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Love is the Pursuit of a Fool

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Joe doesn’t really know what to expect when his captain reassigns him as head of Security Minister Ellis Leslie’s private security detail. He’s heard the name, of course, knows that Leslie holds one of the top offices in charge of counter-terrorism. Other than his affiliation to the Labour Party, one of the only things Joe knows about Leslie is that he curates his image to create the most desirable portrait of himself— within reason. Within reason, no part of Joe’s mind reasonably thinks that what he sees online about the thirty-four-year-old politician holds much weight into everyday life.

One of the pieces Joe reads tells him that Leslie doesn’t take a convoy of cars around to all of his engagements— Joe comes to find out that’s incorrect. He also reads that, as a recovering alcoholic, Lelie does not drink, a character trait that garners support among a particular demographic of people. Joe finds out that not only does Leslie indeed drink— whiskey and wine to be specific— but that he was never in any kind of recovery for drinking, has nothing to recover from. It’s all part of that image .

Of course, Joe doesn’t immediately know these things to be false. He comes to learn about them little by little, starting with his first day on the job.

On that first day, Joe reports to work, shadowing an existing member of the security team. The team member goes through the motions prior to Leslie’s arrival at the office, about his duties and the schedule that Leslie abides by most days. It sounds manageable even if Leslie himself might be questionable. 

Along with outside reports that Joe reads of Leslie’s down-to-earth qualities, Joe also expects to see him in not much more than some nice trousers and a simple button-up. A real “man of the people”. That is not what Joe gets.

What Joe gets at 8:30 on a Monday morning is Ellis Leslie pulling up to the Home Office in a spotless black Maybach with an escort car both in front of and behind him. It’s so beyond what Joe expects that he doesn’t realize who gets out of the car at first in a sleek dark grey suit with a pair of sunglasses on and a half-burned cigarette balanced between his fingers.

He’s talking to someone on his phone pressed tightly to his ear as well, and Joe has to bite the inside of his cheek to keep himself from making any kind of comment to the other officer next to him. Ellis Leslie is decidedly not a man of the people.

Ellis Leslie is a man of short temper who doesn’t fully care for the people around him, which Joe thinks is beyond ironic given the nature of his profession. He’s nearly always on his phone making appointments and yelling about policy issues in a clipped tone, making Joe wonder what kind of miracle workers his PR people are.

In fact, Joe’s learning that Leslie is combative by nature, that he feels the need to question every decision made by those around him. Maybe Joe’s history of defusing situations and getting suspects to calm down is precisely why Joe was put into this position. After meeting Leslie up close, maybe the Home Office specifically wants this trait of Leslie’s resolved. If that’s the true nature of his assignment though, Joe thinks he’ll need a pay raise.

The first night that Joe rides along with Leslie’s driver— Baker, Joe remembers— after a full day of work, is still early on into his tenure of discovering most things he knows about the politician to be false. 

Leslie hangs up the phone after discussing dinner plans with someone and blows out a deep breath between his lips. Joe can’t see him from where he’s sat without turning to look, but it sounds long-suffering— as if the thought of having dinner with someone were an inconvenience.

“You can just take the normal way home, Baker. Whatever’s fastest. Mackenzie is coming over to talk policy and I want to get settled before he does.”

It’s a good thing that Joe has ample training and self-control because if he didn’t, he might have been tempted to let out a scoff or snort of laughter. The whole reason Joe’s been brought on to Leslie’s team is in response to the recent uptick in terror threats— all the higher-ups were receiving tighter security because of them. People are likely plotting to kill him, and Leslie still wants to get home the quickest way. It’s astounding.

Joe may have enough deference to hold back inappropriate words about his true thoughts on the matter, but he does not have enough to stop himself from correcting erroneous behavior. So, he looks over at Baker as he sweeps the street with his eyes, and tells him to go a different way— slightly longer but unpredictable if anyone were watching their movements.

Predictably, Leslie does not like this change of plans, but Joe wonders if he really likes anything. He’s either flat or snarky— Joe was yet to see a genuinely joyful tone come from his mouth.

Joe does eventually get Leslie to cooperate, but it’s only after a few quick rounds of hard reasoning. Although, a few rounds is nothing in comparison to getting Leslie to allow Joe to perform a sweep of his flat once they arrive home.

It’s standard procedure no matter the location— the quiet solitude of the street doesn’t mean much besides preventing ordinary and random people from seeing Leslie all dressed up in his fancy pressed suits at the end of the workday. Assassins and terrorists work from the inside all the time.

A look of unparalleled contempt accompanies the action of Joe stopping Leslie outside of his own front door. Even after Joe explains the need to search the flat, the look stays firmly in place. Joe wishes that there was someone else besides Baker in the car circling the block to hold Leslie back from entering the flat, but of course there’s only the one officer stationed by the door who doesn’t hold much authority at all towards the inhabitants of the flat.

With all that being said, Joe's not surprised to turn and see Leslie following him into the bedroom and setting his bag in the corner chair by the window.

“You think someone’s put a bomb in my room, Lieutenant? I assure you if someone wanted to take out the Home Office, they wouldn’t start with me.” It sounds patronizing, and Joe pointedly ignores both his tone of voice and the image of Leslie off to the side unbuttoning his suit jacket and waistcoat.

“I’m just doing my job, sir.” He turns around a picture frame of Leslie and the Prime Minister before turning around to see Leslie a bit closer than before. He’s not in Joe’s personal space, but the difference in distance is startling nevertheless. Leslie moves like a ghost.

“Anything?” There’s something in Leslie’s eyes. A glimmer of amusement, perhaps? Does he think this whole thing is a joke?

Joe fully ignores him and slides past Leslie to walk back into the living room. Leslie follows him, of course he does, and Joe notices he’s toed off his shoes— no wonder he hadn’t heard him approach.

He continues to ignore him as Leslie makes his way over to the fridge and pulls out a bottle of wine and a glass from one of the cabinets. Funny, Leslie didn’t strike Joe as the wine type. The new, edgy persona Joe’s come to learn is just Leslie existing, screamed room temperature scotch poured out of a crystal decanter.

“You were a part of that train hostage situation, back in November, weren’t you?” It feels like the question comes out of nowhere, and it’s way too casual to encompass the small fact that a suicide bomber had almost detonated on a crowded train car heading into London. Joe’s family had been on that train— there is nothing nonchalant about it.

The truth is, Joe’s so tired of being lauded as a hero for helping to track down the bomber and defuse the situation, that he’d compartmentalized the event and pushed it away. He’d only been doing his job, nothing more. Coming from Leslie though, Joe can’t imagine that whatever’s about to come out of his mouth is anything less than caustic.

“Yes sir, I was. I helped apprehend the bomber.” He stands there, hands clasped in front of himself and posture at ease while Leslie appears to mull over Joe’s words. Leslie eyes him, a hint of a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. He’s probably trying to decide how blunt he wants to be.

What comes out of Leslie’s mouth is decidedly not what Joe had been expecting. “That was very brave. You helped save a lot of people’s lives that night.” Joe’s about to open his mouth and tell him, like everyone else, that he was just doing his job, but surprisingly, Leslie interrupts him. “I don’t give a shit about you ‘duty’. It was still brave.” Something appears to soften then in Leslie’s eyes, but Joe’s sure it’s just the wine.

“I’m afraid we got off on the wrong foot, Lieutenant Blake. I had a shit morning, and I took it out on you. Would you accept my apology?” And there, there’s a new emotion in Leslie’s voice— regret and maybe compassion.

Joe relaxes his posture further as Leslie approaches him with his wine glass in-hand. He looks like some kind of roman statue like this: glass balanced between his fingers, fitted shirt still buttoned and tucked into his trousers. The tie is gone, leaving his collar bare and the first button of his shirt undone. Joe bites the inside of his cheek as Leslie holds out his unoccupied hand as if to shake Joe’s. A truce.

Joe nods and holds out his own hand, smiling at the feeling of Leslie’s firm grip. “Lieutenant Joseph Blake, your new head of private security, at your service, sir.”

Leslie, actually cracking the barest hint of a grin this time, nods in affirmation. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lieutenant Blake. Ellis Leslie, Security Minister.”

Their hands stay grasping each other for far too long. Joe can’t describe why or what he feels in that moment, but the atmosphere feels charged with something different than it had moments prior. The anger and contempt have seemingly vanished, but Joe knows Leslie’s haughty demeanor lies just below the surface still. Joe thinks this must be his in-public politician persona— those rough edges smoothed down in a blink or you’ll miss it moment.

“Would you like to stay for dinner? Mackenzie is bringing over food and I’m sure there will be enough if you’d like some.” This decidedly is not part of the usual politician stunt, and it takes Joe back a bit because of it.

He must look like a fool, stuttering for a few moments at the invitation because Leslie cracks a grin at his expense. An actual grin . “Calm down, Lieutenant. It was just a suggestion. You can go home to your takeaway and I’ll see you tomorrow. Have a good rest of your night.”

Leslie walks Joe to the front door, wine glass still perched between his fingers the entire time. Joe can feel Leslie close behind him the entire way, and it’s somewhat flustering. Isn’t he the one who’s supposed to be watching Leslie’s back?

“Perhaps a rain check on the food?” Joe asks politely, pulling open the door and seeing a man a little taller than himself standing there. The man on the other side of the door looks surprised until he sees Leslie poke his head from around Joe’s unmoving form.

