John and Bast were at the crime scene until after sundown on one of the longest days of the year. By the time they were driving back to headquarters it was fully dark. Bast drove, grim-faced at the wheel.
A tremor came over John. That scene got him where it hurt. He wasn't going to make it. He double-tapped the door pillar with his palm. "Pull over."
Without question Bast pulled off the road by a tall fence that surrounded a manufacturing facility. John was opening the door before Bast even got the car to a complete stop.
A sudden wave of emotion overwhelmed John and he needed to cry -- not in front of Bast.
John walked, enraged, breathing hard. Keep it together, John. He swung his arms as if loosening up for a fight. Bast stayed inside the car. John turned his face up at the merciless stars. God. God. God. How were such things allowed to be?
Gravel and dry grasses crunched under his soles. He dried his face on the backs of his hands.
He walked back to the car and let himself in. Bast waited, patient as a statue, straight-armed, with his fists on the wheel. John didn't think he'd moved except to set his teeth on edge. Bast's soft lips were in a hard set. He glowered straight ahead, his gaze fixed a million miles down the road.
"I'm ready," John said, fishing for his seatbelt.
"I'm not," Bast said. He sat back, let his hands drop to his thighs, and exhaled. His eyes -- there was something hurt and desperate in them -- turned to John.
John wasn't sure who moved first after Bast unclicked his seatbelt.
John turned in his seat as both Bast's hands slipped behind his head to cradle it and draw him in to an open-mouth kiss. John closed his fists on Bast's jacket, kissing him back, fiercely. He needed to feel a heartbeat, heat, breath, and a human touch. He spied a glimmer that might have been tears on Bast's thick lashes. John got his hands inside Bast's jacket and ran his hands across Bast's chest.
In one motion Bast was out from under the steering wheel, out of his seat, and turning, lifting one long leg over the console to come down astride John's lap.
John tried to pull him closer as they kissed. It was difficult in the confines of the car. Bast was bent over, his head against the roof. John fumbled down at his side for the seat lever. Found it. The seat back fell back. Bast's weight fell forward on him. John's arms encircled him under Bast's jacket. Bast had no place to put his knees. And that brought John back to his senses. He pulled his arms back from around Bast's hard body and pushed. "Get off me."
Limber and smooth as a wraith, Bast was back in the driver's seat in a couple of racing heartbeats. John put his seat back up.
Mortified, John met Bast's gaze. Bast's dark eyes were opaque and unreadable.
John quickly looked away.
Awkwardness was a fat presence in the cabin, not just John's. Bast wasn't saying a word. The expected snotty, callus, careless barb didn't come. Bast had misplaced his giant ego somewhere.
And John. John had misplaced any crumb of sense he ever had.
Bast reached for his seatbelt. John pulled his own down, neither looking at the other. At least John wasn't looking, and he caught no head turns out of the corner of his eye from Bast. John fastened his belt as if it took all the concentration of brain surgery.
That did not just happen.
They drove the rest of the way in silence.