Black Tie Affair
"Why the hell did I make this a black tie affair?" complained Mac as he stood in front of the mirror, battling with the length of black silk.
Yet, as quickly as the question was asked, he knew the answer. It was not just about Stellaís birthday, although that had been the general excuse. No, the evening was for all of them, as a kind of team-rebuilding exercise. God alone knew they needed it! The last six months had been hell for all of them, so many pressures, so many, many things seeming to pull them in six different directions at once. The work load had been relentless, one case overlapping another, lab tests and case notes and interviews piling up, and nobody willing to stop and invent the 48 hour day. And then there was the personal stuff - Danny and the whole Sassone crap, Aidenís murder, Frank and Stella... Factor in the increasing administrative workload that kept Mac at his desk long after his shift had ended, and the whole team had been stretched thin as early morning mist. Nobody had been immune to the nightmare: not Hawkes, who had attended a scene and found himself surrounded by an angry mob that had pelted him with stones as he tried to do his job. Or Lindsay, who had become the victim of a stalker after one of the paramedics on a case she had been working took an unhealthy interest in her.
Or Don, called to a murder scene where a woman had slaughtered her three young daughters, before taking her own life.
Glancing in the mirror, he met the blue eyes of the young detective. They were clear and untroubled now, but Mac could recall arriving at the scene to find him leaning against the wall outside the womanís apartment, his face white with shock, his eyes red-rimmed from holding back tears of anger and despair. "They were babies, Mac," he had whispered, voice cracking under the onslaught of emotions. "Just little babies."
Looking back, that case had touched them all deeply. They had searched, in vain, for a motive, for some fact - however small - that might explain why a previously perfectly sane woman had turned on the children everyone said she adored, before taking her own life. In the end they were left with a collection of theories from doctors and profilers, any of which could be right, but no real answers.
The man in the mirror smiled at him over the rim of a champagne flute and the breath of a soft, affectionate laugh brushed Macís cheek.
"Six-forty five, Mac. You ready to admit defeat yet?" Flack asked.
Mac sighed. "Apparently, I don't have an option," he said, turning to face Don. Without the slight distortion of the mirror, the detectiveís eyes appeared even bluer and lit with a warmth that made Mac catch his breath.
"You set the dress code for tonight," Don reminded him softly. His gaze slid a quick, assessing look from the top of Macís recently clipped hair to the toes of his well-polished shoes, and Mac could almost hear the unspoken //and Iím glad you did..// that hung on the end of the spoken words. Or was that just a mirror of his own reaction to seeing Don Flack in a tux?
With a shake of his head, Flack told him to "Turn around, Mac."
"What?" So eloquent, Detective Taylor...
"I said...." Don made a little twirling gesture with his index finger in the air above Macís head, "Turn around."
Mac obeyed without question, and he found that he had to hold himself almost to attention to stop the shiver of anticipation that started through him as Don moved in close behind, reaching around him with both hands. He could feel the taller manís warmth, smell the rich, spicy scent of expensive cologne - a single manís indulgence - and it was all he could do to stop himself from leaning back and resting his head against the strong shoulder.
"Relax, Mac!" Breathy laughter ghosted over his cheek once again. "Iím not gonna strangle you."
Don draped the black tie around Macís neck then leaned closer still as he pulled the ends straight and began to form them into a knot. Now and then, as he worked, his fingers would brush lightly against Macís chin, and each time Macís jaw clenched tighter, until he thought it would crack with the pressure. To have him so close, so relaxed, so - available. All Mac would have to do was turn his head, or capture one of those skilful hands - anything that would seal the connection between them, but he had waited for so long, and the longer he waited the more difficult it was becoming. These last few months it seemed they had reached an understanding of sorts, an undefined empathy: now they had drawn the line, and the time had come to either cross it or turn away. Mac wanted to cross it - a part of him needed to cross it - but he needed to know that Don would be there beside him.
A few more deft movements of those competent hands, and "There. What do you think?" Don grinned.
As he spoke, he let his hands drop to Mac's shoulders, letting them rest there while he gazed at Macís reflection in the mirror.
Mac cleared his throat. "Where did you learn to do that?"
A shrug. "My mom taught me. She said a man shouldnít have to rely on a woman to do it for him, the way my dad always did."
Memories rose up and spilled over in Macís head: memories of Claire always making sure he looked his best, be it in a suit or his dress blues. She would tease him gently, lovingly, and ask how someone with hands so skilled in performing delicate tasks in the lab had never been able to master the art of tying a bow tie. He would tell her that it was really just a ruse, so that he could watch her face while she concentrated on the task and then reward her with a kiss when it was done.
Suddenly, a part of him wanted to reward Don in the same way. He only wished he could be certain the results might be as favourable.
The grip on his shoulders tightened and a note of concern crept into Donís voice.
"Sorry. I was just... Remembering."
With perfect insight that was frighteningly accurate, Don asked softly "Claire?"
"Yeah." Mac cleared his throat, trying to push the emotions back down. "Memories - creep up on me now and then."
Don nodded at his reflection. "Can understand that." He gave Macís shoulders another squeeze, his thumbs lightly grazing the back of Macís neck, sending a shiver through him that had nothing to do with ghosts or bad memories. His eyes slid shut, and now he did lean back, letting Donís taller frame support him as he gave himself over to the tenuous connection between them. Don said nothing, but moved his hands again, letting them linger against the sides of Macís neck, the backs of his fingers rubbing back and forth along Macís jaw line in a gentle caress that was doing wonderful things to Macís equilibrium..