“Oh Ralph, hello.” Leslie almost sounds surprised to see this man, and Joe does too until he sees the bags of takeaway— this must be Mackenzie. “Yes, I was just getting home. Lieutenant Blake is my new personal security and he was doing a sweep of the flat that he deemed necessary. Lieutenant Blake, you’ll have to eat sooner or later, so I’ll be holding you to that raincheck.”

Joe manages a simple, “Of course, sir,” before he’s slipping around Mackenzie and crossing the street to Baker’s waiting car. He watches Leslie let Mackenzie into his flat, a full-toothed smile actually overtaking his face. Joe finds he oddly likes the sight.

Watching Leslie open up around Joe from there on out is a journey that Joe decides he never wants to end. Yes, Leslie still isn’t the ‘man of the people’ politician with his rolled-up shirt sleeves, but he is far less stand-offish in his pressed suits and sunglasses than Joe had originally thought. The sight of all that though, coupled with Leslie often seen balancing a cigarette between his thin fingers, does dangerous things to Joe’s subconscious.

It shouldn’t be doing anything, that sight, but here Joe is, feeling odd and uncomfortable swoops in his stomach every time Leslie side-eyes him with a glint in his eye and a smirk on his face. Joe wonders what those thin fingers of Leslie’s would feel like sunk into Joe’s hair, what his own would feel like gripping at Leslie’s surprisingly thin wrists.

While he’s on duty though, making sure Leslie’s days proceed as planned, Joe pushes it all away. He plays the good security officer, watching every angle of Leslie’s person while Leslie gets into heated discussions with his colleagues.

Amidst all the daily clamor, Joe watches as Leslie’s mood routinely sours whenever anything relating to the new referendum in Parliament gets brought up. Not even Mackenzie seems to be immune from Leslie’s ire on the issue.

Multiple times, Joe hears Leslie muttering coming out of the briefings, strings of phrases as he types away furiously at his phone that includes things along the lines of: “No good, Tory bastards. A fucking Big Brother state is what they’re trying to give us here. A load of shit.” On days like those, Joe stands to the side in the elevator, trying not to let the corners of his mouth turn up. At least his politics are one consistency that tracks from his public persona.

In the car one afternoon following a particularly heated debate, Leslie asks Joe what he thinks of the whole situation.

“I’m sorry, sir?” Joe figures he knows what Leslie is referring to, but their relationship has no room for politics. Even if they do agree with each other now, there will undoubtedly come a time where they don’t. It’s best to keep his mind on protecting Leslie from any outside threats and not worrying about which side of the floor he sits on.

“Oh, don’t play coy. About the referendum. Am I offending you with my annoyed ramblings or are you of the same mind?” Could this be viewed as entrapment?

“You’re not offending me, sir. I can assure you of that.” Joe won’t say any more. Leslie’s a smart and insightful man— if he can’t deduce what Joe means from his statement, that’s not Joe’s fault.

“I see,” Leslie answers, the hint of an amused smirk leaking into his voice. Simply imagining what Leslie looks like right now sitting in the back seat causes goosebumps to rise on Joe’s forearm. He’s like a boy with a schoolyard crush— how embarrassing.

Leslie drops the subject though and doesn’t address Joe again the entire way to Parliament. It’s probably better that way.

Joe’s been at the head of Leslie’s security detail for two months by the time Leslie properly trips him up. One afternoon while they’re alone, Leslie speaks out of the blue.

“How would you fancy dinner at a restaurant on Thursday, Lieutenant?” It’s so nonchalant and unexpected, that Joe has no words. Is Leslie having him on?

For the past several weeks, Joe’s tried not to pay attention to lingering looks from Leslie, of sometimes overly friendly arm or shoulder touches when Joe goes to leave at night. He’s evaded a few late night ‘hangouts’ as well— instances where once home, Leslie will try to get Joe to stay for a drink. It’s only because he’s lonely, Joe rationalizes. The only person he ever sees visit Leslie’s flat is Mackenzie, and he always seems to visit on the pretext of business.

Joe realizes he’s still not said anything in relation to Leslie’s question when the lift they’re on dings at another floor for people to board. “I’m sorry, sir?” Leslie undoubtedly gets tired of Joe’s repeated questions in place of answers, but he’s yet to call Joe out on it yet, so Joe will keep at it in the meantime.

“I’m having dinner with Mackenzie privately on Thursday at some bistro, but it’s technically during your time off. Truth be told, I much prefer your company to any of the others on the team, so I’d rather you were there so I could complain afterward without sounding like an ungrateful prick.” It’s spoken low, but when the lift dings again, the three other people with them step out of the carriage. No one boards.

“What makes you think I wouldn’t think you were an ungrateful prick, sir?” It’s much too informal, but Joe can’t help it. He can’t help but feed into this too comfortable rapport they’ve been building for the past two months. Besides, he needs to deflect from the way Leslie’s question had originally sounded.

If Joe has hoped to keep their further conversation any more professional, his hopes are dashed when Leslie actually turns to him with a glint of something in his eye. He looks dangerous.

Joe, ever the professional, only lets his gaze travel down and then back up Leslie’s frame once before focusing his mind back in the moment. Leslie’s suit jacket is still unbuttoned from when he flicked it open as soon as he’d exited the meeting room. The jacket is fitted, of course, but the way it hangs loosely against Leslie’s torso has Joe wanting to grip onto the lapels, to draw him closer.

Leslie’s standing close enough to see Joe’s eyes make the journey, and he wants to scurry away under the wolfish grip that splits Leslie’s face.

“Oh please, you, Lieutenant? You may think I’m a prick, but it’s not as if you don’t live for it.” And, oh . Joe’s mouth feels dry all of a sudden, and he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to get a retort out.

Thankfully though, fate must be on his side because the lift finally chimes at the basement level, and Leslie’s walking away before Joe can register it. Joe’s mind is still a few seconds behind though, so he has to politely weave around a few people trying to board, before jogging to catch up to Leslie.

Leslie glances quickly at Joe out of the corner of his eye, but keeps walking to the car park. “So, what do you say, Lieutenant Blake?”

There’s absolutely no reason he has to say no. It would just be an extra detail, a bit of extra money. He’s not the one who’s eating with Leslie, after all. He’ll just be there making sure nothing goes awry.

“Very good, sir. I’ll let my captain know.”

In front of them, Leslie’s black car sits alone, idling with the escort cars sufficiently out of the way. Joe instinctually goes to open the door, though Leslie pauses before slinking into the back seat. Joe wonders what he could possibly need now, but he stands there regardless, ready and at attention.

“No, you don’t need to let her know. I’ll take care of it. Thank you, Lieutenant.” And then, in true Leslie fashion, he makes a move to get into the car that is borderline ridiculous. Joe swears to himself that he doesn’t know how many more times he can take Leslie practically caressing his upper arm before Joe snaps and pins him to the nearest surface to just ravish already.

For now, Joe remains poker-faced and watches as Leslie finally just gets in the fucking car. Joe needs a cold shower.

Dinner is unbearably awkward. Not for Joe himself— that’s largely uneventful as he sits toward the back of the room at a table with Mackenzie’s own private security. They don’t eat, though the waiter has been kind enough to give the two of them some water and bread.

No, the awkward part is watching Leslie and Mackenzie interact. It hadn’t fully occurred to Joe before, and maybe it should have, that Mackenzie looked the tiniest bit smitten with Leslie every time he saw the two of them interact.

Sitting there now, the two of them are obviously talking work, but Mackenzie’s got the wine out, the candles lit. If this was strictly work, the two of them could have had a meeting at one of their homes, if not at the office. Instead, it’s quickly becoming apparent that Mackenzie is intending this to partly be a date. It also looks that Leslie is quickly putting that together as well. If Joe can see that from across the room with Leslie’s stiff posture and narrowed eyes, he can only imagine what it looks like from Mackenzie’s point of view.

Joe also notices that despite the wine in front of Leslie, Joe doesn’t see him drink more than a few sips. Leslie normally drinks more in the time it takes Joe to comb through his flat every night than he does at this dinner.

Mackenzie’s private security, her name is Candace, is largely silent. She picks at the bread and makes idle chatter every so often. She’s fine company for the task at hand.

They’ve only been there maybe forty-five minutes when Leslie stands abruptly— the scrape his chair cacophonous in the silent room. Of course, being Leslie, he can’t just leave the scene calmly— he always has to make some attempt at a show-stopping exit, and now is no different.

Candace makes an interested noise when Leslie pushes himself up quickly. They’re watching now. Joe half hopes that the sudden rise to attention will be it— maybe a little yelling— but what Joe doesn't expect is for Leslie to pick up his glass of red wine and swirl it gently, as if he were thinking of throwing the glass back in parting. If Joe and Candace were taking bets though, Joe would lose because Leslie doesn’t just swallow back the half-full glass. Leslie swirls the liquid before tossing the contents directly into Mackenzie’s face and all over his suit.

Noises of surprise come from everyone in the room who isn’t Leslie. Leslie stands still for a second or two as if admiring his handiwork, a real masterstroke of genius, before he begins walking toward the exit, buttoning his suit jacket as he goes.

Leslie walking away shocks Joe out of his amazement because he is still technically on duty.  So, he quickly wishes Candace well before he’s jogging after Leslie, telling Baker through his earpiece to bring the car around.

