I fall asleep … please?”

The seance stretched out in front of the fireplace and provided as much detail as possible for his fiance. They remained on the phone with one another well into the evening, and, around three in the morning, the agent felt relaxed enough to sleep. When he disconnected, he plugged his phone in, used the bathroom, pulled the sheets off the bed and set up a makeshift bed on the floor. He grabbed a pillow, settled down, burrowing beneath the quilt, and drifted off to sleep fairly quickly. Hours later, just before dawn, he began to twitch and whimper as unpleasant thoughts invaded his slumbering mind.

The warehouse walls loomed over him, and the small group of teenagers surrounded him as he ended their leader’s life with a single bullet. The police moved in, and Jack was calling his name, but he was frozen in shock.

He gripped at the pillow, unable to wake up, as the horrific images replayed themselves repeatedly. Sobbing quietly, sweat beaded along his forehead and soaked through his pajamas; he mumbled incoherently, bolting upright with a gasp when he felt someone clutch his arm. Disoriented, he peered around the dimly lit room until his eyes fell onto his colleague’s worried expression.

Dave let the quilt drop to the floor as he pulled his knees up to his chest and hugged himself, hastily realizing that he was trembling. Jack cautiously moved closer and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Bad dream,” he whispered, avoiding eye contact.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Not really.” He let out an unsteady breath. “What time is it?”
“Almost five. Is there anything I can do for you? Want some tea?”
“I don’t know.” He rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “I don’t know what I want…”
The agent did know what he wanted, though; he wished he was home with his fiance in their cozy home. Soon, he told himself, you’ll be back in New Hampshire safe and sound. He shuddered as not even his thoughts were confident and looked at Jack. “I’m going to take a shower and change into something else.”
“Sure. I’ll make something for breakfast in case you decide to join me.”
“Thanks, Jack…”
“Hey, Dave?”
“I can’t promise things will go smoothly, but I can assure you that Tim and I will be there to protect you and have your back. We’ve got today and tomorrow to collect ourselves, so focus on relaxing, all right? I’m sure there are spas around here … perhaps you could book a massage.”
“Maybe. I’m self conscious about strangers touching me,” he laughed. “Too many scars…”
“I get that, man, but I think you’d benefit from it. It could help you feel more at ease. There might even be mobile massage therapists.”
“I’ll think about it.”

Jack nodded and stepped out of the room as Dave escaped into the bathroom and closed the door. He decided on a bath and, while the tub filled, he stripped down to his boxers and splashed water over his face to cool down. Upon switching the nozzle to the off position, he removed his underwear and submerged himself, sighing contentedly as the warm liquid lapped at his skin. After washing, he allowed the water to drain and stepped out to dry himself before dressing into something loose and comfortable.

While he brewed a pot of coffee and cooked breakfast, Jack browsed his phone for massage therapists and clicked on an intriguing website. According to their hours, they weren’t yet open, but they offered an extensive variety of services including, but not limited to, aromatherapy and full body massages and techniques using hot stones. After reading the benefits of those three, he found a section to book an appointment online and made a reservation for the following evening at five, ensuring that he selected a masseuse who traveled to clients.

As soon as Dave entered the kitchen, Jack put his phone in his pocket and addressed him. “Feeling any better?”
“A little.” He poured a mug of coffee and perched on the bay window sill. “I’m still on edge. I talked to my mom last night after you went to your room, and she convinced me to call Klaus again. He and I chatted for a while before I was able to sleep for a few hours at least. I haven’t had any nightmares in a long time. I might take a nap after breakfast.”
“Of course. Take it easy today.”
“I’ll do my best. I’d like to talk to my fiance, but being six hours ahead of him isn’t fun. It’s possible he’s awake seeing as it’s close to midnight there. He occasionally stays up late, but I don’t want to disturb him on the off chance he is sleeping.”
“I don’t think he’d mind, especially since you’re feeling troubled.”
“No, he wouldn’t, but I can’t bring myself to take that risk. He needs his rest, too.”

Jack nodded, turned the stove off and filled two plates with an even amount of pancakes, sausage patties and sunny side up eggs. He handed a dish to Dave and sat at the bar across from him; the two ate in silence, and, when they finished, Jack handled the dishes. His colleague moved to the couch and dragged the throw blanket over his tired body, dozing off within minutes. To avoid waking him, the other agent left him a note stating that he’d be in Tim’s suite and slipped out of the room.

Hours later, Dave woke to his phone ringing and fumbled through his pockets for it, sleepily answering, “Hello…?”
“Hello, sunshine!” Klaus beamed. “Did I wake you?”
“Mhm, but it’s all right.” He stretched and sat up, keeping the blanket around his shoulders. “How are you?”
“I’m okay. I still miss you a lot, but I’m managing.”
“I miss you, too, angel.” He briefly checked the time on his phone - 11 in the morning, putting the states at five. “Did you just wake up?”
“About a half an hour ago. I was out pretty early last night. I’m currently stretched out in our bed with a cup of coffee. Ben says hi. Did you sleep okay?”
“Hi, Ben. Um, not really…” He intentionally left the nightmare out of the conversation. “I’m still anxious. I don’t know how to relax either. Jack suggested a massage, but the idea of a stranger touching me so … intimately … isn’t appealing to me. I’d rather it be you.”
“Oh, I’d rather it be me, too, my love,” he chuckled, “but what if I requested that you consider it? A professional massage therapist would know exactly how to relieve tension and pain.”
“I’m not too keen on going to a parlor. I don’t know … it’s just … well, usually the patient is required to be undressed, covered only by a towel…”
“What if one could travel to the hotel?”
“I might consider it, then, but I’d still be naked in the presence of a stranger. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?”
“Not at all, babe. If modesty is an issue, perhaps they’d allow you to wear your boxers. Are you doing anything today?”
“I don’t know. Jack’s with Tim right now, and I don’t know when he’ll return. I might lounge around the hotel today or go for a walk on the beach. I’ll send you pictures if I venture out. Outside of the city is quite beautiful.”
“I’d like that.” He paused. “Speaking of pictures, I haven’t sent you anything in a while, have I? Would you care for some saucy photos, agent?”
“Klaus, I … um, y - yes. I’ll confess to taking a peek often at the one you sent me a while back … the real suggestive one…”
“When I was wearing lingerie?”
“It would be my pleasure to send you more images like that.”
“Okay.” His breath hitched. “Please.”
“I miss you, and I love you so much. I can’t even put into words how much I love you.”
“I miss you, too, and I love you more than anything in all this world.”

Chapter Text

The suite door opened, and Jack stepped in with two styrofoam boxes and a drink carrier. “Hey, Dave,” he greeted as he nudged the door closed and set the items on the counter.
“Hey, Jack.” He nodded. “Angel, is it okay if I call you back in a little while? My colleague brought lunch, and I need to freshen up. Would you like to video chat?”
“Of course, sunshine. Talk to you soon.”

