Category: Crossover (CSI:NY, Criminal Minds)
Summary: When a serial killer brings the BAU team to New York, an old acquaintance is renewed and a new relationship emerges.
Author's Note: If you see unfamiliar terminology (such as CSU/Crime Scene Unit rather than the ubiquitous CSI), it's because I am using the proper designations for the New York City Police Department. Amazing that Zuicker's people never thought of that, huh?
"So this is where you guys hang out after hours?" Derek looked around the cozy environs of Sullivan's and concluded that the majority of its denizens were off-duty law enforcement officers.
"Sometimes," Sheldon replied cagily as he nodded toward the back of the bar. They settled at a small booth with a couple of beers. Derek flagged down a waitress and ordered the buffalo wing appetizer. "So what has it been--eight or nine years?" Sheldon asked as he tried to recall the last time he saw Derek Morgan.
"Nine years," Derek said. He'd had some time to think about it. "My first undercover assignment with the FBI."
"Do you do a lot of undercover work?"
"Not really; I did a bit of it early on. The FBI is big on tried and true methods. I was successful on my first assignment so I got more. I was usually called in when they needed a specific type."
"African American male FBI agents aren't all that common," Sheldon surmised.
"No, they aren't," Derek said, smiling. "But I actually got called in whenever they needed a certain persona. I got pegged as 'the cool dude.' Whenever they needed a 'cool dude' they sent for me."
"Understandable," Sheldon said, regarding him appraisingly. "How did you get from there to the BAU?"
"I did my homework. I didn't want to be the 'cool dude' forever. Plus, I had the opportunity to work on a case with one of the best minds in the Behavioral Analysis Unit and he thought that with my background and experience I'd be a good addition. I went back to school, took a few courses to hone my skills and here I am." Derek shifted in his seat and leaned forward. "But we didn’t come here to talk about me. You promised to tell me your story."
"Not much of a story to tell, really," Sheldon replied. "I was doing my surgical residency when we met up in Boston. After I finished that I came to New York to do a residency in orthopedics. I soon found out that I wasn’t cut out for it, no pun intended."
"I find that hard to believe, Doc. The man I knew in Boston could do anything he set his mind to." Derek frowned and studied the pained expression on Sheldon's face. "What happened?"
"I couldn't cheat death," he replied softly, his eyes averted to the label of his bottle. He picked at it as he talked. "I couldn't deal with the hard cold fact that even after I'd done my best my patients were still dying, or suffering… I couldn't do enough. Even with all my education, experience or God-given talent I just couldn't do enough, and it began to eat away at me."
"You were working in a trauma center when I met you," Derek replied. "You dealt with the dead and dying every day."
"I know," Sheldon conceded. "But I thought it would be different. People weren't supposed to die on my operating table during elective surgery." He shook his head to erase the painful memories. "I couldn't deal with it. I was reading the papers one day and saw that the city had a shortage of medical examiners. I immediately applied for the job."
"With all your talent? Doc, you could have moved into another field of medicine. You went from trying to save the living to dealing with the dead 24/7!" Derek paused uncomfortably. "I'm sorry; I don't mean to be judgmental, but--."
"That's exactly what I did," Sheldon admitted. "I couldn't save the living, so I tried to help the dead--or more correctly, the families of the dead. It was important work, especially after September 11th. I had just arrived at the ME's office about a month earlier. Talk about baptism by fire."
"I know," Derek said somberly. "I was temporarily assigned to an investigation unit at the Pentagon. Our ground zero was a lot smaller than yours but we were still overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the crime scene. And we had only a fraction of the number of casualties."
"Every last one of them counted." Sheldon shook his head. "I practically moved into the morgue for a few months, working round the clock trying to piece together the identities of the victims from bits of tissue, teeth or bone fragments."
"It was a fascinating, as a forensic exercise, but--."
"It's something you'd never want to have to do again," Derek declared as his wings arrived at the table. Sheldon nodded and fell silent. Derek offered him a wing and settled back to hear more. When Sheldon didn't speak, he prompted him.
"So how did you go from the ME's office to the CSU?"