He doesn’t catch up to Leslie until he’s outside in the valet lane, hands digging through his pockets frantically until he finds his cigarettes. Joe’s never seen him wound this tight as he tries to get the lighter to catch in the evening breeze.

“Do you need a hand, sir?” Joe doesn’t know why he does it, but he steps closer to Leslie, bringing his hands up to shield the cigarette from the wind. Leslie’s eyes flit up to look at Joe, startled as if he’d forgotten he had security.

The cigarette does light finally, Leslie inhaling deeply for the first few seconds as the nicotine floods his system. His shoulders remain tense, but certain subtle ticks, like the clenched muscles in his jaw, do relax as the drug spreads through his brain.

“What a fucking prick. I should have known he had ulterior motives, fuck .” Leslie’s practically shouting, frustrated by whatever Mackenzie had done or said. It’s none of Joe’s business though, and they are alone for the time being, so he lets Leslie emote.

“Everyone’s only in it for themselves, of course— how dumb of me to doubt that.”

The cigarette’s burned down enough by the time Baker pulls the car around. Because Leslie doesn’t care to stomp out the remaining bit and place it in one of the receptacles, Joe’s willing to bet that Baker had been waiting for him to finish— the timing is too perfect otherwise.

Leslie slinks into the backseat like he does best and doesn’t say a word the entire way home. Joe would revel in the silence if it didn’t come at the expense of Leslie’s spirit.

Purely because Joe knows Leslie will ask him to stay tonight and partly because he doesn’t trust Leslie not to get shit-faced and so something stupid, Joe tells Baker not to wait up when they arrive at Leslie’s flat.

Leslie doesn’t wait for Joe to finish searching the flat before unscrewing the cap to his whiskey bottle. Granted, he doesn’t wait for Joe most nights, but it’s a testament to his feelings judging by the amount he pours in his glass before downing it in three gulps.

“Do you know what that prick said to me?” Leslie yells out as Joe’s quite literally in another room. He doesn’t have to answer to know that Leslie will continue, tone seething with contempt.

After he told me he wanted to sleep with me and I turned him down, he told me the only reason he had joined the opposition was to get close enough because he’d heard that I was a ‘wanton slut who would sleep with anyone who expressed the same political opinion’. He told me that the referendum would pass and that this will all have been for nothing. Fuck , I knew there was something I never liked about him.”

There’s no way Joe heard all of that correctly. Those words coming from Ralph Mackenzie’s mouth? The man looked like he couldn’t hurt a fly. Or, at least his public persona did. It’s an awful thing to say to anyone, let alone a colleague and friend. No wonder Leslie is throwing back the hard liquor.

Joe emerges from the study and can’t help but walk in towards the kitchen rather than stay in the sitting room. For a moment, he forgets his training, forgets the proper decorum he’s supposed to project. So much so, that Joe even forgets to use the proper title when addressing Leslie.

“Mackenzie said that to you? He’s your colleague! You shouldn’t stand for that.”

Leslie’s eyes widen at Joe’s close proximity, at the informality and volume. “Who’s to say I’m standing for it?” He takes a gulp and practically slams the glass onto the countertop. Joe might ordinarily wince at the sound, but he’s too keyed up right now, too honed into Leslie’s shifting expression.

“Mackenzie took me by surprise. That won’t be the last he’s heard of me, don’t you worry your pretty little head, Lieutenant Blake.” Leslie’s use of Joe’s own title brings him back a bit, but he still feels undeniably drawn to the other man.

“I’m sorry, sir. I forgot myself.” Joe doesn’t want to, but he forces himself to step back and away from Leslie. He is a kilometer out of line, and likely moments from being fired.

He’s so convinced he’s wrong, that Joe really doesn’t expect for those fingers of Leslie’s to reach out and wrap about his wrist. The feeling stops him in his tracks, his heart rate spiking at the contact he’d been lusting after, for lack of a better word.

Joe’s frozen in place now, afraid to turn back and see what Leslie looks like.

“God,” Leslie sighs, hand still attached to Joe’s wrist. “I just— I need to hit something. Do you ever get like that, Blake?”

Joe, honest to God, almost screams. In what universe does that line follow the action of dramatically and intimately grabbing at someone’s wrist? Leslie has got to be joking. Even after that, Joe still doesn’t want to face Leslie, but he has to, so he does. He turns with a, “Sir,” on his lips and sees that Leslie’s walked around the end of the counter. It’s those goddamn ghost feet again.

Leslie is very close now, very in Joe’s personal space. If Joe weren’t so close and staring into Leslie’s eyes, he might have missed the way they dilate at his usage of the title. Maybe Leslie isn’t having him on then.

“When I… when I’m wound up, I find that physical exertion of some kind is the best outlet. Keeps you from doing something you could regret. Sir.” Joe adds on the title as an afterthought and watches the effect it has on Leslie.

Joe stays where he is, rooted to the spot, while Leslie steps even closer. His one hand remains stuck to Joe’s wrist, the other one hesitantly making its way up to Joe’s jaw. For as much pent up energy that Leslie claims he has, the pull of Joe to him, of pressing their lips together, is surprisingly hesitant and tender. It gives the both of them time to pull away if they so choose, but they don’t take the 'out'. Joe had truthfully expected a borderline violent coming together if it ever happened, but this surprisingly sends chills up his spine, the feeling not an unwelcome one. 

Joe knows the kiss is likely hesitant because they both know it’s beyond wrong. He’s being paid to protect one of the UK government’s highest officials, not to hook up with them in said official’s kitchen.

The groan from low in Leslie’s throat brushes away Joe’s concerns for now, so he takes Leslie’s face between his hands and presses in deeper, drinking in the quiet noises from Leslie's mouth.

Leslie practically melts into Joe’s touch, another thing he hadn’t expected. He continues to surprise Joe it seems with his contradicting natures.

Joe doesn’t know how much he’s going to get away with before Leslie either comes to his senses or takes control. He figures there's an equally as likely chance that each of these scenarios happens along with Leslie allowing Joe to remain in charge. So, Joe pushes his luck and backs Leslie up against the counter opposite them, trapping him between two unmoving forces.

Those thin hands of Leslie’s come up to rest at Joe’s neck, their coldness only shocking him a little. In this moment of falter, Leslie bites into Joe’s bottom lip, pulling him back to the task at hand with a groan of his own is pulled from his throat. 

Joe lets himself kiss Leslie deeply a couple more times before he’s moving his hands to slide around to the back of Leslie’s neck, thumbs resting just behind the hinge of his jaw. Applying the slightest bit of pressure there, Joe watches as Leslie’s head falls back, exposing his neck.

When Joe pulls his lips from Leslie’s own, the thin thread of saliva that follows is downright obscene. Leslie’s eyes are closed, but he can undoubtedly feel it, his mouth parted with a quiet, barely-there noise falling into the space between them.

Joe knows without having to be told he shouldn’t purposely leave any marks up where Leslie can’t hide them beneath his collar. There’s no point in drawing more unwanted attention to Leslie’s sex life.

Joe wants Leslie right here, against the cabinets and the counter and the fridge. He wants to know what Leslie feels like coming apart under all that bravado that he exudes in public. He wants Leslie to beg— he wants to beg for Leslie. A lot runs through Joe’s mind as he kisses wetly across and down Leslie’s jaw.

From this angle, Joe can only reach the upturned underside of Leslie’s jaw, but it’s enough as he silently revels at the feeling of Leslie’s fingernails scratching down his still clothed back. Joe’s about to suggest some type of plan to discard clothes, but before he can, Leslie’s hands are traveling around to Joe’s front blindly to unbutton his suit jacket.

Clearly, Leslie has experience with this because he succeeds, pushing it up and letting his hands pull at the dress shirt Joe wears underneath. He even shoves aside the undershirt before those cold hands plaster themselves to the small of Joe’s back.

Fuck ,” Joe stutters out against Leslie’s neck. “Why are your hands so bloody cold?”

Leslie huffs out his version of a peel of amusement and digs his fingernails into Joe’s flesh. “Poor circulation. Wait, hang on.” Leslie says it like an afterthought, but Joe pulls as far away as he can while Leslie’s still holding on.

Leslie pulls away from Joe then, and he feels a tinge of dismay before Leslie’s hiking himself up onto the counter and pulling Joe closer again by his suit jacket, taking care to push it off his shoulders before they get too busy again.

Joe lets the jacket fall to the floor, unbothered in that moment when Leslie coincidentally also still has his suit jacket on.

From this new angle, Leslie’s just taller than Joe, which gives the former the upper hand in pulling Joe’s face up to meet him. They’re still just kissing, but the angle still feels heavenly as Leslie claims his mouth. Joe blindly reaches his hands up to unbutton Leslie’s jacket and peel it off of him, regardless of the fact that Leslie’s hands are busy cradling Joe’s face.

Leslie lets Joe pry the jacket off him though, his hands retaking their position at Joe’s cheeks when he’s free, thumbs rubbing gently at his cheekbones. Even if Leslie were the true ‘man of the people’ that Joe had originally expected, he still looks sinful when he’s down to his white button-up. Joe lets his fingers hang on the top few buttons of Leslie’s shirt, popping a few of them before winding his hand in Leslie’s tie to tug him closer still.

Truthfully, Joe expects the moan that spills from Leslie’s lips, even expects the moan from his own mouth as Leslie bites down on Joe’s bottom lip in response.