They ended the conversation, and Jack and Dave ate at the bar, engaging in small talk. “Jack, I considered checking out the beach today to get some fresh air. Want to join me?”
“Sure, man. The weather’s pretty decent.”
“I promised Klaus I’d send him pics if we went out.”
“Sounds good. I’ll be ready to go shortly.”
“Okay.” He discarded the empty food containers. “I’m going to change my clothes real quick.”
“All right.”

Both agents went into their rooms, closed the doors and dressed into appropriate attire before heading out, ensuring that they had their phones and suite key cards. They hailed a cab, despite the beach not being too far, and exited the vehicle upon arrival. Taking in the stunning scenery, they gasped audibly at the white sand and clear blue ocean and wasted no time wandering down the steps. As they began their stroll, Dave captured several photos, texted them to Klaus and gave him time to respond before he planned on using his video application.

Jack cleared his throat. “This has got to be one of the finest beaches I’ve been to in all my travels. Dave, I, um, I have a confession to make…”
“What did you do?” he joked, nudging his arm.
“I know you said you’re self conscious of strangers touching you, and I originally had it in my head to keep it a secret, but I thought it’d be better to tell you. I booked you a massage for tomorrow evening.”
“Jack…” he protested.
“Don’t worry. I made sure to schedule a masseuse who would come to you. Give it a shot. I must say I envy the three I chose for you.”
“I guess … wait, three?”
“Yeah. I chose stone therapy where they use warm rocks from volcanic origin, an aromatherapy massage and a full body massage.”
“Um, the first two don’t sound bad, but I don’t know about the full body one…”
“I figured you’d say that, but look at it this way. They do this kind of stuff for a living, yeah? You’ve got nothing to be worry about.”
“Says the guy who’s not going to be the one practically nude in the presence of a complete stranger who will be intimately touching him. It’s difficult for me, Jack. I was even self conscious when Klaus first saw me fully undressed.”
“Too much info,” he laughed, “but this isn’t the same as that. Yes, the full body massage does involve … well, the full body … but they don’t go below the belt, and you’ll be covered with a towel.”
He nodded as his phone buzzed, alerting him of a text from his fiance. “Klaus suggested I ask if I can keep my boxers on. Mind if I contact him?”
That wouldn’t be a bad idea, and not at all.”
“Thanks. I want this mission to be over so I can return to the states. I miss him so much, and I’d like to see my mom again, too.”
“I know, man, but you’ll be home before you know it.”

Dave offered a brief smile as he opened the video app and connected with the seance, pleased when the service seemed stable. “Hey, angel.”
“Hello, sunshine.” He grinned. “The pictures are beautiful! Is Jack with you?”
“Yeah, he’s here.” He turned the phone toward him for a moment. “Apparently I have a scheduled massage tomorrow evening.”
“Pray tell?”
“Yeah. My colleague just informed me that he booked a package, and I’m getting a stone, aromatherapy and full body massage.”
“That sounds pleasant. Hm, what if I offered to learn the techniques? You and I could get really intimate, huh?”
“Um…” He blushed. “I’d like that…”
“Gross,” Jack laughed.
“Shut up,” Dave chuckled. “You’re the one who bought me and Klaus lubricant and is always antagonizing me about our sex life.”

Klaus and Ben swapped glances and burst into a fit of laughter along with the agents before composing themselves. “Hey, sunshine?” the seance spoke up.
“Yeah, angel?”
“Could mi hermano and I see the ocean?”
“Oh, yes, of course.” Dave turned the phone around. “The water is so clear. If the weather was a bit warmer, I’d go for a dip.”
“It looks incredible. I wish I was there.”
“We’ll travel the world, my love. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go.”
“Uh, Dave?” Jack questioned.
“When he says mi hermano, does he mean a ghost?”
“Yeah. His name is Ben.”
“Is he there all the time?”
“More or less.”
“By that, you mean…?”
“Don’t say it.”
“All right, fine. Where does he go?”
“I’m not sure.” He flipped the phone. “Angel, where does your brother go when he disappears?”
“Well…” Klaus giggled. “Do you really want to know?”
“Oh.” Dave blushed bright red as the realization dawned on him. “He doesn’t go anywhere…?”
“I’m afraid not, sunshine. He excuses himself from our bedroom, but he can’t leave the premises.”
“I don’t know what to say. Sorry that he has to hear us?”
“He says you’re forgiven and … um … that hearing us is less agonizing than when he heard me with my ex. He’s glad I have you. I’m glad I have you, too. I couldn’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else. I love you, sweetheart, so much, and I miss you a lot. I can’t wait to have you home.”
“Klaus…” The agent smiled softly. “I love you, too, and I miss you terribly. I promise we’ll start planning our wedding and honeymoon as soon as I return, and I’ll see about an extended hiatus from work.”

Jack couldn’t help but smile at how affectionate his colleague was with Klaus and nudged him softly as they continued walking along the beach. Dave kept up the conversation for as long as he could before his phone alerted him of a low battery. Regrettably, after promising his fiance that he’d contact him later, he ended the video call and pocketed his device. When they grew hungry, they opted to hail a cab back to the hotel and, once returning to their suite, ordered from room service. While waiting on the food, Dave plugged his phone and laptop in and took a shower; he wasn’t planning on heading out for the remainder of the day, so he dressed in loungewear. Upon joining his coworker in the kitchen, he spotted him dishing up the meals.

Dave thanked Jack, took his lunch into his bedroom, closed the door and set the plate down on the bed so he could check his phone. It still needed to sit on the charger, but he opened up the photos that he’d received from Klaus and felt the heat rising up in his cheeks. They’re getting more alluring, he thought. After saving the pictures, he began eating and called his mother first; he talked with her for a while until his phone and laptop had finished charging and sent his fiance a text to let him know he was ready to video chat.

He moved his plate off to the side and powered on the device; as soon as his laptop finished loading, the agent connected with the seance, breath catching when he noticed that he was donned in the black lace lingerie from the photographs. Almost rendered speechless, Dave looked him up and down and blushed. “Klaus, you … you’re…” he stammered.
“Yes, sunshine?” He raised his brow and seductively smiled at him.
“You look ravishing.”
“Mm, do I?”
“Yes…” He found his eyes wandering. “Klaus … I, um, I wish I was with you…”
“And what, pray tell, would you do if you were here?”
“Excuse me for a moment.”

He locked the door, opened the window and stripped down to his boxers before settling back into the bed. Biting his lip to contain the desperate whimper, he described to the seance in explicit detail what he’d do to him if he was home. Things got heated and, as his arousal made an appearance, Dave relocated to the bathroom with his computer. He placed it on the edge of the sink and turned the shower on, adjusting it to a pleasantly warm temperature. As he met his fiance’s lustful gaze, he removed his boxers and sighed contentedly when the water washed over his skin.