"Well, I really enjoyed working as medical examiner but I kept finding myself frustrated whenever Mac or Stella or one of the other CSIs came down to the morgue with a really interesting case. I only got to see a small fraction of it. All I'd get to deal with was the body, if there was one. I wanted to see a bit more of the action."
"So you got curious."
"I've always been curious; that's why I became a doctor in the first place. But I got restless again," Sheldon confided with a smile. "I wanted to help the victims' families find closure but an autopsy's only part of the puzzle. I wanted to do more. My interest in forensic science was something Mac was well aware of so when I broached the idea of joining the Crime Scene Unit, he wasn't too surprised. We discussed it at length and when he saw that I was serious about making the switch, he told me what I'd have to do in order to join the unit."
"Are you a lab tech or a crime scene investigator?"
"I'm the real deal, brother," Sheldon replied, grinning.
"So--." Derek frowned. "Wait a minute--you went from Harvard Medical School graduate to surgeon to medical examiner to crime scene investigator." Sheldon nodded. "And if I recall correctly, members of the NYPD's Crime Scene Unit carry the rank of detective."
"That is correct, yes."
"So you're a cop, now, too."
"And are you satisfied now, or are you considering another move?" Derek asked teasingly. "There's still astronaut, actor, chef, and circus clown to try."
"No, I think I've found my niche. Being a CSI is extremely satisfying," Sheldon replied, smiling. "I have to admit I was beginning to fear that I was turning out to be one of those people who was always searching and never finding a place to fit in. But I'm content now at the Crime Lab."
"That's good to hear," Derek said. "But I have to believe that you fit in everywhere you've ever been." Sheldon averted his eyes to the bottle in his hand and set it down.
"Maybe," he said softly. "But I've never been able to find what I have now before I joined the CSU."
"And that is?"
Sheldon ignored the question and signaled the waitress for another round. Derek sat back and wondered what it was Sheldon wasn't telling him. He observed his companion for a moment until something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. Sheldon noticed his distraction and glanced over his shoulder.
"Friends of yours?" Derek asked.
"Yeah; Danny, Lindsay and Adam are all part of my unit."
"They don't seem to approve of my presence."
"It's not for them to approve or disapprove," Sheldon said frowning. He looked over his shoulder again. "It's a public place; if they don't care for your company they can drink elsewhere."
"Well, I was actually speaking more of my presence in the Crime Lab, but come to think of it, they don't look too happy to see me here, either." Derek glanced up and met Danny's eyes as he passed the table.
"Hawkes, you consorting with the enemy?" Danny quipped, but he kept moving because he knew that Sheldon would challenge his characterization of the FBI as the enemy. Lindsay smiled apologetically and all but pushed Danny past the table. Adam nodded at the pair benignly.
"Danny can be a bit of a hothead at times," Sheldon said regretfully.
"So I've noticed," Derek said. He waited until they were out of earshot before he spoke again. "Speaking of intense characters," he said in a low voice. "What's up with Detective Flack?"
"Flack?" Sheldon's face registered surprise. "What about him?"
"The dude seems to have a serious problem with me. I'm used to encountering resentment from LEOs when we move in on their turf, but this guy is something else."
"Flack?" Sheldon repeated. "That doesn't sound like him."
"I'm not making it up. Even my colleagues have noticed it," Derek insisted. Sheldon shrugged.
"I don't know why he'd have an issue with you. I know he isn't thrilled at the idea of the FBI taking over his case, but he's a consummate professional; he'd never let his personal feelings interfere with the job."
"Oh, he's been professional," Derek agreed. "I've got no complaints about his work. But he shows me the kind of professional courtesy that makes me want to watch my back."
"Really?" Sheldon was completely perplexed. "I'll have to ask him about it."
"Hey, don't do me any favors. The last thing I need is for you to tip him off," Derek said jokingly.