“Take it off if you’re so eager,” Leslie grunts out, letting his hands travel down to Joe’s own tie and loosening it with one hand as the other continues traveling further down to rest at the buckle of Joe’s trousers.

And, oh, just the insinuation causes Joe to moan into the space just shy of Leslie’s lips as he tries to focus on loosening his tie. He’s just on the wrong side of composed, keyed up and hands shaking, for him to rely on rote memory. Leslie seems to have no such trouble though because Joe’s tie is off and he’s tearing through Joe’s buttons one-handed and unthreading Joe’s belt with his other hand. Joe will undoubtedly tease him for it later.

Joe pulls Leslie’s tie off in the same moment that Leslie sinks a hand into his trousers. Leslie’s hand finally finding its way to Joe’s skin makes Joe almost choke on the feeling. It’s been too long since he’s had anyone's touch but his own that far below the belt, and it feels amazing.

If Joe’s hands had barely been working before, they’re certainly not working now. He just wants to feel Leslie, see the planes of his chest and feel every inch under his fingertips, under his mouth. Joe is not thinking straight, which is what he’ll attribute to his decision to rip at Leslie’s shirt with a firm tug that sends half the buttons skittering across the linoleum floors.

Leslie actually gasps, likely a combination of Joe actually ripping his shirt open and the feel of unexpected cool air on his skin.

“I’ll buy you another one,” Joe gasps out before pulling Leslie’s undershirt over his head and leaning forward further to attach his mouth to Leslie’s clavicle.

The hand of Leslie’s that isn’t palming at Joe’s cock comes up to clutch at the back of Joe’s head, fingers blissfully clenching at the short hair there. “You couldn’t afford it anyway.”

It’s good to hear that Leslie’s snark is still present— it means he’s still coherent. Joe bites down on the bone there and listens to the punched out moan that sounds incredibly close to Joe’s ear. He suddenly thinks he could get off just listening to Leslie make these noises of reckless abandon.

Fuck ,” Leslie stutters out when Joe’s returned to licking and kissing the spot better. “You’re a feisty one, Lieutenant. Wanna see what else you can do with those lips of yours?”

“Whatever you want, sir.” Joe breathes, voice ragged at just the thought. He’s been so focused on Leslie’s touch and the feel of his lips that Joe hasn't realized how hard he is until he feels Leslie’s thumb brushing over the tip of his cock, smearing the precum that’s evidently gathered there.

Leslie strokes him, firm and sure of himself, pulling Joe closer to him both physically as well as to that metaphorical ledge. It’s fast enough that Joe knows he’s not going to last for much longer no matter what they do.

If there’s one thing he doesn’t want to happen before this is all over, it’s to miss out on touching Leslie. So, Joe’s hands fumble to Leslie’s own belt, the sound of the metal buckle breaking through the noise of their panting breaths. Joe kisses his way back up to Leslie’s mouth again, lightly scraping his teeth along the way, careful still not to leave any marks.

Before he fully claims Leslie’s mouth again, he listens and basks in the strangled groan that’s created in response to Joe finally gripping Leslie in his own briefs.

Leslie’s mouth opens beautifully for Joe, their kiss sloppy as they stroke each other to release. Joe focuses on the feel of Leslie’s hand, of the way his tongue feels against Joe’s own. It’s so much— Joe wishes he were resilient enough to last for more of the movement.

He thinks they might finish in silence apart from the noises and words of encouragement, until Leslie gasps into Joe’s mouth, the message almost lost to Joe’s narrowed mindset.

“My job… your job… fuck, it just complicates everything,” Leslie cuts himself off with a whine, squeezing at Joe’s own dick.

Leslie’s right of course, but so is Joe when he says, “Nothing complicates my job. My job is to protect you.” Nothing they did or didn’t do here would change that fact now or later.

“Oh, fuck , Joe.” Leslie’s legs circle behind Joe’s thighs, his mouth falling open and muscles constricting as Joe feels him spill over his fingers.

The feeling, sound, and look of Leslie’s eyes squeezed shut, deep breaths forced in and out of his lungs, pulls Joe over as well. Joe grips tight to Leslie’s hip with his free hand, digging his fingers into the fabric and skin. Unintentionally, Joe realizes he’s got Leslie’s bottom lip between his teeth, pressing down just on the edge of too much.

Relaxing his hand on Leslie’s cock, Joe runs his tongue over the swollen lip drawing more whines from the other man, Leslie’s hands traveling up to run across the planes of Joe’s chest. Unfortunately, Joe tastes blood from Leslie’s mouth.

“So much for leaving no marks,” Joe murmurs.

“Oh, don’t speak too soon. I’m not done with you yet, Blake. I said I wanted to see what else your tongue could do, didn’t I?” Joe may have just come in his trousers like some teenager, but the prospect of more still has him way too interested.  

They finally divest each other of the remainder of their clothing on their way to Leslie’s bedroom, stopping only once or twice to press each other to the wall.

After finally making it to the bed, Joe manages to take Leslie apart further somehow. Leslie practically begs Joe to fuck him, and Joe can only oblige. The pace Joe sets is brutal and fast, no doubt ensuring to burn off the remainder of that sour mood of Leslie’s from dinner.

If Joe thought Leslie was mesmerizing after a quick handjob on the kitchen counter, laid out and fully debauched, Leslie looks like a god damned masterpiece. Oh, the guilt will set in tomorrow, but for now, Joe falls asleep pressed to Leslie in a bed that Joe’s willing to bet doesn’t feel too big for once.

Joe sneaks out the next morning before Baker comes to pick him up. When he stumbles into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee while Leslie’s in the shower, he can’t help but admire the buttons of Leslie’s dress shirt still lying on the floor. A few of them catch the early morning light, and it only makes the thought of wanting to jump into the shower with Leslie even stronger. 

He had already suggested it earlier, but Leslie had been the responsible one, murmuring, “Another time,” into the side of Joe’s temple before slipping out of the sheets. It had been a lot to think about.

Joe hears the shower shut off, and that’s the only reason he doesn’t jump out of his skin when Leslie silently slides up behind him with those quiet footsteps of his. Arms wind their way around Joe’s waist, placing a soft kiss to the side of his neck before they slide away and take a handful of his arse. 

Leslie’s voice is hot in his ear when he speaks again, and it sends a shiver up Joe’s spine. “I didn’t tell you last night, but I can’t decide if I like these trousers better on or off of you.” It’s low and sounds downright possessive so close, but now is not the time to get worked up.

So, Joe huffs out a shell of a laugh and leans back ever so much into Leslie’s touch and chest before turning to look at Leslie full on. Unlike earlier when he’d still been groggy with sleep, Joe notices his swollen bottom lip with a thin scab covering the cut. Leslie looks like he's been punched in the mouth.

"Oh, your mouth. Shit, I'm sorry," Leslie reaches up absently and runs a finger over it first before licking at it. 

"I'll tell them I ran into the door frame in the middle of the night. Would've been harder to explain away bruises." Joe still feels bad even as Leslie brushes it away and pushes up to press a sound kiss to Joe's lips with just the barest hint of tongue. It’s a promise for later. 

Joe successfully manages to evade Baker by leaving through the back garden and slipping out to the end of the street. For some reason, there’s no officer guarding the back as there is the front— he should really report that to his captain. Joe catches the tube across the city to his own flat where he's able to change his clothes and fetch his own car. The time proves perfect for Joe to do some thinking.

If Joe were a responsible officer, he'd ask to be removed from Leslie's detail— conflict of interest and all that. He could always chalk it up to a lapse in judgment— Leslie had led them at first after all. However, that would only be minorly believable if Joe hadn't then taken Leslie to bed and done a lot more than a quick handjob.

So, no, last night was very mutual. It takes two to tango and all that. The other thought that runs through Joe's mind is how they'll keep up their professional work relationship. They're both adults, of course, but something always irrevocably changes after sex enters the equation. He’ll have to have a discussion with Leslie when they’re alone to set their affairs in order. There’s an answer here buried under all the mess.

Joe really needn't have worried though because Leslie turns out to be a magnificent actor— which is fair. Leslie is the one who plays a down-to-Earth politician out in public after all.

Joe's out front of the office as usual when Leslie pulls up in that ridiculous Maybach of his. Joe's gut clenches as usual when he climbs out, glasses in place. This morning, his split lip is on full display, which doesn't do anything to calm Joe’s nerves. Leslie always looks good, but this morning, he looks good .

"Good morning, sir." It's as even and neutral as it normally is, but he doesn't miss how Leslie's head tips in Joe’s direction with the most minute of movements.

"Lieutenant Blake."

And their days proceed as normal. Joe follows Leslie around to his meetings and events (dressing much more casual on those events out, Joe always notices) and makes sure everything goes according to plan. They are to proceed as normal with the utmost professionalism as if nothing has changed. Acting as if nothing’s changed means that Leslie doesn’t necessarily change his behavior, pinning Joe with heated looks and sideways comments as he already had been doing. Thankfully, no one says anything because to the outside observer, nothing seems to have changed. 

What has changed though, is that it’s becoming routine for Joe to stay the nights at Leslie’s flat, the two seem unable to get enough of each other. Joe can’t tell if part of the rush he feels is because every exchange of breaths they share is illicit— frowned up by nearly everyone for one reason or another— or because he feels himself falling harder for Leslie with each press of their bodies. He doesn’t care though, because the longer they spend together, the more ways they find to take each other apart.