Feeling self conscious, he ran his fingers through his hair and apprehensively wrapped his hand around his shaft, nervously risking a glance at the computer screen. The seance smiled softly at him and murmured, “It’s okay, sunshine.”
“Sorry…” He rested his free hand against the wall. “Um, I’ve never done this before … well, I have, but it was only once when I got those pictures from you and had to escape to my room without Jack noticing I was…” He trailed off, blushing. “I also didn’t have anyone watching me…”
“I don’t have to watch, love, if you’re uncomfortable about it.”
“Hm…” He exhaled. “I’m not against it, but would you mind, I don’t know, talking to me?”
“Not at all.” He nodded reassuringly. “Whenever you’re ready.”

With a trembling hand, Dave began to stroke himself as his fiance spoke words of encouragement to him until he brought himself to release. Shuddering, he stifled his moan and lowered himself to the floor as the evidence disappeared down the drain. After several minutes, he redirected his gaze back to the laptop and whispered, “I love you,” to Klaus.
“And I love you. Feel better?”
“Yeah. Klaus?”
“How do I put this? Um, you don’t have to…?”
“I’m all right, darling.” He chuckled and adjusted the gown to show a bit more skin.
“I envy you,” he laughed.

The agent stood up, turned the shower off, dried thoroughly and dressed into a pair of shorts and a tank top. He tossed the towel in with his dirty clothing and set the laptop on the bed. “I’ll be right back. I’m going to start a load of laundry.”
“Okay, sunshine. I’ll be here.”

Dave departed with the hamper, tossed everything into the washing machine and started it prior to returning to the bedroom; he stretched on the bed, placing his computer on his lap, and smiled at his fiance. They maintained their video chat until their devices required charging and, after the agent promised to talk to Klaus again before bed and as much as possible before his scheduled evening massage, ended the call. He was still apprehensive about having a stranger touch him, but he managed to convince himself that his fiance and colleague were right - he could use one to release tension and stress.

The agents decided on dinner and opted to have food delivered from a local restaurant instead of select room service again. Dave switched his laundry over to the dryer, ate at the bar together with Jack and, later, retreated to his room to settle down for the night. He contacted his mother and spoke with her for a bit and, as promised, called Klaus; they talked until Dave could no longer keep his eyes open. He wasn’t expecting a restful slumber, but, much to his surprise, he slept through the night and woke around ten in the morning. He showered, brushed his teeth, dressed and wandered out into the kitchen to see Jack reading a book on the couch. After exchanging morning greetings, they decided to shop at the nearby boutiques, unsure if this would be their last day to have fun and explore the town.

Chapter Text

When they left their suite, they walked down the sidewalk and hit every store on the boulevard. Jack purchased some things for himself, and his colleague selected various items for himself and his fiance. After deciding on a place to eat for lunch, they chose an outdoor table, and Dave got in touch with Klaus, speaking to him until the food was brought to the table. He promised him he’d video chat with him as soon as he returned to the hotel while he waited for his scheduled massage therapist to show up.

As they consumed their meals and beverages, Jack and Dave made small talk, and left a hefty tip once their stomachs were full. They stopped at the shops they’d missed on the way back to their suite and bought more souvenirs. By the time they returned to the hotel, it was two in the afternoon; with a tired sigh, Dave transported his bags to his room and meandered toward the laundry room to get his clothes. He carried them to his room, put them away, plugged his phone in and powered up his laptop. He took a quick shower and changed into his silk pajamas, figuring that it would be best to have something easy to remove when the masseuse arrived. He was still self conscious about that appointment and shook his head, attempting to tell himself that he’d be fine.

Dave opened up the video chat program and connected with Klaus. “Hey, angel. We just got back to the hotel. I have a little less than three hours until my massage. I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, a lot. How was your day?”
“Good. I bought you some more gifts, but they’re to remain a secret until I’m home.”
“I can’t wait to see them, but I especially can’t wait to see you. I ordered some things online today for our loft, bathroom and deck.”
“You did?”
“Mhm. They should be here in a few days.”
“What’d you get?”
“For our deck, I purchased a cabana bed as well as red satin sheets, a goose down comforter and pillows and a canopy for privacy. I also got a diffuser, scented candles and string lights. For our loft, I bought an extensive variety of massage oils, salt rock string lights, two table top salt rock lamps and a towel warmer. For the bathroom, I scored a dual massaging shower head, fairy lights and bubble bath. I’ll be sure to give you the most romantic and relaxing evening when you return home.”
“That sounds exquisite, angel. I can’t wait to be back in the states with you.”

The couple conversed for as long as possible, bringing the chat to a close fifteen minutes prior to the time the masseuse was to arrive. Dave’s anxieties resurfaced as he turned his laptop off and plugged it in to charge. He went into the bathroom, relieved himself and washed his hands; he splashed water over his face and sighed as he turned the light off and stepped out. He glanced at the time on his phone - 4:50 - and shivered as he exited the bedroom and headed into the great room. Jack, who was sitting on the couch, looked up. “Are you ready for your massage?”
“Not really,” he admitted. “The last person to give me a massage was Klaus. I don’t feel comfortable.”
“Breathe, man. It’ll be okay. This is what they do for a living.”
“I know, but my anxiety is overbearing.”

Jack frowned and, just as he was about to respond, a knock sounded at the door. “I’ll get it.”
“Okay.” Dave drummed his fingers on his thigh.
“Hello.” He greeted the masseuse as he opened the door. “I’m Jack. My coworker  … the victim’s name is Dave Katz.”
“Good evening.” The masseuse shook his hand. “My name is Luciana.”
“That’s a nice name. Please, come in.”
“Thank you.”

Luciana entered the suite with her belongings and smiled kindly at Dave as Jack quietly said, “He’s a bit anxious about…”
“He wouldn’t be the first,” she replied with a chuckle. “Mr. Katz, it’s perfectly normal to be nervous, but please don’t be afraid to communicate with me during your massage. What room would you like to choose?”
“Mine, I guess…”
“Of course. Please make yourself as comfortable as possible, and I’ll knock on the door prior to opening it. If modesty is an issue, you are more than welcome to leave your undergarments on.”
“Um…” He laughed awkwardly and blushed. “Thanks.”

Dave escaped into his bedroom, closed the door completely and reluctantly stripped down to his boxers. With a sigh, he pushed the pillows aside and stretched out on the bed face down; he felt too exposed, and he didn’t like it. After a short span had passed, he heard a soft tap on the door followed by Luciana’s voice. “May I come in?”
“Sure,” he answered weakly, flinching when she stepped into the room.