The more he thought about Don Flack, the more curious he became. But he allowed Sheldon to turn their discussion to the case and as they talked, Derek began to remember how much he used to enjoy his conversations with Sheldon. The man was not only intelligent; he had an extraordinary ability to recall small details and connect seemingly disparate bits of information. And, if he was being completely honest with himself, Derek had to admit that he was--as he was back in 1999--mesmerized by Sheldon's beauty, charisma and quiet strength.
Another CSI entered Sullivan's and stopped to briefly chat with Sheldon about the case that was about to go to trial. Derek sat back and observed him, realizing as he did so, that he'd never seen Sheldon look so relaxed. Of course, Derek had seen Sheldon at work in the ER, where he epitomized the image of grace under pressure, calm in the center of a constant storm. He'd also seen Sheldon in a jovial mood--at the hospital during an all too short break. But he'd never seen Sheldon off-duty, completely at ease and comfortable in his environment. He liked what he saw.
"I'm sorry about that," Sheldon said, distracting Derek from his reverie. "Work sometimes follows me out of the lab."
"I know how that goes," he replied. "I heard Stella mention the Dunham case before. Is it a big one?"
"Cop shooting," Sheldon said grimly. "Murder one--the DA doesn't want any mistakes so he's been running us ragged, checking and double-checking everything."
"Is it a solid case?"
"It's fairly air-tight; that doesn't mean that we can afford to be complacent. The last thing we want is for some smart lawyer to get the case thrown out on a technicality."
"I've never known you to be complacent about anything," Derek replied. Sheldon smiled enigmatically.
"Complacency is a dangerous thing," he said as Derek's eyes wandered toward the door. Sheldon turned to find out what had caught his eye this time and saw Stella enter the bar with Don. Sheldon turned back and studied Derek's expression until the federal agent realized he'd been caught staring and averted his eyes.
"She's a beautiful woman," Derek said conversationally. "Are they together?"
"I doubt it," Sheldon said, a wry smile teasing at his lips. But he said no more and Derek felt a tingle of déjà vu.
"Tell me about him."
"What would you like to know?" Sheldon countered calmly.
"Are you two friendly?" Derek asked, glancing over at Stella and Don, who were having beers at the bar.
"Yeah; I'm friendly with most of the people I work with regularly."
"What kind of guy is he?"
"Flack's a good guy. That's why I don't understand the behavior you described earlier."
"You've never seen him behave like that?"
"No," Sheldon said firmly. "The guy can be a bit hard-headed sometimes, and he's very passionate about his work, but I can't imagine him acting the way you described."
"I think it's personal," Derek declared, "but I have no idea what he's got against me." Sheldon shook his head, still confused by what he'd learned. "What's he like off duty?" Derek asked, looking over at the bar. He noticed that Stella had spotted him. He consequently never heard Sheldon's response; his attention was focused on Don's reaction at learning that Derek and Sheldon were at a table behind him.
As Derek looked on, Don turned around and glared at Derek. Then his focus shifted to Sheldon, who was oblivious to Don's attention. After a long moment, Don downed the remainder of his bottle in one gulp, threw down some money and left, in spite of Stella's attempts to talk him out of it. Derek frowned at the scene and Sheldon finally looked up.
"What's the matter?" he said, turning to look over his shoulder. He saw Stella approaching and slid over to allow her to join him in the booth. "Hey, Stella," he said. "Where's Flack?"
"He had to leave," Stella said, her eyes on Derek. He didn't gainsay her, so she gave a tiny smile of gratitude as she sat down.
"After one beer?" Sheldon seemed surprised. "That doesn't sound like him."
"You know Flack," she replied with a shrug. Her answer seemed to satisfy Sheldon; he immediately schooled his features and changed the subject. Derek glanced at Stella, who seemed pensive. Derek was certain that she was thinking about Flack. Flack, on the other hand, appeared to be more concerned about Sheldon than Stella when he left the bar.
Derek spent the next half hour with the two CSIs trying to understand all the dynamics of the scene he'd witnessed earlier. He couldn't quite figure out the puzzle just yet, but Derek resolved to make sense of it all before he left New York.
Derek returned to his hotel and spotted Spencer sitting in a quiet corner of the lobby reading a book. He went over and said hello. Spencer closed his book and followed Derek to the elevator.