Along with the thrill of getting away with this relationship, Joe also doesn’t see any trace of Mackenzie for a good week and a half, which is probably for the best because Joe doesn’t trust himself not to punch him at a moment’s notice. He’s not entirely sure though if Leslie knows this and keeps him away from Joe as a result of diplomacy.

Sure enough though, another week passes before Joe sees Leslie walking out of a meeting with Mackenzie. Leslie’s eyebrows are drawn, lips pursed as he listens to what the other man has to say as they approach the lift. He can’t hear what they’re talking about from this far away, but Joe figures Leslie wouldn’t be talking to him so closely if Mackenzie was on the other side of the debate as he’d claimed he was going to be. Joe doesn’t broach the topic though because it’s none of his business. It’s policy, and sometimes things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows on the road to getting what one wants for the country.

That night though, Joe notices that Leslie seems to be full of pent up energy, similar to how he was their first night together. Unlike their first night though, Leslie approaches Joe without any false pretext and unclips his belt, ridding Joe of his gun and handcuffs. While Leslie sets the gun delicately on the dresser, he dangles the handcuffs in front of Joe, a glint of something in his dark eyes.

Joe feels something flare up inside of him, low in his stomach, at the insinuation of one of them being restrained. Granted the handcuffs were industrial strength with no padding, Joe finds he doesn’t particularly care.

They’re at the foot of Leslie’s bed, close and quiet, hardly daring to break the silence. “What do you want to do, sir?” Joe asks, stepping closer and sliding one of his hands around to rest against Leslie’s still clothed arse. The fabric is taught and Joe wants to just rip it off of him, make him beg for every touch. He doesn’t though, playing into Leslie’s hands instead.

Leslie tips his chin up and smiles, the links connecting the cuffs jingling together. “I want to cuff you to the headboard and have my way with you. Is that okay? Would you want that?” Leslie’s voice is low and husky, practically whispering, and it’s driving Joe crazy. He had thought he’d wanted to make Leslie beg, but suddenly, all Joe wants is for Leslie to wreck him , to immobilize him and drag moans and curses out of his mouth until he can’t think straight.

“Yes, God, yes, that would be perfect. I want all of you,” Joe practically moans and squeezes his hand before unbuttoning his own shirt and trousers.They don’t waste time in dragging out the process of undressing each other, though Leslie does tell Joe to keep his briefs on for now.

Leslie practically pushes Joe to the bed, climbing up the length of him while pressing open-mouthed kisses here and there along his body. It already feels like more than Joe can handle, the adrenaline coursing through his veins. He can only imagine how Leslie is going to drag this out.

Joe’s focused so much on the feel of Leslie’s lips and fingers dragging goosebumps across his skin, that the feel of the cool metal against his wrists jolts Joe back to the present. The picture of Leslie straddling his prone form, pulling Joe’s hands above his head, causes a low moan to slip out of his throat. Leslie falters in his movements for just a moment, a smirk lifting the corner of his mouth.

“We’ve hardly started and you’re already up here whining.” Leslie abandons his work briefly to lean down, one of his hands pressed possessively into the center of Joe’s chest, pushing Joe further into the mattress. Leslie hovers just above Joe’s lips, breath fanning out across him. It does nothing but make Joe more desperate.

“Please.” Joe doesn’t have words to express what he wants because he simply wants all of it. He wants Leslie to finish restraining him, wants to be fucked into the mattress and beg for release. He wants to experience Leslie fully in control.

Evidently, Joe doesn’t have to beg for anything specific, because Leslie presses a feather-light kiss to Joe’s lips— one Joe unashamedly tries to follow— before leaning up to finish restraining Joe’s hands.

Rather than simply cuff Joe’s hands together, Leslie goes so far as to thread the cuffs through the slats in the headboard, fully immobilizing Joe and giving him nothing to hold onto but the bars themselves. It’s so unbelievably hot.

Leslie takes a moment to appreciate the sight that Joe knows he portrays, but that moment is excruciating because Joe finds that he’s aching for Leslie.

“Look at you, practically begging for it. I just want you to know that I find it incredibly sexy that you go from being ‘Mr. In-charge’ to begging to get fucked.” Admittedly, Joe does go red at that, and he has no choice but to lie there and face Leslie— he can’t even hide his face in his hands.

Fuck , Ellis, I need you so bad, I need you to fuck me.” Something has to stir Leslie into action, and thankfully, the use of Leslie’s given name paired with Joe’s lust seems to do the trick.

Between one moment and the next, Leslie’s got Joe’s briefs off and has a spit slicked hand wrapping around Joe’s cock.

It’s expected, but the sudden pressure still causes Joe to choke on his own spit and fail to stifle a grown low in his chest. Leslie doesn’t stroke him too fast, just enough to keep him on the edge of just enough— languid movements that twist on the downstroke.

Joe feels his hips unintentionally buck as Leslie picks up his pace, chasing the feeling that won’t seem to stay in place and fully satisfy him. He wants to beg for more, but he told himself that he’d let Leslie be in charge. It’s Leslie’s turn to show Joe what he’s really capable of.

Sooner rather than later though, Leslie lowers his mouth to Joe’s chest and presses wet kisses and gentle bites everywhere that will be covered by his uniform. Just the thought of what will be hiding under a few layers of fabric drives Joe crazy.

After a particularly hard bite combined with a skillful twist of Leslie’s hand, Joe’s biting out a, “Fucking hell, Ellis. I need you in me.” Joe’s straining against the handcuffs, the bite of the metal grounding him while he tries to keep his voice steady.

Leslie sees right through him easily, but at least he finally releases Joe’s cock for a moment to let Joe breathe. He climbs up Joe’s body, finally letting their lips connect after what feels like years apart. He expects that to be it, but then Joe feels the smooth pad of Leslie’s thumbs rubbing soothingly at Joe’s handcuffed wrists. The movement is calming and nice, while also reminding him of just what they’re doing. Joe lets out a quiet moan at the feeling, humming against Leslie’s mouth.

“Are you still okay?” Leslie murmurs into his mouth, licking gently at Joe’s bottom lip.

“Yes,” he breathes, breathless at the sensations of Leslie everywhere around him. “I want you to fuck me so bad. Make me feel like you did that first time.”

Leslie releases one of his own groans at the memory of their first time. Goosebumps race up Joe’s spine at the feeling of Leslie’s hands dragging Joe’s arms and away from his wrists.

After their first night together, Leslie had cornered Joe the following day in the restroom and told him how deliciously sore he felt, how much he kept thinking about Joe fucking him during his meeting. Joe had nearly fucked Leslie there in the restroom at Leslie’s low and heady voice in his ear.

Now, Leslie reaches for the bottle of lube next to them on the mattress and moves further down Joe’s body. Despite that Joe knows what’s happening, he can’t help jerking a little at the press of Leslie’s thumb rubbing and circling his hole. If it weren’t for the noise of the handcuffs, Joe might think that Leslie misses it.

He doesn’t.

“Just have to relax for me, Joe. I’ve got you.” It’s unbelievably soft, low and caring, and it nearly throws Joe from the moment.

Joe tries to look at Leslie, knelt between his bent legs, his fingers reaching down. When he feels Leslie press one of his fingers in, Joe’s muscles in his neck give out, his head falling back to the pillow and a whine spilling from his mouth.

Leslie’s fingers are long and slender, and they feel heavenly inside him, pumping and stroking. Leslie turns his head and presses kisses to the inside of Joe’s thighs and knees, only serving to heighten the feel of Leslie withdrawing one finger and pressing two back in.

“Oh, fuck,” Joe moans, squeezing his eyes shut in pleasure.

“That’s it. You can take it, I know you can. So good, laying there open for me.” Leslie’s not talking particularly loud, but Joe hears all of it, feels how those words heat him from the inside out.

When Leslie strokes over Joe’s prostate, Joe swears he sees stars, tipping his head back and pulling on the handcuffs as he releases choked-off expletives. He doesn’t know how much more he can take of this, of Leslie teasing him.

Joe survives it though because soon enough, Leslie’s pulling his fingers out and away only to replace them with the tip of his cock. Joe didn’t even see him pulling off the last of his clothes— so in his own head with pleasure that he’d missed it. He doesn’t miss this now though, of Leslie leaning in close to his face and making sure that Joe’s still fine.

He answers in the affirmative, of course, and sucks at Leslie’s tongue when the latter licks into his mouth and begins to push in at the same time. Predictably, the movement and feeling punches a moan out of his chest. Joe balls hip hands into fists, the bars of the headboard just out of his grasp.

Leslie’s got one hand braced against Joe’s hip, the other one rubbing soothing circles into the skin at Joe’s thigh he has hiked up for easier access. There are so many sensations to pay attention to, that Joe has a difficult time choosing whether to pay attention to the way Leslie’s lips feel pressed against his own, his soft and reassuring fingers, or the satisfying and full feeling of Leslie pressing into him. Joe’s certain he’s going to combust.

Sooner rather than later, Leslie stops moving, bottoming out deeper than Joe remembers from previously, and it’s so much. Joe feels so full and all he can do is communicate his satisfaction with a series of groans and moans.

They remain unmoving for several seconds while Joe adjusts and gets used to the feeling of Leslie again. Leslie takes that time to bite gently at Joe’s jaw, more of a scrape of teeth than true bites that would risk leaving marks.