“Dave,” she calmly spoke as she draped a warm towel over his rear end, “take deep, slow breaths, and clear your mind of everything that’s been weighing you down. Ideally, you should be as relaxed as possible.”
“I’m trying…” He followed her instructions and slowly began to unwind.
“Good job.” She gently applied pressure to his limbs to assist with loosening him up. “I’m going to first begin with stone therapy. This procedure is designed to rebalance energy and reduce tension. Are you ready?”
“As ready as I can be.”

Luciana removed the heated stones from their case and strategically placed them in the center of Dave’s back along his spine. He winced at the unexpected contact and continued the breathing exercises, but he tensed when he felt her hands working into the muscle. “Try to relax,” she softly instructed. “Are you okay?”
“I … I don’t mean any offense, but I was reluctant to agree with my colleague for booking a massage for me. I’m, uh, sort of self conscious, and I do feel a bit exposed. The idea of a stranger to -” He groaned as she applied pressure to a knot below his shoulder blade. “Ouch. The idea of a stranger touching me so intimately created more anxiety for me than I care to admit.”
“Dave,” she laughed, “you have nothing to be self conscious about. I have performed many massages over the course of my career. Breathe slowly.”

The agent gradually became less tense as his tired muscles were soothed and the pressure from the knots was relieved. Luciana removed the stones, put them away and selected eucalyptus oil from her bin. “The next technique is known as an aromassage, and it involves using various essential oils depending on the needs of the client. For you, I’ve chosen eucalyptus as it has a cooling effect and alleviates pain and inflammation. As I progress, I’ll incorporate the full body massage in. Are you all right?”
“Mhm…” was all he managed.
“Okay,” she giggled. “I’m glad you’re more at ease.”

She first applied the oil to his shoulders and back and worked it into the muscle, performing a deep tissue massage. He sighed in content as his discomfort subsided; feelings of euphoria washed over him, and he mumbled incoherently. Luciana chuckled quietly and moved onto his limbs, hands and feet before finishing the session with his neck and head. When she began to pack her belongings, she asked, “How do you feel?”
“Um…” He remained where he was. “I feel good … better than I have in quite some time. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” She smiled. “You may feel some pain in certain areas that required more work. To reduce it, a heating pad will suffice if you’ve got one, but, if not, an ice pack will do. Drink a glass of water and rest ideally with your legs elevated to allow your body to recover. Have a wonderful evening, Dave.”
“Thanks again, Luciana. Good night.”

As she let herself out, Dave was too tranquil to leave his bed, but he willed himself to roll over onto his back. His muscles protested at the unexpected movement as he slowly sat up, reluctant to get himself water. Upon standing, his legs felt like jello, and he took a moment to let the feeling return to his limbs. Without bothering to put something on over his boxers, he exited his bedroom and went into the kitchen. He retrieved a water bottle from the fridge and an ice pack from the freezer as Jack glanced up from the television. “How do you feel?”
“Incredible. Luciana advised I rest to let my body recover. I’ll be in my room if you need me.”
“Of course. Good night, Dave.”
“Night, Jack, and thanks.”
“You’re welcome.”

Dave retreated to his room and closed the door, opting to take a hot bath to wash the oil away from his skin. He set the bottle of water on the end table, went into the bathroom with the ice pack, filled the bath and dropped a bath bomb he’d found in a basket in the tub. He wrapped the cold pack in a cloth, placed it on the sink, removed his boxers and submerged himself. Exhaling, he rested his head against the edge until the water cooled down significantly and shivered. While the tub drained, he stepped out, toweled off and dressed into a clean pair of boxers and fleece pants before taking the ice pack and curling up in bed; he elevated his legs using a pillow as previously instructed and took a few sips of his drink. Melting into the mattress, he positioned the ice against his shoulder and neck and texted his mother and fiance as sleep crept up on him. He stayed awake for as long as he could before drifting off, phone still in hand.

Chapter Text

Later, after midnight, Jack checked on him, gently picked up his device, moved it to the end table and plugged it in to charge. He retrieved the ice pack and draped a blanket over him, switched the lamp off and closed the door as he headed for the kitchen to put the pack in the freezer. He then went into his own room and climbed into bed, relieved that his colleague seemed to be genuinely at peace.

The following morning, Dave woke abruptly to the sunlight shining brightly through the bedroom window and groaned. He pulled the covers over his head and involuntarily reached for the other side of the bed, expecting to make contact with his fiance. A quiet whimper escaped his throat when he felt nothing and wished corporate would allow his partner to join him; it wasn’t easy being over three thousand miles away from him. Sitting up, he stretched, still feeling the benefits of his massage, and checked his phone.

He first read the messages from his mother and then opened the ones from Klaus, blushing at how sensual they were. What a pleasant way to begin the morning, he thought as he scanned through the images, breath hitching at the final one. The seance was only wearing the black lace lingerie gown with nothing on underneath. The lights were off with only the flames from the candles and fireplace illuminating the area; white and red rose petals were scattered over the satin sheets. The agent saved the photo and remained in bed for several minutes to compose himself before going into the bathroom. He showered, dressed into casual clothes, brushed his teeth and left the bedroom with his phone, noticing Jack was not yet awake. 

Glancing at the time, he grimaced - it was only seven, putting the states at one in the morning - and sent his mother and Klaus each one text message, not anticipating a reply. He brewed a pot of coffee, filled a mug, added a dash of creamer and sat on the bay window ledge. As he observed the busy city, he wished he was back in his cozy house snuggled up with his fiance. Sighing, he sipped at the warm beverage and rested his head against the glass as his colleague sleepily stumbled into the kitchen.

“G’morning, Dave,” he mumbled as he rubbed his eyes and got some coffee. “How’d you sleep?”
“Good morning. Better than I have since arriving here.” He took another sip. “That massage worked wonders. You sleep okay?”
“Yeah. I’m glad we haven’t been given a specific time to return to Valdeluz.”
“Maybe we won’t have one since this is the actual meet with the drug traffickers.”
“Hopefully. It’s probably unlikely considering we’re hours ahead, but have you heard from your fiance or mom yet?”
“Nah. I texted them both before you woke up.”
“Are you still worried?”
“Mhm, but I’ll do my best to manage.”
“Tim and I will watch out for you.”
“I know you will.”
“Everything’s gonna be fine.”

Instead of responding, Dave sighed and looked out the window only to be brought out of his trance when his cell phone alerted him of a text message. He expected it to be his boss, but smiled softly when he saw his fiance’s name light up on the screen. He opened the text and silently read it.