"So why were you down in the lobby?" Derek asked, pulling the book from his hand to examine its cover.
"I got bored," Spencer replied, shyly. "I went downstairs to be in the company of other people."
"This scare you?" Derek teased as he returned the book, which was about serial killers who had never been caught. Spencer shot him a withering look and stepped out of the elevator. They began walking down the corridor and when they drew close to Derek's room, Spencer gestured with his head. Derek followed him and entered Spencer's room a few doors further down the hall.
"So where have you been?" he asked as he slipped off his jacket and hung it up. Derek plopped into the room's only chair and stretched out his legs.
"I had a beer with Sheldon Hawkes."
"I see." Spencer turned to Derek and began to unbutton his shirt. "Tell me about Sheldon Hawkes." There was no accusation or judgment in his voice, just mild curiosity.
"Well, as you know, I met him a long time ago when I was in Boston, working undercover. He was doing a stint in the ER at Boston General. I was trying to track down a serial killer who's murdered three terminal patients."
"Were you lovers?" Spencer asked casually as he slipped off the shirt. Derek hesitated briefly, then laughed uneasily. "I'll take that as a yes." Spencer sat in the edge of the bed to remove his shoes.
"No, not really," Derek replied. He shut his eyes and remembered that one night when it almost came to pass. "I wanted him, I'll grant you that. From the moment I first saw him there was something about him. He's so--."
"Compelling," Spencer acknowledged. "He's a beautiful man. He's also intelligent, articulate, and an apparently gifted scientist." Derek opened his eyes and smiled.
"Sounds a lot like you, " he said as he raked his eyes over Spencer's slim form. But Spencer shook his head.
"In my wildest dreams," he snorted. He turned the conversation back to its original topic. "So you never made a move?" Spencer asked dubiously. "That doesn't sound like you." Derek shrugged.
"I was undercover."
"And under constant surveillance."
"It wasn't as though it could have been more than a one-time thing, anyway."
"You wanted more?"
"No," Derek replied, shaking his head. "You know I can't afford to throw caution to the wind and get involved in a high-risk relationship. I wasn't thinking long-term. But Sheldon Hawkes isn't the kind of man you turn to for a mindless fuck, either. Even if it's a one-time thing, with him it'd never be casual."
"You usually reserve that excuse for women," Spencer said, reclining on the bed. He folded his hands behind his head and looked at Derek, who shifted under his earnest gaze.
"Well, I've known a lot of really special women," he admitted with a shrug. "I've known a few special men, too."
"Ever get any of them into bed?"
"Besides me," Spencer replied, smiling slightly.
"A few; male and female. But unfortunately, Sheldon Hawkes wasn't one of them."
"Was he interested?"
"I think so." Derek thought for a second. "No, I know so. We clicked on a lot of levels. He's bisexual, like me. We were chatting one day and he said just enough to let me know."
"I don't subscribe to the theory that--."
"Hey, genius, if you were bi you would, regardless of what your beloved books say," Derek replied curtly. "As it is, you're so oblivious you don't even have functioning gaydar, so I'm not surprised that you don't get it. Trust me; Sheldon Hawkes is bisexual and he was interested. But after I had to blow my cover in order to save him from that thief, things sort of got derailed."
"What happened?" Spencer asked eagerly. He sat up and scooted a little toward Derek.
"Some drugged-out whack job tried to rob the hospital and took Sheldon hostage. I went to his aid and took down the creep. After that I had to explain everything."
"And then he backed off," Spencer surmised. Derek shrugged.
"He was more than a little spooked by the incident, but--."
"He probably thought he'd misread your earlier signals," Spencer suggested.
"I don't know," Derek replied thoughtfully. He pressed on, rather than addressing Spencer's suggestion. "We found our unsub the next day. He made his move in one of the rooms where we'd placed a video camera. I moved in and made the arrest and the next thing I knew I was on a plane to St. Louis to follow up on the case."
"So you never even had a chance to talk," Spencer said sadly. Derek shook his head. "And now?"