Something that Joe doesn’t expect Leslie to do though is to slide his hands up to Joe’s own again. This time, he gently uncurls Joe’s fingers and slots them together, giving Joe something to hold onto. It’s soft and tender, but what Joe really wants is rough and demanding.

“El, I’m ready, you can move.”

No sooner does Joe utter the plea than does Leslie shift his hips back before pushing into Joe in one languid stroke. The force of it all shifts Joe up a few inches on the bed, accompanied by a choked moan and his head tipping back, exposing his throat to Leslie.

Leslie repeats the action a few more times, practically making Joe a keening mess by the time Leslie whispers into his ear. “Does that feel good? Do you like being filled with my cock like that?” The rough edge of Leslie’s voice, the possessiveness that laces his question, heats up that familiar coil deep within his stomach. Oh, he won’t last much longer like this.

“Yes, yes, it feels so good. Please, please I need you faster before I come.” Joe’s aware of how wanton he sounds, because he certainly feels it. He feels it in the way he clutches at Leslie’s hands, desperately straining against the now warm metal. He feels it in the way his legs come up to cross at Leslie’s lower back, trying desperately to keep Leslie as deep as he can. Joe’s never been this out of his mind, and he knows Leslie will never let it go.

Leslie, thankfully, obliges, picking up his pace with alternating short and long strokes that rock Joe to his core. They’re shallow and deep, and Joe thinks he lets out something that sounds like a sob at one point when Leslie finally takes his leaking cock in hand. Joe knows he isn’t going to last long at this point, he knows that he’s only moments away from spilling over Leslie’s fingers.

“El, I’m close. You’re gonna make me come if you do that for much longer.” Part of Joe expects Leslie to speed up his movements after that, expects to feel like he’s suffocating as the air rushes out of his lungs as his orgasm crashes down over him.

He squeezes the small of Leslie’s back and where Leslie holds one of his hands still.

Leslie fucks him through it, deep and short thrusts until Leslie is also spilling into him. He murmurs bits of praise into the space between them, of how good Joe feels, how beautiful he looks. His warmth causes Joe to whine low in his throat as Leslie’s strokes gradually slow after that. Leslie rubs a soothing hand low on Joe’s stomach, and there’s something unbelievably sensual about the movement that Joe can’t describe.

They remain where they are, Joe tipping his head down to watch Leslie and silently begging for Leslie to kiss him, to suck at his tongue.

Gradually, Joe’s mind clears and they pull back into themselves. When Leslie unlocks the handcuffs and releases Joe’s hands, Joe finds he misses the weight of them on his wrists. Not that he’d vocalize that thought.

An unfortunate drawback is that his arms have gone heavy from lack of blood flow, and now Leslie gently helps lower them back to where they’re supposed to be, placing gentle kisses up the stretch of them.

“You did so good, you know that, Joe? You were so fucking sexy laid out like that. Are you okay?”

Joe tips his head sideways to watch Leslie as he settles closer to him, slightly blurry, and hums in affirmation. “I’m okay,” he murmurs. “That was really good. I think you should fuck me more often. Love the way you take control.”

Joe doesn’t speak with the intention to rile Leslie up by any means, but he still appreciates the way Leslie makes an interested noise in the back of his throat.

He could easily stay there for the rest of the night, but of course, he hears his work phone ring from where he’d left it on the kitchen counter. Fuck, if he doesn’t answer that, there will be questions. So, reluctantly, he rolls out of bed, quickly picking up his briefs from the floor before jogging into the kitchen.

He makes it right before the call clicks over to voicemail. It’s only his captain asking him to stop by the office in the morning after he drops Leslie off at Parliament. After Joe acquiesces, he swipes a bottle of water from the fridge before heading back to the bedroom. 

Leslie’s still lying in much the same position, flipping through something on his phone. When Joe sits back in bed, sitting up against the headboard, Leslie quite literally wiggles over to Joe and settles his head in his lap.

The weight is grounding and comforting, but there’s a sense of hilarity in the fact that Leslie is still naked, covered with nothing but a bit of his thin sheet.

Leslie asks for the carton of cigarettes on the nightstand, pulling one for himself before offering the pack to Joe. Probably against his better judgment, Joe takes one.

Joe watches the smoke curl out of Leslie's mouth, off the end of the cigarette. A part of Joe gags at the thought of smoking indoors, but the feel of Leslie's head in his lap, of the lingering feel of the handcuffs on his wrists and of Leslie inside of him takes Joe's mind off the whole smoking thing. Joe sinks one of his hands into Leslie's hair, reveling in the hum it produces from Leslie. 

Wandering fingers come up to clutch at Joe's fingers, Leslie's thumb stroking at his palm. He pulls Joe's hand from his hair and brings it in front of his face. Joe watches him, reverent, as Leslie presses a light and lingering kiss to a part of his wrist that's rubbed a little raw.

"Did I hurt you?" Leslie murmurs against Joe's wrist.

The movement is so tender and the complete opposite from how they'd been only fifteen minutes prior. It makes Joe's heart clench.

"No, I'll be fine. I told you I was okay, and besides, I don't remember complaining earlier." He feels his face redden at the memory of Leslie clutching his hands in his own, pressing them into the mattress. Being incapacitated as Leslie owned him always seemed to produce other-worldly feelings.

"You'll have to switch what wrist you wear your watch on."

It's said so absent-mindedly that Joe doesn't even think that Leslie registers what he'd said. "You pay attention to which wrist I wear my watch on?" It's such a minute detail, and Joe never would have guessed that Leslie would be one to pay attention to that.

Leslie tips his head back and looks up into Joe's eyes. His dark eyes piercing Joe's soul while he maintains his hold on Joe's wrist. "I notice everything about you."

Joe has no words to that, certainly. It's heavy and revealing without having to say too much. The speechlessness continues, Joe's words failing him, so he pulls his and Leslie's hands up to his mouth and presses his own lingering kiss to the back of Leslie's hand.

The silence extends out around them, the two of them listening to the sounds of London in the distance, away from them where they're in the safety and warmth of Leslie's bed.

As much as Joe tries not to bring up the topic, it seems to still be at the forefront of his brain from earlier in the day, having grown heavier as more time has passed. "Did Mackenzie not switch sides like he said he was going to? I saw him talking with you after the meeting today."

Joe feels Leslie sigh beneath him rather than hears the breath escape his lungs. Leslie takes a pull of his cigarette before answering. 

"Apparently he tried to go and lobby for the other side, and they told him to fuck off for being a turncoat. He's come groveling back and apologized, but suffice to say there will be no after-hours work meetings at my flat anymore."

Joe watches Leslie stare up at the smoke swirling off the end of his own cigarette before gesturing to Joe for the ashtray and stubbing it out. "I don't want to talk about policy though when I don't have to. When you're here in my bed doing such a good job protecting me."

An unintentional snort escapes from Joe's throat as Leslie rolls off Joe's lap and resituates himself to straddling Joe's thighs instead.

"Is that what I'm doing, now?"

Leslie nods and takes Joe's chin in hand. It's a firm enough grip on his chin to hold Joe in place while Leslie leans in and tongues at Joe's upper lip, his lips loosely kissing after a moment. Joe is powerless to do more than reach one of his own hands up to rest at the small of Leslie's back.

"I'm glad I could be of service then," Joe breathes before finally angling his head to meet Leslie's lips, pulling the latter's tongue into his mouth and swallowing the low groan that rises from Leslie's chest.

The fingers gripping at Joe's chin lightly scratch up to rest against his jaw, cradling it as if he were made of something fragile— as if Leslie hadn't treated him the opposite only a half-hour prior.

A gentle shift of Leslie's hips against his own pulls a quiet gasp from Joe's lips, let's him kiss Leslie deeper, slower. Leslie's still naked from earlier, so the only thing separating them is the thin fabric of Joe's own briefs that he still has on from his trip to the kitchen.

The friction, combined with the lazy movement, is intoxicating with the remaining buzz of the nicotine still just under the surface of his skin. A part of Joe wants to flip Leslie over and ravish his lean body, but he relents to being at Leslie's mercy yet again, letting one of his hands trail down to Leslie's thigh.

Despite how the kiss deepens, turning absolutely filthy, Leslie's rutting remains slow and sensual. Joe manages to slide his mouth away at one point, letting his teeth scrape lightly up his jaw. "What do you want, El?"

"You," Leslie breathes out, airy and shaky when Joe bites at his earlobe. "I want you just like this. Slow so you're begging me to go faster, to let you just fuck me like I deserve."

Joe can feel the rumble in his own chest at the thought. A shiver runs up Joe's spine, and he nearly pushes Leslie to the bed instantly to do just that. He doesn't though, watching instead as Leslie leans across the bed to where the bottle of lube had been tossed earlier.

Right now, Joe finds he can do little besides watch as Leslie slides the hand on Joe's jaw down to his chest for balance— he watches as Leslie reaches back to ease his slicked fingers into himself. Joe groans at the sight, at the way Leslie's hips stutter in their rhythm. 

He has to do something besides stare at how beautiful Leslie looks with his eyes closed and his mouth parting on a gasp as he undoubtedly brushes against his prostate.

Joe leans forward slow enough so as not to throw Leslie off balance, and tongues his way down Leslie's throat.

"God, you're so beautiful when you finger yourself deep like that," Joe can't help but growl into Leslie's skin, letting his teeth catch once he makes it below the collarbone. "Does that feel good for you? You, getting yourself ready for me."