K: I miss you, sunshine. <3
D: I miss you, too, angel, and I wish I was home.
K: Me, too. The bed’s lonely without you. I’m lonely without you…
D: Soon, my darling, we’ll be reunited. Are you okay? It’s the middle of the night there, yeah?
K: I’d like to say yes, I’m all right, but it wouldn’t be true.
D: Bad dream?
K: Yeah. It was the ghosts again. Just woke me up. Ben’s here with me, but, well, I could use some cuddles…
D: Sweetheart … I’m not sure what I can do to ease your fears. I’m sorry…
K: It’s not your fault. It’s just difficult to fall asleep and wake up to an empty bed. Do you know how long you’ll be in Valdeluz today, and how was your massage?
D: It’s not easy for me either. No, I don’t unfortunately. Jack and I haven’t heard from Tim yet. The massage went well. I was nervous at first, and I took your advice and kept my boxers on. I slept better than I have since arriving here, but, as I woke, I searched the bed for you…
K: I find myself doing that sometimes, too.

As Dave was about to respond, he, as well as Jack, received a group text from Tim, informing them to be ready promptly at one in the afternoon to return to Valdeluz. They replied to him, and Jack cleared his throat. “Want breakfast? I’ll pick something up from the local cafe.”
“Sure.” He nodded. “That sounds good.”
“Anything in particular you’d like?”
“Hm, a fruit and granola bowl with a side of avocado toast and a medium cafe con leche.”
“All right. Be back shortly.”

Jack changed into something more presentable before leaving the suite and hailing a cab to the local breakfast nook. Dave went into his bedroom and left the door open; he stretched out on the bed and resumed his conversation with Klaus.

D: Sorry, babe. Tim texted us, and Jack stepped out to get breakfast. We’ll be heading back to Valdeluz around one.
K: Be safe, love. What are you having for breakfast?
D: Healthy stuff. :) A fruit and granola bowl with avocado toast.
K: Sounds delicious. You’re supposed to meet with the drug traffickers today, aren’t you? There won’t be any way you can communicate with me while you’re there, right?
D: Yeah, we’re allegedly meeting them, and unfortunately, my phone will be on silent. We can’t risk them suspecting anything. I’m hoping it’ll be quick. I’ll text you as soon as we’re leaving.
K: Okay, sunshine. I love you.
D: And I love you.

The couple continued texting until Jack returned with breakfast.

D: Angel, Jack just got back with the food. Are you feeling better?
K: A little. I might sleep out on the deck.
D: Wear something of mine if you’d like. I promise I’ll be in touch later.
K: All right. Text me before you leave?
D: Of course. Tell Ben he better keep you company.
K: I will. Take care of yourself. I can’t wait to have you back home and give you all the affection you desire.
D: Looking forward to it. Try to sleep, babe. If you’re feeling troubled, don’t hesitate to text me, and I’ll respond as soon as I’m able. I love you so much.
K: I love you, too.

The agent plugged his phone in to ensure it was fully charged prior to venturing to Valdeluz and joined Jack in the kitchen. They ate in silence and spent the remainder of their free time relaxing in their suite; they ordered lunch from room service and consumed their meals in their bedrooms. Dave didn’t hear from Klaus and, as disappointed as he was, he figured it meant he was able to sleep, but he did hear from his mother and talked with her until it was time to meet Tim and return to the ghost town.

Jack and Dave retrieved their phones and guns from the end tables and met Tim and another man outside of the lobby. “Gentlemen,” their manager greeted, “this is Thomas. He’s an undercover senior officer and will be joining us every time we pass through Valdeluz. When we feel the time is right to move in, his squad is aware, and everything will be set up to bring their drug trafficking days to an end. Please ensure your guns are well hidden as we cannot risk blowing our cover prematurely. Are you both ready?”
“Yes,” they answered simultaneously.
“Very well.”

Thomas opened the back door for them, and Jack slid inside the vehicle first followed by Dave while Tim settled into the front passenger seat. The senior officer got into the driver’s seat, cranked up the engine and began the drive in silence while the agents conversed. Time went by too quickly, and, upon pulling up to the gates, Dave sent Klaus and Dorothy a quick text to let them know that he’d be unable to respond likely until returning to the hotel and silenced his cell phone. His breath hitched as he pocketed the device and observed the seemingly empty streets and crumbling buildings.

Jack picked up on his distress. “You okay?”
He offered a halfhearted smile. “Not really.”
“Hey, man, breathe. Everything will be okay. I promised you that Tim and I would have your back, and we do, right, boss?”
“Right,” he confirmed.
“Thanks, guys…”

Chapter Text

The officer parked the car off the road, cut the engine and waited until the agents were ready to travel the grounds and track down the drug traffickers. Jack gently nudged Dave to get him moving, but he was frozen in fear; he paled as his colleague placed his hand on his shoulder. Thomas cast a glance in the rear view mirror, noting his state, and turned around as he quietly asked, “Are you all right, kid?”
“No…” he whispered as he closed his eyes and leaned back against the seat. “I don’t want to be here…”
“We need you here, Dave,” Tim butted in.
“Tim,” Jack chastised, “give him a minute. Take a deep breath, Dave, and let it out.”
“I want to know what’s going on with you. You don’t seem to be with it, and that’s not you, Dave.”
“What’s going on with him?” Jack snapped. “He’s over three thousand miles away from his fiance, and he’s scared, Tim. There’s nothing wrong with that either. Give him some time to calm down.”

Tim huffed and, without responding, shook his head and looked out the window while Jack worked to ease his colleague’s mind. He continued instructing him to breathe slowly until he was in a more serene mood and was ready to explore the town. Deeming it unlikely, he mentioned that, if they planned to split up, he’d like to stick with Jack, and Tim agreed, but the group wound up remaining together. Minutes turned into hours, and Thomas offered everybody a bottle of water; after downing the beverages, they continued their adventure and heard voices coming from a nearby building.

The agents followed Thomas down the beaten path toward it and cautiously stepped inside to see a crew of ten people perched in various places engaged in conversation. As soon as they were spotted, one of the men jumped down from a ledge, instructed the others to stay where they were and approached them. Dave flinched at the site of him and instinctively moved closer to Jack who subtly nodded once at him.

The man examined the group before speaking. “What are you fellows doing in my town?”
Thomas met his stern gaze. “We’ve heard a lot about your crew and what you do, and we’re interested in joining to boost your sales.”
“We don’t need any help.”
“I think you do.” The officer was remarkably calm. “My name is Thomas, and I grew up in Spain. I know the area better than anyone. These are my colleagues Jack, Dave and Tim. New recruits I’ve taken under my wing.”
“Call me Santiago.” He introduced the gang, vaguely gesturing to each. “Antonio, Miguel, Lorenzo, Juan, Rafael, Arlo, Cesar, Alejandro and Enrique. Your recruits aren’t locals.” His eyes fell on Dave. “What made them decide to brave Valdeluz?”

Dave’s anxiety resurfaced when he realized he was being watched, and he attempted to hide it as Thomas responded. “They recently moved here.”
“Hm, may I give you a word of advice?”
“The one who currently resembles a mouse staring into the eyes of a hawk needs more work.”
“Yes, sir.”