"Now's not the time to be thinking about Sheldon Hawkes," Derek said, rising to his feet. "We've got work to do and much as I'd like to satisfy that itch, something tells me that ship has sailed."
"It's not like you to give up so easily."
"Spencer," Derek cut off his intended remark and sighed. "We'll see." He started to head for the door, but Spencer laid back on the bed and stretched like a kitten.
"You're leaving?" he said softly.
"Do you really want me to stay?" Derek replied.
"Why do think I invited you in?"
"My mind might be on another man the whole time we were having sex."
"You've never minded the fact that my mind is usually on a certain straight-laced, very married federal agent of our acquaintance whenever we have sex," Spender replied as he scooted to the edge of the bed and stood. "Why should I begrudge you a fantasy or two?" He took hold of the hem of Derek's shirt and began to push it up.
"Why, indeed," Derek replied amusedly.
"I thought you and I had an agreement--until we found the right partners we'd help each other out," Spencer said, leaning in to nuzzle Derek's throat. Derek lifted his head to give him room to wander. But he abruptly paused and stepped back. "Unless you'd rather not…"
"I think I'd rather we did," Derek said huskily, lifting his arms to allow Spencer to slowly slide up the shirt. He claimed Spencer's mouth and kissed him greedily, breaking apart only long enough to pull off his shirt. Then he pushed Spencer backward till the two of them fell onto the bed. After that, Derek let Spencer dictate the action and fairly soon he completely forgot about Sheldon, utterly absorbed in satisfying his partner's need.
Sheldon got out of the cab and turned to walk into his apartment building. He abruptly turned back and, letting the cab pull out, crossed the street and walked over to a parked car. The window rolled down and Sheldon bent to speak to the driver.
"What are you doing here?"
"You're home late," Don said matter-of-factly.
"I wasn't aware that you and I had plans," Sheldon replied sarcastically. Don shot him a look.
"Maybe you were too busy with your old friend."
Sheldon straightened up and rolled his eyes.
"Good night, Flack." He turned and re-crossed the street. As he entered the elevator to ride up to his apartment, a hand stayed the door. Don slipped into the elevator and turned to face the front of the car.
"Got a few minutes for one of your newer friends?" Don asked. Sheldon rolled his eyes and pushed the button to close the door.
"Maybe," he replied archly. The car came to a stop and he slipped past Don to exit the car. Don followed him down the hall and waited while Sheldon unlocked his door and stepped back to let him enter. Sheldon followed him into the apartment and tossed his keys onto the table in the foyer. "Now what's this all about?" he asked, turning to confront is surly guest.
Instead of answering, Don pushed him up against the door and kissed him senseless. Sheldon found himself splayed against the cool metal with a very hot, insistent Don Flack pressed against his body. He didn't fight, but he didn't make things easier for Don, either. He simply hung there, a dead weight in Don's arms, until he was finally allowed to breathe. Don started nibbling at his earlobe and that little spot behind his ear that drove Sheldon mad. Sheldon swallowed hard, aroused in spite of himself. But he gathered his wits about him and pushed Don away, pasted on a neutral expression and glared at him.
"Don?" he squeaked. His planned diatribe stalled as abruptly as it began because thoughts were no longer flowing to Sheldon's brain. He licked his lips, cleared his throat and tried again on an easier tack. "What the hell was that?"
"I just wanted to remind you who's number one on your list," Don replied huskily, leaning in to nuzzle Sheldon's throat once more.
"My list?" Sheldon pushed him away again, harder this time. Don stumbled back a few feet, a confused look on his face. He raised his hands in surrender.
"All right, I'll behave. Just tell me you aren't into that guy."
"Is that what this is about? You see me talking to a guy, get jealous and think that entitles you to come over here and maul me?"
"Do I have any reason to be jealous?" Don asked. Sheldon rolled his eyes and walked past him into the living room, pulling off his jacket as he went. He threw it down on the nearest chair and headed for the kitchen. "I asked you a question," Don said as he watched Sheldon fill the kettle and set it on the stove. Rather than respond, Sheldon went to the cabinet and took out a tea canister. "Were you two lovers back in Boston?"