Joe knows he's just egging Leslie on, trying to push the other man's resolve to the limit. This is the game they play with each other. Leslie knows this too, because now he makes a noise halfway between a huff of laughter and a whine of pleasure. "That won't work, Joe." He pauses for a moment at a particularly shuddering breath. "Feels so good though."

"Whenever you're ready, just let me know," Joe murmurs into Leslie’s chest. He lets his hands travel up Leslie’s stomach, one of his thumbs brushing across a nipple.

A few more sighs and stuttering ruts later, Leslie is pulling Joe's briefs off and slicking him up in preparation to take Leslie.

The feeling of Leslie's fingers on him again so soon is a sensation that Joe doesn't think he'll get tired of any time soon. They wrap around him with expert skill and gentleness, mindful of the lingering sensitivity. Joe wouldn't mind being destroyed with those hands both literally and figuratively. 

Joe's only been inside of Leslie a few times now, but he doesn't think he'll ever get tired of the feeling of Leslie tight around him. He'll never get tired of the harsh breaths that Leslie forces through his nose, the way he lets his head fall back once their thighs meet each other. 

Leslie stays silent and still for ten or fifteen seconds before he slowly swivels his hips. Leslie had been absolutely correct earlier when he'd told Joe that he'd be begging for Leslie to move faster, to let Joe fuck him. Even now, while Leslie's pulling off of Joe, he doesn't rush back down, still determined to take his time and savor it.

The guttural moan that feels like it’s torn from Joe's throat forces Leslie's eyes open and into direct contact with Joe. It adds another layer of depth— the lust-filled glaze that they have that still projects that air of haughtiness. 

"Fuck, El, you feel so good," Joe can't help but gasp. He feels like he's worshipping a deity with how Leslie sits in his lap, Joe's hands splayed protectively and supportive against his torso. He's looking up at him with blown pupils of his own— it's borderline euphoric.

"Kiss me so I don't absolutely ravish you right now." It sounds cliché as hell, but Joe absolutely means it— he's hanging on by a thread.

Thankfully, Leslie acquiesces to that request at least, licking into Joe's mouth on the exhale of a whine and a downward push of his hips. Joe can't help but fuck up into the movement, driving his cock further up into Leslie, both of their fingers digging into each other.

It's slow, but not necessarily lazy. There's something tender and meaningful about making it last, to teasing each other out of their minds at the tempo. At this speed, Joe lets his hands travel Leslie's entire body, learning and memorizing every divot and bump. He learns the feel of each of Leslie's vertebra and what they feel like when Leslie arches his back at a particularly deep thrust. As much as Joe lusts for being fucked within an inch of his life handcuffed to the headboard, the slowness transcends it all.

Joe can feel Leslie’s resolve slipping as he gets closer to finishing— feels the quicker pull and pushes. Joe himself doesn't have it in him to do much besides whisper small phrases of encouragement that Leslie preens under for as much as he says he hates them. Little, "Yeah, that's it. Look at you, you're doing so good," breathed into his hair and neck and lips, drawing whines and moans, twists of Leslie’s hips whenever he's fully seated that feel heavenly.

Joe won't touch Leslie’s neglected and aching cock though, not until he does it himself or begs Joe to. One of these situations will happen, it's just a matter of when.

When Joe lets his hands travel down to rest against the top of his arse and then further still, Leslie breaks away from Joe's mouth, slack-jawed, and lets his forehead come to rest in the crook of Joe's neck. The movement brings them closer together, Leslie's cock brushing firmly against Joe's stomach. The sensation has both of them gasping. 

"Fuck, Joe, fuck. Touch me. I want you to touch me." Leslie moans against Joe's neck as Joe finally encircles his hand around Leslie’s cock after squeezing a bit of lube into it.

Joe keeps Leslie's original intention of the slowness, gently stroking him to match Leslie's own thrusts. If he wants anything faster, then he'll have to beg. He's found that he quite likes the idea of that.

When Joe swipes his thumb over the head of Leslie's cock, smearing the precum gathered there, Leslie grinds his hips down harder than before. Leslie is trying to force himself to climax without stroking Joe's ego. Joe can play with that— as good as he feels so deep in Leslie, he wills himself not to come until Leslie does.

To play with Leslie, Joe slows his hand further than Leslie's own movements, the two only lining up on every other stroke. The groan of frustration that bubbles up from Leslie's throat is amusing to say the least.

"I know what you're trying to do," Leslie groans, one of his hands coming up to grip at Joe's chin, pulling their heads up to look at each other. "It won't work."

"Okay," Joe grunts before pushing up into Leslie deeply. "Then just come like this. Can you do that for me? Can you come this slow?"

"Fine." Leslie looks dead into Joe's eyes, and Joe swears he could come right then. "Fuck me, Joe. I want to come, I need you to fuck me."

Joe doesn't necessarily go as fast as they did earlier, but he takes over, pulling Leslie up and close to him, Leslie’s face resting once more into Joe’s neck. His hands are splayed across Leslie’s back as he thrusts up into Leslie’s tight heat with firm strokes just a beat or two faster than Leslie had been dragging out. The change in angle makes Leslie cry out, his fingernails biting into where his hands clutch at Joe's shoulder and chest.

Joe himself is close, closer than he has been yet. Snaking a hand in between their bodies, Joe takes hold of Leslie’s cock and strokes in time with his trusts.

Leslie's not too vocal, he's found, but his whines get closer together, his breathing quickening against Joe's neck. "Come on, El, come on. You started this, now it's time for you to come for me." It's only two more strokes until Leslie's spilling with a wordless cry.

Joe strokes him through it, continuing to fuck into him until Joe’s coming as well, a punched out moan falling from his own lips, fingernails digging in and dragging up a few inches on Leslie’s back. The way that Leslie tightens around him at the feeling, a renewed soft moan against Joe's throat, sends spots dancing across his vision. Leslie is truly something else.

After they've both come down and Joe feels himself softening inside of Leslie, the latter shifts himself off of Joe, grunting at the loss. He collapses next to Joe on his back, letting one of his arms drape across his eyes, his chest still rising and falling quicker and deeper than normal.

"Christ, Joe, you're something else on both bottom and top. We should have been fucking from day one."

The thought of Leslie on day one fucking Joe or vice versa is borderline hysterical. Leslie was vitriolic that first day, Joe remembers.

"I don't think that would have been looked upon kindly." Joe knows that he's teed up Leslie for the perfect follow-up, but it's true either way. 

“And it’s looked at kindly now?”

Joe doesn’t answer with more than a roll of his eyes in response. He could try to argue that it’s a little different now— they actually like each other.

Looking down to where Leslie’s lying next to him, Joe sees his stare returned through Leslie’s own half-lidded eyes. It’s different than before. It’s not a gaze full of insatiable lust, but of a comfortable familiarity— a gaze that doesn’t require them to keep watch of each other's movements out of paranoia of someone seeing them.

“What?” Joe can’t help but ask, feeling like the words are balanced on the tip of Leslie's tongue, just begging to breach the surface. 

“What if you resigned from my detail so we could be together?” The question is vulnerable and out there, but in true Leslie fashion, it doesn’t seem to bother him save for a quiet and thoughtful tone of voice. His eyes don’t leave Joes, his hands don’t fidget or wring together in classic expressions of anxiety. Leslie is as cool as always.

Joe, on the other hand, doesn’t feel as cool. A dozen thoughts swim in his head about the implications of him recusing himself only to date Leslie openly. None of those qualms have to do with Leslie himself, but rather how it’ll look from a professional standpoint.

People in a power dynamic suddenly ending said dynamic and getting together only ever happens because there was already something there. Joe remembers something about a time limit between therapists and clients ending services before they’d be able to pursue a relationship. Is there a law in place for the private security sector? Does he google that?

In the midst of thoughts of credibility and career-ending moves, Joe feels a hand covering his own. “Who else could I trust to do an adequate job of protecting you? Kilgore? I don’t want to take my chances.”

Leslie snorts, but something flickers behind that veneer of relaxation. “Kilgore’s a good kid, just a bit green and still wanting to do everything by the book. Even if he does get on my last nerve sometimes.” Kilgore’s one of Leslie’s aides who, bless him, never quite has it together. The thought that Leslie is secretly fond of him eases something in Joe.

“Just so you know, since I can see it in your eyes,” Joe speaks lower, even going so far as to shuffle down into bed to face Leslie. “I would love to just be with you. Throw it all away and let someone else do the heavy lifting, but if someone found out about what we did before I wasn’t your private security, I’d never work again in the business. I don’t want to just sit at a desk.”

Leslie’s eyes follow him the entire time, unrelenting. “If someone found out about us now, wouldn’t it be worse?” Ok. fair.

“Let’s not fret about this now, yeah? I want to hear about how you’re going to ‘rip these Tory bastards a new one’ in tomorrow’s floor discussion.” Thankfully, Leslie cracks a smile at his own words thrown back at him.

They lie there like that, content in their mundane conversations that steer away from politics and policy. Night had already been deeply upon them, and now as they talk further, the late hours slowly become early.

Joe knows they should sleep, but to sleep would be to miss out on the way Leslie’s eyes sparkle, the way the corners crinkle when he laughs. He knows it’ll be a long day in the morning if they don’t sleep, but Joe just can’t bring himself to.