Santiago smirked and handed Thomas a card. “My information. We frequent the area around this time every day, but sometimes we’re here late at night. Tell me, friend. You claim you’ve heard of us, but I’d like to confirm you know what you’re getting into.”
“Drug trafficking.”
“It can be dangerous.”
“We’re well aware.”
“Your guns have to be bigger than their guns, and you can’t hesitate.”
“Yes, sir.”
“We’ll be in touch.”
“I look forward to it.”
“See you on the other side.”

The final words Santiago spoke resonated in Dave’s head, and he shivered, hoping no one would notice. He felt safe in the officer’s presence, but he didn’t have a good feeling about this mission; relief washed over him when they returned to the car and began the commute back to the suite. He took his phone off silent and read each message from his mother and Klaus before he replied to them, mentioning that he’d call them when he was at the hotel. He wanted to wash the grime away and change into something more comfortable first. Thomas pulled into the parking lot and stopped the car in front of the building; the agents thanked him and departed after arrangements to travel to Valdeluz at the same time daily until the drug traffickers were shut down.

As soon as they were back in their suite, Dave grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and went into his bedroom. He nudged the door shut with his hip, placed the bottle and his phone on the end table; he plugged his devices in before escaping into the bathroom where he turned the shower on and stripped. He washed thoroughly, dressed into a clean pair of boxers, situated himself in bed and called Dorothy.

“Hi, baby!” she exclaimed. “How are you? How did Valdeluz go?”
“Hi, mom.” He smiled. “It’s difficult going to bed and waking up without Klaus, but I’m okay. Valdeluz went well, all things considered. We had an undercover senior officer with us when we met the drug traffickers. Every day, around one, we’ll be returning until we’re ready to take them down. I, um, almost had a panic attack while we were there. I’m still not feeling confident about this mission.”
“Sweetie, take it one day at a time and focus on activities that relax you. Take a bath or try some yoga. Practice breathing exercises. I know you’re afraid, and it’s okay. I’m worried about you, too, but you’ll be back in the states soon.”
“I hope so. How are you doing?”
“Good. Things are brighter since your father and I divorced.”
“I’m glad. You deserve to be happy. I miss you, mom…” His voice trembled as he fought to hold back his tears. “I love you.”
“Honey, it’s okay.” She sighed, wishing she could be there to comfort him. “I’m aware of the time difference, but please don’t hesitate to call me at any point if you’re upset. I love and miss you, too.”
He let out a whimper. “Thanks, mom. I’ll text you before I go to bed. I’m going to call Klaus.”
“Okay, baby. Take care of yourself.”

The conversation was brought to an end, and Dave booted up his laptop as he wiped his tears away and sent Klaus a text to let him know he was free to video chat. He received a reply within moments, opened up the program and called his fiance. The smile the seance had on his face when he accepted the call disappeared as he noticed how distraught the agent looked. Instinctively, he reached out and touched the computer screen and, fighting to contain his panic, asked, “Sunshine, what happened? Are you hurt?”
“No,” he murmured, averting his gaze, “I had a moment of weakness today, Klaus.”
“My beautiful agent, look at me please?”

Dave redirected his attention onto his fiance and smiled brokenly as the words flew out of him. “I nearly had a panic attack when we got to Valdeluz, and Tim didn’t help the situation. Jack snapped at him and worked with me until I was able to relax enough. We have to go back tomorrow, but I don’t know if I can do this. I suspect it was the lead drug trafficker, but … I don’t know … I didn’t like the way he was watching me. It was like he could sense my stress…”
“My love, what can I do for you?”
“I don’t know.” He sighed and rubbed his eyes. “I can’t shake this feeling that something bad is going to happen. Angel, would you, um, mind staying on the line with me until I fall asleep?”
“Not at all, sweetheart. Is it around six there?”
“Yeah, I think Jack’s going to order dinner soon, but I might skip it. I’m pretty tired.”
“Get comfy, sunshine. Bundle up beneath the covers.”

The agent moved his laptop aside briefly to pull the covers up to his waist and support his back with a pillow. He reached for the computer and placed it on his lap as he switched the lamp off; a knock sounded at his door followed by his colleague’s voice. “Dave, are you awake?”
“Hold on, angel. Yeah, I’m up.”
“You hungry?”
“Not really, but, if you don’t mind, I’ll take something for tomorrow night.”
“Sure. What would you like?”
“Surprise me.”
“Will do.”

As Jack’s footsteps headed in the opposite direction, Dave returned his focus onto the laptop screen. “Sorry, babe.”
“It’s okay. I’m glad you’ve got Jack there.”
“Me, too. He’s a source of stability for me. He always has been.”
“Sort of like Ben is for me?”
“Yeah,” he chuckled, “I suppose it is. How has your day been so far?”
“Good, overall. The stuff I ordered for our bedroom came a bit ago, but I’ll probably set it up tomorrow. It’s quite cold here. It’s making me miss you even more. You keep me warm and cozy.”
“I second that, love. I miss you, too.”

Chapter Text

The couple kept up their conversation well into the evening until the clock rolled past midnight and Dave had a difficult time keeping his eyes open. He sent his mother a text message to check in with her as his chat with his fiance came to an end. He used the bathroom, took a few sips of his water and dragged the covers up to his shoulders, dozing off fairly quickly. He slept through the night and woke to rain pounding against the bedroom window; rubbing his eyes, he sat up and stretched as he slipped out of bed. After utilizing the bathroom, he pulled his silk pants on over his boxers, stumbled sleepily out into the kitchen, brewed a pot of coffee and got a fire going.

He filled a mug, deciding to skip the creamer, and sat in front of the fireplace, taking advantage of the heat radiating from it. He glanced at his phone, wishing his fiance was with him, and grimaced as it was far too early in the states to risk calling him. Sighing audibly, he sipped at the coffee as Jack entered the area, poured some coffee and sat beside Dave. He savored his coffee and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m all right. I miss him, Jack.”
“I know you do, man.”
“It’d be a lot easier if corporate would let him come, too.”
“And that is a hotel room that I would not want to share with you.”
“Shut up,” he laughed.

With each passing day, the agents returned to Valdeluz with their manager and Thomas and consulted with Santiago and his men. They even hand delivered drugs to several frequent buyers and collected payment to avoid suspicion. Dave’s self confidence gradually reappeared, but he was somehow still anxious that the gang would turn on them at any given moment. He managed to remain steady in their presence despite himself.

Late one evening, eleven days before Thanksgiving, Dave and Jack brainstormed in Tim’s suite with him and Thomas. The undercover officer believed that they were ready to shut down the drug trafficking ring. He advised them to resume business as usual the following day, promising he’d be there as well, and mentioned a specific code word - dead zone - to use to signal the police to move in. He informed them that he’d have a concealed microphone beneath his shirt collar that would allow his team to hear everything going on. Once the meeting was over, Dave and Jack departed back into their suite, and the undercover officer headed back to his home.