Sheldon opened another cabinet and took out a small teapot. He took out a spoon and measured a precise amount of tea into the pot before he turned to face Don and responded. As always, his voice was soft but the fierce expression on his face more than compensated.
"Where do you get off staking out my home, storming into my apartment, assaulting me and demanding that I answer questions about my past?" Sheldon spat angrily. "Was I supposed to be so disarmed by your kisses that I didn't notice your total disregard for my privacy? Or the fact that you seem to think that I'd welcome your advances under such circumstances?"
Don opened his mouth to respond, but Sheldon wasn't done. He pushed past Don and returned to the living room, picking up his jacket and taking it to the closet. Don followed him out of the kitchen and watched him hang up the jacket and return to him, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt.
"You know, when Derek told me you were giving him the evil eye I thought he was imagining things. That didn't sound like you. But it wasn't his imagination, was it? You have been doing that, haven't you?"
"Derek? So you're on a first name basis?"
"Will you listen to yourself?" Sheldon cried incredulously. Don flopped onto the sofa, scrubbing his face with his hands.
"You make me crazy," he said softly, his voice slightly muffled. Sheldon put his hands on his hips and glared at him.
"Hey, don't blame me for your problems!"
Don looked up at him and threw up his hands.
"All right, so I'm jealous. Sue me," he challenged. Sheldon shook his head and returned to the kitchen to make tea.
"I ought to kick your sorry ass to the curb," he muttered. He filled the teapot and set the kettle back on the stove.
"You don't mean that, do you, Doc?" Don said plaintively. Sheldon glanced up and saw Don leaning against the door frame. He shook his head disparagingly but didn't answer. "Look, I'm sorry. I know I overreacted, but you didn't see the way he looked at you." Don paced a bit in the narrow kitchen, seeking the right words. Sheldon turned and leaned against the counter, waiting patiently. When it became apparent that Don couldn't articulate his feelings, Sheldon spoke.
"How do I look at him, Don?" he asked simply. "Did you think about that? Did you look at my eyes? Did you see anything at all to make you think that I was interested in Derek Morgan? Or did you just see him and decide that I wanted him as much as you assumed he wanted me? Did you think at all or did you just go apeshit and come running up here to assert your prior claim?"
"I'm going to assume that was a rhetorical question," Don replied after a dead silence of several moments. He slumped against the wall looking utterly deflated.
The sex had been hot and heavy and more satisfying than either of them expected. But then it always was. And that was telling; they sought out each other to get off, but it always ended up being more than just sex. It was a dangerous game they played, Derek realized, each man claiming to want someone else, but ultimately turning to the other time and time again. They were becoming more to each other than convenient outlets for relief from pent-up sexual tension. Derek stared at the ceiling and wondered if Spencer was having the same thoughts. He was far too smart to have any real illusions about what they were doing. They were playing a game, pretending not to be involved…not to care. He wasn't in love with Spencer and he knew Spencer didn't love him. But there was more to life than love. They needed each other. Spencer referred to their relationship as a "co-dependency."
Derek rolled over to stare at the window. From his vantage point, he could make out a sliver of sky between tall buildings. He should have left by now. He should be in his own room, sleeping in his own bed. But Derek knew that if he returned to his own room he would just lie awake thinking. At least here he could do his thinking in the comfort of his lover's proximity. He turned over again and spooned himself against Spencer's back. He closed his eyes and fell asleep easily.
He dreamed he was sleeping in Sheldon Hawkes' arms.
"That doesn't really cut it, Don," Sheldon replied.
"I know." He scrubbed at his eyes again. "I lost my head."
"You're one of the most level-headed people I've ever met," Sheldon said wearily, dropping into a chair. "It's not like you to fly off the handle."
"Tell me about it."
"What's this really about, Don?"
"What, you think I staked out your place, stormed in here, 'assaulted' you and demanded that you answer my questions in order to mask my real motives?" Don reasoned. "You're a riot, Doc."