He forced himself to open his eyes, his own meeting the shocking blue gaze of the man in the mirror, seeing the desire there, the bone deep, raw need. It was gone in an instant as Don quickly replaced the shutters, but it was too late, Mac had seen all that he needed to see.
Reaching up, he captured Donís hand and, moving slowly so as not to spook him, drew it to his lips, pressing a kiss into the hollow of his palm. This time the sigh that slipped from Donís lips was ragged, as if he was fighting to keep it in. Angling his head, he brushed his own mouth lightly over Macís neck, in the next moment turning the kiss into a nip to the soft skin behind Macís ear. It was playful, not particularly hard, but the sensation shot straight to Macís groin. At the same time it was too much, and yet not enough, and he turned his head, inviting closer contact, was rewarded when Don wrapped his free arm around him and pulled him back, his erection lining up very nicely, thank you, with the cleft of Macís ass, while he continued to alternately nip and lick at that sensitive spot, driving Mac insane.
A moan of appreciation rumbling deep in his throat, Mac tugged on Donís hand, pulling it down and holding it hard over his own thickening shaft.
"God, Mac.... That feels so good..." Don growled, squeezing Macís hardness, working it through the expensive cloth.
Mac was so close. It had been so long since he had felt like this, since he had trusted anyone enough to do this, and it would be so easy to let Don finish it right here, right now. All he had to do was open his pants, let Don touch him, wrap one of those big hands around him and stroke him... Wouldn't take much and he would be spilling himself, hot and sticky, over those long fingers...
"Fuck..." he whispered.
Cool air on his damp skin as Don drew back. "Mac?"
"We have to stop this."
"Donít wanna stop...."
"Yes..." Mac tugged on Donís hand and tried to step away, out of the embrace that he truly never wanted to leave. "Don..."
"Wanna fuck you, Mac..." Hot and rasping in his ear.
"And you will - but not now." Hurried, breathless, knowing he was almost too close to the edge to pull back. "You have to let me go, Don..." A desperate plea that went unheard until - "DON!"
Somehow Mac disentangled himself, stepped away, feeling cold and lost and empty, a direct contrast to the heat that seemed to roll off him in waves, to the fever that had turned Donís eyes from light blue to almost violet. Violet already bright with moisture as the lust-driven adrenaline high peaked and he began to crash.
"Iím sorry... Mac?.. I didnít.... Ohshitfuckwhathaveidone?" He was shaking now, eyes wide and slipping out of focus as he stepped away, backing to the door, arms wrapping around his own body, defensive; distraught.
Macís voice held all of the command of the seasoned marine, crisp, clipped and meaningful, and, to his relief, Don obeyed. At least, he stopped trying to escape. Instead he just stood in the middle of the floor, head down, looking guilty and desolate and broken. Anger washed over Mac and he mentally cursed himself for allowing things to go too far, too quickly. But what was done, was done: now it was up to him to put things right.
"Look at me Don..." He walked towards him, relieved when Don remained rooted to the spot. "Look at me..."
Not waiting for a response, he framed the pallid cheeks between his hands and gently turned Donís face up, forcing him to meet his gaze. "You have nothing - nothing - to be sorry for, Don. Everything that happened just now... I wanted it - all of it."
Don shook his head, tried hard to turn away, but Mac only held him tighter. "I wanted your hands on me, wanted you to touch me... I still do, Don." He smiled - reassuringly, he hoped - and grazed his thumbs over Donís lips. "I want it all."
From somewhere Don found enough voice to ask "Then why...?"
Mac answered the question with one of his own. "Think, Don - why did you come here tonight? Why are we both dressed like a couple of high class waiters?"
Don frowned, thinking: when he got it, he let out the breath he had been holding in an explosive sigh. "Stellaís birthday. The dinner..."
"Yeah." A glance at the clock on the mantle. "Limo will be here in five minutes," he said, then, heart hammering, added "What I want for us canít be done in five lousy minutes, Don. Not if we want to do it right." He leaned in, brushed his lips across Donís; ducking back before Don could deepen the contact into a kiss. "You do want to do it right," he teased, "donít you, Don?"
He knew the moment the crisis was over, the instant Don saw the sense of it and relaxed, tight lips softening into a smile that crinkled his eyes and brought the sunlight back to them. Soft laughter began to smooth out the angry places in his heart, and Mac knew then that it would all be okay.
"Yeah," Don breathed, leaning in to rest his forehead against Mac's. "Yes, I want to do this right." He pulled Mac's hands from his face, kissed his fingers, then wrapped his arms around the shorter manís shoulders, laying his cheek against Mac's. "Sorry I lost it there for a minute."
"You werenít alone there, lover," Mac told him, the endearment coming easily to his lips. With luck, by the end of the night they would have made it a reality. Don seemed to agree.
"íLoverí? I like that. I like it a lot, Mac. So long as itís what you want." The note of uncertainty was clearly audible in his voice, and Mac was grateful for the space Don was giving him. But he needed to keep things light for the moment, knowing neither of them would make it through the next few hours if they let the intense emotions take over again.
"Come back with me after the party and Iíll show you exactly what I want."
"That a promise, Mac?"
"Come back with me tonight and youíll find out."
Don opened his mouth to reply, but before he could Mac reached out and snagged the phone as it began to ring. He spoke briefly to the caller before hanging up.
"Carís here. You ready?"
Don scrubbed a hand over his face and straightened his tie. "How do I look?" he asked.
Mussed hair, flushed cheeks, red lips that begged to be kissed: Mac bit his lip, trying to quell the spontaneous grin. When he failed, he simply looked Don up and down, shrugged and said: "Fuckable."
Donís mouth was still hanging open as Mac brushed past him, heading for the door.
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