Jack went straight to bed, but Dave, hoping to be as relaxed as possible, talked with his mother for a while. When their conversation ended, he took a hot bath and used the video app on his phone to speak with his fiance during it. Klaus jokingly scolded him for not being home to bathe with him, and he laughed, promising he’d make it up to him. Once the water cooled off, the agent drained it and stepped out as he set the phone on the edge of the sink. He continued conversing with the seance as he dried off and slipped into the silk pajamas his mother purchased for him. Taking his device into his bedroom, he stretched out on the bed, dragged the covers up to his waist and chatted with Klaus until he had a low battery. He promised him he’d talk to him prior to venturing to Valdeluz as they weren’t returning until nightfall and ended the call. He plugged his phone in and fell asleep within minutes.

Dave slept in late, waking near noon, and sat up to stretch as the covers fell down to his lap. He took his phone off the charger, noticing immediately that he had attached images from Klaus. He opted to open them after he grabbed a cup of coffee and exited his bedroom. Jack, who was lounging on the couch watching television, said, “Morning … uh, afternoon. Sleep well?”
“Hey,” he replied as he poured a cup of coffee and removed last night’s meal from the fridge. “Yeah, I did. Talked to my mom for a bit and Klaus until my phone died.”
“Good. You deserve rest. How are you feeling?”
“Um…” He dished the food on a plate and heated it up in the microwave. “Apprehensive is the word I’d use.”
“We’ll get through it. We always do, right?”
“Yeah. Still doesn’t ease my fears, though.”
“Smooth sailing, Dave, smooth sailing.”
“I hope you’re right, Jack.”

When the food finished heating up, he took it and his coffee to his bedroom and left the door open; he placed the meal on the end table to allow it to cool. While consuming the coffee, he scrolled through the saucy images his fiance sent him as the heat rose up in his cheeks, choking on his coffee at the last one. Positioned seductively on a nest of blankets on the deck, the seance was completely nude; the fireplace roaring behind him gave his body a warm glow. Unable to compose himself immediately, he coughed several more times as his colleague peeked into the room, raising a brow.

“Dave, you okay?”
“Yeah,” he managed to say. “Coffee went down the wrong pipe.”
“You’re blushing,” he chuckled. “Fiance send you some steamy pics or something?”
“You could say that…” he confessed.
“Bet you’re really missing him now, huh?” He winked.
“Why do I put up with you? I swear, I’m going to start requesting my own room.”
“Oh, really? Why might that be?”
“Get out.”

Jack burst into laughter as he retreated, and Dave, unsure if Klaus would be awake yet, sent him a text message after saving the images.  

D: Good morning, angel. I love the pictures.
K: Good afternoon, sunshine. I’m glad you enjoyed them.
D: The last one made me choke on my coffee.
K: Haha, sorry. Wish you were here? ;)
D: Mhm … it’s been too long. Did you sleep okay last night?
K: It sure has, beautiful, and I miss it. I miss you. Yeah, I slept well. Did you?
D: Yeah. Woke up not that long ago. Eating lunch and drinking coffee. We’re moving in tonight to shut the drug traffickers down. I hope that means we can fly home tomorrow. I miss you a lot.
K: I’m sure that’s exactly what it will mean. I’m excited for your return.

Dave and Klaus spent a majority of the day engaged in conversation; the seance sent his fiance photos of the rearranged deck, loft and bathroom and made sure to provide him with sensual ones of himself as well. When darkness arrived, the agent told Klaus how much he loved him and that he’d see him soon; he contacted his mother to relay his love for her as well while ensuring his gun was loaded and his cell phone was completely charged. Silencing the device, he concealed his gun and badge and met Thomas, Jack and Tim in the lobby. Wasting no more time, the four of them began the journey back to Valdeluz.

Thomas discussed procedures with them. “My crew is already in place. Think of them as ninjas. They’ll move in as soon as they hear the code word. In the event that things go south, there is an ambulance waiting nearby. I can communicate directly with them in the event of an emergency, but, if I should become incapacitated, I will provide the three of you with a device small enough that Santiago and his men won’t see it. All you will need to do is press the little red button, and the medical team will be notified immediately.”
“Thank you,” Tim, Jack and Dave replied simultaneously.

Thomas drove through the gates to the empty city and parked near the building that the drug traffickers frequented. He handed the agents their devices and, after ensuring they were hidden, the group exited the vehicle and ambled toward the structure. Santiago acknowledged them with a raised hand. “Hola, fellas! We’ve got a lot of packages for you to deliver tonight, but we need to go over some things first. Capiche?”
“Yes, sir,” Thomas responded. “My crew is ready.”
“Good. You.” He pointed to Dave. “Mouse, you’re not as timid as you were when I first met you.”
“I’ve been mentally preparing myself for this moment over the past month.”
“Congrats. Tonight will be a test for each of you. Don’t blow it.”

The agents as well as the undercover officer consulted with the drug traffickers for a while until they felt confident that the time was right. Santiago glanced toward Thomas. “Your parcels are at the far end of this building. Take them to a place on the outskirts of Valdeluz and drop them below the window. Knock only twice, collect payment and return it to me. Understand?”
“You want me to go there?”
“Are we going to have a problem?”
“No. Last I heard, that city was a dead zone.”
“You’d be surprised what a dead city can harbor.”

Before another word could be spoken, the officers, donned in bulletproof vests, moved in with their guns drawn. They ordered the drug traffickers to surrender and get on the ground, but only several of them obeyed; the others opened fire as Santiago cursed and fled. Along with Thomas, Tim and Jack unsheathed their weapons and took cover anywhere they could as they shot at the men. Dave removed his gun from its holster and pursued Santiago as an adrenaline rush surged through him. He halted upon rounding a corner and scanned the area for any signs that he wasn't alone, but his eyes weren’t adjusting to the darkness quickly. He was blindsided and, as he dropped to the cement, he hastily rolled over to be pinned by his attacker and injected with a syringe full of heroin. 

Chapter Text

Unable to focus as he began to experience the effects the drug had on his body and from being struck, Dave slowly got to his feet, realizing he’d dropped his gun in the scuffle. His vision blurred, and he looked at his assailant but couldn’t determine his features clearly. Clumsily attempting to defend himself, the agent missed his target and felt something … a bullet? … pierce his left leg. He fell to the ground as a brutal assault was unleashed; the pain that racked his body was severe enough that he wanted to call for help, but he couldn’t find his voice.

Clawing at the pavement in a desperate struggle to escape, he was grabbed and forced onto his back as a serrated knife was plunged into his abdomen and then withdrawn. A bloodcurdling scream tore from his throat, and, as he weakened, his attacker stood and hissed, “You’re gonna die here,” before vanishing into the night. His blood trickled from the wound at a steady rate, and, as a few tears escaped, he lost consciousness.