"Don." Sheldon said irritably. He pinched the bridge of his nose and shut his eyes. Don observed him for several minutes. "I'm sorry, too, for what it's worth," Sheldon said with a sigh after a few minutes. "I thought you had a healthier self-esteem."
"You make me crazy."
"You're not going to get anywhere with that insanity defense, Don." Sheldon dropped his hand and opened his eyes. Don was standing at the window, staring out at the view. He waited for Don to move, but Don seemed to be frozen into a silhouette against the glass. Sheldon rose and went over to him.
"It's nearly midnight, " Don said as he drew near. "I'd better get out of here."
"Or you could stay and let me continue to make you crazy…" Sheldon suggested mildly. Don turned and glanced at him over his shoulder. "…But in a more productive way."
"Productive?" Don replied. "This I have to see."
Sheldon gestured with his head and led Don to the bedroom, forgetting about his tea, his previous anger and anything else that had come before. As soon as Don crossed the threshold of the bedroom, Sheldon pulled him into his arms. He wasn't about to excuse Don for his behavior, but at the moment nothing else mattered. They could argue later.
Now was the time for another, more important type of communication.
Derek opened his eyes and looked at the clock. It was 3:14 a.m. He swore under his breath and started to rise, but Spencer held his arm.
"Earlier, when I asked if you and Hawkes had been lovers, your reply was 'no, not really.' What did you mean by that?"
Derek swore again and sat up.
"I knew you weren't going to let that pass." He reached for his watch and put it on, stalling for as long as he could.
"So?" Spencer prompted, sitting up to watch as Derek began to dress.
"The night of that incident," Derek said as he bent to pick up his shirt. "He never showed it while he was being held at knife point, but he was badly shaken."
"I'm not surprised," Spencer replied.
"Sheldon went to the doctor's lounge and had a small melt down," Derek continued. He sat on the edge of his bed and picked up a shoe. "I found him there, having a small implosion. He said he'd been relieved of duty for the evening, but he couldn't quite pull himself together. I offered to help."
"So you took him home…"
"I stayed with him and talked him down a bit until he was able to pull it together. Then I drove him back to his place. I think by that point we both knew that whatever we'd been moving toward wasn't going to happen, but there we were at his place, both of us a little wired. It was our only chance…"
Derek dropped the shoe and ran his hand over his face.
"I started something I couldn't finish. I wanted to; he was willing…"
"Are you talking about performance issues?" Spencer asked with his usual candor. Derek chuckled and shook his head.
"No, Spence, not performance issues. I realized, just as we began to get busy, that some desperate, furtive grope in the dark wasn't what I wanted. He didn't, either. So we laughed about it and decided to stop things before they went any farther. I went home and caught a few hours of sleep, not knowing that I'd never get another chance to do things right."
"Why didn't you seek him out after the case was over? It would have certainly been less risky then. It probably wouldn't be too risky now."
"You know, genius, you ask too many questions," Derek said, slipping on his shoe. He leaned across the bed to kiss Spencer before he rose and left. Spencer laid back against the pillows, thinking about what he'd just learned.
"You shouldn't let Stella get to you," Sheldon said, entwining his fingers with Don's and studying the result.
"She likes to push my buttons," Don admitted. "She's the one who pointed out that you two were at Sullivan's in the first place."
"And you play right into her hands every time."
"I know," Don replied with a mild groan. Sheldon smiled and rolled over, shifting slightly so that he was on top of his lover.
"Given the ease with which she can manipulate you into going nuts, I'm surprised she hasn't figured things out yet."
"That's because you manage to keep a lid on things, Doc. I've got to try to be more like you."
"That would really make her suspicious," Sheldon replied, laughing. "Besides, I like watching you get all hot and bothered."
"Enjoy that, do you?" Don asked, teasingly.
"I would have thought you'd noticed that sometime during the past year and a half, Donnie."
"Maybe, I've been too busy focusing on other things," he said, reversing their positions.
"Like other men?"
"Shush," Don whispered as he leaned in to kiss Sheldon deeply, absently reaching out with one hand to turn off the light.
End Part 2
Onto Part 3