Joe’s called into his captain’s office the next morning after Leslie’s been dropped off at Parliament, which typically wouldn’t be an issue. On the way, he spots Gareth, one of his coworkers that Joe honestly couldn’t give two shits about, leaving the captain’s office with a smirk directed at him. It feels malicious, but Gareth doesn’t actually say anything. Joe ignores him and pushes into the office.

His captain is a stoic woman who’s maybe a couple years older than himself. She’s firm and steadfast— seems to know what’s best for every team member even when they don’t. Joe admires the hell out of her.

Now, she looks disappointed, and Joe wracks his brain for something he could have done wrong— other than the obvious, of course. Surely, she doesn’t know about that. What perfect irony it would be to have Leslie’s warning come true the very next morning.

“Good morning, Joe. Have a seat please.” Her smile is tight as she gestures to one of the two plain office chairs. She sits on the edge of her desk, projecting an air of comfort and familiarity. “How is the Security Minister reacting to the referendum? I know things are getting tense.

The inclusion of Leslie into the conversation is odd, but Joe figures it is his job. “He’s uh..he’s stressed— keeps going on about the opposition and what not. Is that why you’ve brought me here, ma’am, to talk about the Security Minister’s referendum strategy?” Joe knows it’s not, but he just wants her to get to the point.

At being called out, the tight smile disappears from her face. “I’ve received an extremely serious allegation regarding unprofessional intimacy between you and the Security Minister.” 

The air suddenly feels like it’s been sucked out of the room between one moment and the next. Joe clenches his jaw to prevent it from falling open in shock. Who could have told? Who even knows ?

“Who’s making these allegations?” It’s strained and tight, Joe knows, but he doesn’t think he has it in him to just outright admit to his actions of the past few weeks.

His captain also seems to have the same mindset. “I’m not at liberty to say.” While her tone isn’t as tight as Joe’s own, she sounds authoritative and tired— as if she’s hoping that Joe will just give her a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Joe tries a different angle. “They’re alleging something is going on in private? Well I don’t see how there’s any proof? If there’s no proof how could you lend credence—”

She cuts him off this time, looking resigned to give him more leeway. “There’s a recording.”

A recording is certainly incriminating, that’s for certain. This is how he goes down then. Even if Joe had wanted to listen to Leslie, it doesn’t seem that he would have had the time. Joe should give her the ‘yes’ that she seeks, that she knows she has, but he can’t offer up the words. He can’t go down like this without a fight. “A recording? From who? The security service? Is this recording even legal?”

And then, in a burst of anger or frustration, Joe’s not sure which, she raises her voice and splays her hands wide in the air to release some of that pent up emotion at the situation. “Damnit Joe, is it true or not?”

Silence hangs in the air for several seconds while his captain lowers her hands and takes a breath. “Ma’am,” Joe begins, tight and measured, “are you not supposed to advise me if my answer might incriminate me?”

If the question from before could be considered an outburst, the following remark is a borderline tirade . Joe will be surprised if people in the corridor don’t hear her. “You weren’t just fucking the Security Minister, you were fucking our whole reputation!”

Ma’am.” Joe’s eyes go wide in surprise at her words.

“Look.” Another deep breath. “Just take some time off and fade into the shadows for a bit and maybe, just maybe , I might be able to make this go away.” It’s resigned and disappointed as if she were dealing with a naughty child who drew all over the walls. Instead, she gets an irresponsible Lieutenant who went and slept with the person he’s being paid to protect.

Well aware that she hasn’t asked for his admission of guilt again, and fully intentioned not to give her the answer that she already knows, Joe gets up and storms out of the room like the child she thinks he is.

Thankfully, no one is standing obnoxiously close to the door— not even Gareth. Part of Joe wants to ask Gareth if he’s the one who somehow got a hold of a recording, but he doesn’t. Joe knows that Leslie’s flat isn’t meant to be bugged, but they’d been so careful everywhere else. He doesn’t understand what bug would have picked them up. He leaves without letting anyone know where he’s going, assuming his captain will let the proper channels know of his forced time off.

Against his better judgment, Joe drives to Leslie’s flat to try and search for bugs. Carefully combing through the light fixtures, picture frames and virtually every other surface he can think to look on, in, and under, Joe comes up empty. How the hell is there a recording of them short of one of them setting it up themselves?  

Wracking his brain, he suddenly remembers that time last week where he’d followed Leslie to his office after a board meeting. Thankfully, it wasn’t an office like the Home Secretary’s with an interior wall full of windows, but rather an office with one normal-sized office window and four solid walls. 

Joe had followed Leslie into the office and had promptly been shoved up against the door, Leslie’s hand pulling at Joe’s belt before sneaking into his trousers. Governmental building surveillance and all that, Joe suddenly realizes. He very nearly brains himself on the kitchen counter at the realization. How fucking stupid of them. 

All that’s left now is to recuse himself. His captain said she might be able to make it go away if he takes a week or two, but Joe wouldn’t be able to stand knowing that he’s been found out if he stayed in his position. Perhaps he’ll ask to vet his replacement, make sure they’re competent, and then resume his life as a Lieutenant with the rest of the force. It has to be for the best. Leslie’ll be happy at least with this development— well maybe not happy so much with Joe’s captain finding out as he will be pleased that it’ll free Joe up to keep all to himself. 

That will be a conversation for later.

Later comes and wakes Joe up from the nap he’d unintentionally fell into when Leslie practically kicks the door in. One of the other members of the security team is on Leslie’s heels, telling him he needs to stay outside until he’s done the customary sweep. Leslie’s, of course, arguing back, bickering, and unashamed at letting his ire show. His words fall silent though when he sees Joe stretched out on the couch, suit jacket thrown over a nearby chair and clothes wrinkled from sleep.

Leslie’s demand that the officer leave is obeyed this time, the door shutting firmly behind him as he leaves. It occurs to Joe, then that he never let Leslie know what was happening, never called or texted him about the change in plans halfway through the day. The annoyance sits plainly on Leslie’s face as he stands fixed to the entryway with his bag still hanging from his shoulder.

“So, you’re not dead then. Not being held hostage in a basement with a bomb strapped to your waist? Good.” It’s said with an air of nonchalance, a telltale sign that Leslie is not, in fact, good with how things have played out. 

Leslie walks past Joe and into his room to drop his bag off, and when he emerges back into the sitting room, he’s shoeless and jacketless. He’s loosening his tie as he walks to where Joe’s sitting on the couch still and wordlessly nudges Joe back so that he can sit in his lap, his sock-clad feet wedging their way under Joe’s thigh.

“Why did you leave? Why are they telling me you’re taking a sudden leave of absence?”

Looking into Leslie’s eyes this close, Joe can see he’s worried— that his sudden disappearance and lack of communication had set his nerves on edge. “Apparently there’s government surveillance in your office at work.”

Leslie’s eyebrows knit together, and it’s several seconds before his eyes widen in understanding. “ Fuck . Shit, Joe, your captain found out?”

“She pulled me into her office and told me that someone had come to her with serious allegations. She said it was a recording, that there was nothing to deny. I searched the flat, and the only thing I can of would have been your office from last week. She told me to take some time off and she’d see what she could do.” He lets it hang in the air for a moment before continuing. 

“I think I have to recuse myself— go back to patrolling where I was never tempted to break the code of conduct. I think it’s time that I just have one title and not two.”

The corner of Leslie’s mouth twitches while he tries to keep a straight face. “Which is?”

Joe takes one of Leslie’s hands in his own and brings up to his mouth to kiss gently. “Boyfriend instead of bodyguard?” They hadn’t discussed the word ‘boyfriend’ yet, hadn’t really been a reason to while they were bound to the propriety of professionalism, but now that Joe finds himself at the end of a resignation, he really wants to live without the stipulation. He hopes Leslie does too.

The smile that freely spreads across Leslie’s face says enough, the other man nodding before leaning close to Joe’s lips. “Yes, I’d quite like that,” he whispers before sealing his lips over Joe’s. It’s heavenly, as always, and makes Joe’s stomach do flips.

Two weeks later, Leslie’s got a new bodyguard— not Kilgore, and not the temporary fill-in that had bickered with Leslie the whole way into the flat that one night. The guy is nice enough, respectable, and careful, which Joe appreciates. Leslie complains about him every chance he gets. 

“He’s no Lieutenant Joseph Blake, that’s for sure,” Leslie moans the first night that he sees him after the switch occurs. “He’s too respectable and I don’t think I’ll be able to charm the trousers off of this one. That’s a shame.” 

Joe can’t help but chuckle, pulling Leslie into a kiss across the dinner table in Joe’s flat. “That’s good. I’d hate to have any competition.”

In pure Leslie fashion, he keeps up the charade of being disappointed for just long enough before he gives in and gives Joe an adequate kiss. “You could never have any competition, don’t worry.”

A week after that, the referendum gets put to a vote, with Leslie’s side somehow pulling off an upset against the Tories. Joe’s in the middle of an arrest when Leslie calls him, an uncharacteristic cheer to his voice while he’s around his colleagues. A sigh of relief escapes Joe at the knowledge that the government has been barred for now from implementing more severe surveillance against its people. For now, it’s a win for Leslie, a win for the ‘man of the people’.

Leslie, still keyed up with his victory, utterly destroys Joe that night, unashamedly marking him wherever he sees fit with the knowledge that Joe’s uniform jacket covers most of his neck now. It’s a good precedent to set for when Leslie wins a majority, and Joe doesn’t mind one bit.

Joe can’t wait to see where it goes next.