The shootout resulted in minor injuries and, as the drug traffickers were arrested, Thomas checked on Tim and Jack. “Are you both all right?”
“Yeah, I’m good,” Tim replied, glancing at the other agent’s arm.
“I’m fine,” he panted, wincing. “It’s nothing serious. Do you guys have this handled? I need to find Dave and make sure he’s okay.”
“We got it.” Tim nodded. “Go ahead.”
“Let us know if there’s a problem.”

Jack jogged in the general direction that Dave had run off to and searched the darkness with the flashlight on his phone. After a few minutes, his breath hitched, and he dropped his gun when he caught sight of his colleague lying in a pool of blood. Fearing the worst, his panic got the best of him, and he rushed toward him, pulling him gently into his lap. With trembling hands, he applied pressure to the wound and called for Tim; tears streamed down his face as he saw no signs of life. His breathing escalated, and he flinched when he felt his manager place his hand on his shoulder and squeeze it.

“Is he alive?” Tim frantically asked.
“I … I do-”
“Um, I…” He checked for a pulse. “Y - yes, he’s alive, but he’s fading…”
“Move.” He sounded harsher than he’d intended as he sat by Dave and held his coat over the wound. “Press that little red button.”
“Tim, he’s not gonna make it…”
“Shut up, Jack, and press the damn button!”
“We have to call Klaus and Dorothy…”
“Jack, you’re not helping. Press the button now, or he will die!”
“I can’t breathe…”

Tim frowned as Jack sank against the wall, fumbled for the device clipped to his shirt and pressed the button. He felt as if the air had significantly thinned, and his chest was heavy as he attempted to regulate his breathing. In record time, the ambulance swerved into the building and skidded to a halt as emergency technicians filed out with a stretcher. As soon as the medical team tended to Dave, Tim knelt in front of his employee and murmured, “I’m sorry I yelled at you…”

Refusing to look up, Jack sobbed uncontrollably as Tim sighed and wrapped both arms around him tightly. “Breathe, Jack, breathe. He’s not going to die.”
“I hate to intrude,” one of the technicians intervened, “but he’s secured inside the ambulance. Will you be riding with us?”
Um…” Tim glanced around the area until his eyes fell on Thomas.
“Go with your friend. My officers and I will be fine.”
“Thank you. Gracias. Jack?”
“I can’t…”
“Look, I don’t know how to say this without sounding negative, but time is of the essence.”

Carefully, Tim eased Jack to his feet, escorted him into the vehicle and made sure to sit where they weren’t in the way. As the journey to the nearest hospital commenced, the paramedics worked together to keep Dave alive. One of them cut his clothing off while another cleaned up his abdomen and placed gauze and a bandage over the wound. A third tied a tourniquet to his leg and worked to slow the blood flow; a fourth gave him a sedative to prevent him from waking, placed an oxygen mask over his face and monitored his vitals, cringing at how unstable they were. Tim kept both arms secured around Jack, doing what he could to alleviate his panic, and observed the technicians. “How far are we from the hospital?” he queried.
“Less than ten minutes,” the one monitoring the vitals answered, glancing at the screen. “He’s crashing!”

The medic who bandaged his abdomen charged the defibrillator and shouted, “Clear!” as she pressed it to the agent’s chest and shocked him. Tim tightened his grip on Jack to prevent him from looking as they tried again, sighing with relief when the heart monitor began reading his pulse. As she put the defibrillator away, she glanced at Jack, searched Tim’s eyes and said, “We’ll do what we can for him at the hospital, but I can’t guarantee he’ll pull through. We’ll need to perform further testing before he undergoes surgery.”
“What does that mean?” Jack mumbled as he brushed his tears away. “He can’t die. He’s got a fiance back in the states waiting for him … his mother…”
“We’re going to do x-rays and a complete blood test as well as a drug test in the event that whoever did this to him injected him with a substance. He’s not stable, and he’s lost a lot of blood. There’s a chance that he may crash again.”
“Do not let him die.”
“We’ll do our best, Jack. That’s all we can do.”
“We can’t lose him…”
“Jack…” Tim butted in.
“His fiance … his mom … they can’t lose him either…”

The ambulance pulled into the parking lot and came to a stop at the emergency entrance as the paramedics exited carefully with the stretcher. While they wheeled Dave inside, Jack and Tim were instructed to remain in the lobby and fill out paperwork. Reluctantly, Jack sat in a chair at the end of the waiting room while Tim retrieved the documents and filled out as much as he could; he patted his employee on the shoulder, returned the information to the receptionist and situated himself in a seat. Sighing audibly, he fidgeted with his cell phone, hesitant to call Dave’s mother and Klaus, but they needed to know what was going on. He decided to contact Dorothy first and nervously waited for her to pick up.

As soon as she answered, he could hear the worry in her voice, and he let out a trembling breath as he broke the news to her. Tears poured down her face and, while she cried, Tim softly told her that he’d pay for her flight to travel to Madrid. Too distraught to combat him on it, she agreed and asked if he spoke to Klaus yet, and, once receiving her answer, said she’d tell him. Before ending the conversation, he consented to covering the expenses for a cab and a direct flight for the seance as well. When Dorothy discussed the traumatic event with her son’s fiance, her heart broke as he shattered; Ben did what he could to console his brother, but it didn’t help.

At her home, Dorothy hastily packed a bag and drove to the airport as soon as she received a confirmation text from Tim that the flight had been paid for. In New Hampshire, Klaus, struggling to cope with his emotions, had to be nudged by his brother to at least pack a small bag of clothes and toiletries. When he received a text from his fiance’s manager, he grabbed his phone, the charger, his laptop and house key before trudging out toward the cab. Ben joined him, helplessly watching him fall apart, as the cabbie drove him to the airport in silence. He was aware of the situation and didn’t want to risk exacerbating it.

When he was dropped off at the airport, Klaus stumbled inside the terminal with his bag and wiped his tears away. Ben frowned, wishing he could reach out and hug his brother; being a ghost didn’t always include benefits. The seance showed Tim's confirmation text to the ticket agent and, after being screened by TSA, he boarded the plane, followed closely by Number Six. As minutes turned into hours, he succumbed to sleep, jarring awake when the aircraft landed; upon stepping onto the tarmac, he got inside another waiting cab with his brother and met Dorothy, Tim, Jack and the undercover senior officer Thomas in the hospital waiting lounge.

Dorothy turned toward Klaus and, as soon as she opened her arms, he burst into tears and sank into her gentle embrace. She kissed the top of his head and rubbed his back. “He’s hanging on, sweetie. The surgery went surprisingly well. He, um … th - they lost him once during it, but he got the help he needed and is in the intensive care unit.”
“What happened to him…?” he whimpered, clinging to her.
“Would you gentlemen mind giving us some privacy?”
“Not at all, ma’am.”
“Thank you.”