Title: Finding Father
By: Tiffany F
Pairing: Mac/Adam
Fandom: CSI: NY
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: **SPOILERS SEASON 5 EPISODE 15 THE PARTY'S OVER**
Disclaimer: Do not own, claim, and no money is made here.
Summary: After the case Mac is worried about Adam and goes to visit him at his apartment. They start talking and then events take a twist that not even Mac had expected. KINK in later chapters.

***

Mac had suspected that Adam was OCD on some level, but never thought that was the reason the young man's father bullied him. He wondered what the trigger was for Adam, but Mac wouldn't pry. He knew exactly how nervous the younger man was around him and really didn't want to make it any worse.

"Hey Stella, have you seen Adam?" Mac asked when he bumped into his friend in the hall.

"Yeah, he's gone for the day," Stella replied. "He really looked bad, Mac. He told me he was fine, but his eyes were telling me something else."

"Was he heading home?"

"I think so, why?"

"I wanted to tell him what a good job he did today," Mac said.

She smiled. "That's good, Mac, he doesn't hear that enough," Stella said. "See you tomorrow."

Mac chuckled to himself. There were days when he was convinced that Stella was on happy pills. It was a good idea though; Mac would just drop in and talk with Adam.
********************

When Adam got home he put his things away and flopped down on the sofa. The case that day had really taken a lot out of him and re-awoken some very painful memories memories that Adam really wanted to be able to forget forever. He covered his face with his hands and groaned softly, wondering how Danny and the others dealt with the cases once everything was done.

A knock at the door made Adam jump. He figured it was Stella coming to check on him to be sure he was really okay. There were days when it seemed like that woman could smell a lie. "Mac," he squeaked when he opened the door.

"You did a great job today, Adam," Mac said immediately, not wanting the young man to worry about why he was there. "But I'm a little worried about you. Can we talk?"

"Talk? Ah, sure, come in," Adam replied. "Do you want something to drink? Have you eaten? I was gonna order pizza, but if you want something else then we can..."

"Adam," Mac interrupted trying not to laugh, "we're not at work and I'm not here as your boss. I'm here as a concerned friend. Please, let's just talk for a minute, okay? Then we'll worry about dinner."

"I'm sorry, Mac, I don't know why I do that," Adam said as he sank onto the sofa. "I mean, I know why I do it, but I just can't help myself, you know?"

"It's because I make you nervous," Mac said. "Most likely because I'm about the same age as your father and you want to make sure I'm happy."

"How do you do it, Mac? How do you deal with seeing yourself in a suspect?"

"I normally go to the gym, jog or swim," Mac replied. "You need to find a way to deal with all the hard cases, not just the ones that you see yourself reflected in a suspect or a victim."

Adam shook his head and looked at his folded hands. "That could've been me in there today, Mac. That scared kid who thinks he's a freak because he has to do something or he just knows something bad is going to happen," he said. "Only I was lucky enough to have a teacher recognize what was happening to me and step in. She told me more or less what I told Jake today. Do you think maybe if he had known then things would've turned out differently?"

"I don't know, Adam," Mac said. "But you did make a difference with Jake today. You told him that he's not alone and he's not sick he's not a freak. You reached out to help him."

"But it didn't change anything!" Adam protested. He could feel tears welling up in his eyes and blinked them back. "He still has to live with the knowledge that he killed his father. And he's still going to be processed through the system. He won't survive it, Mac. It'll kill him."

Mac scooted across and pulled the shaking young man into a hug. "I don't know if there's anything I can do, Adam," he said. "But I'll make some calls and see if we can get his sentence served at one of the children's' homes rather than one of the secure facilities. All we can do is try."

Rather than pulling away, Adam pressed closer and let the tears he'd been fighting since he'd processed his iPod fall. Mac just held him and rubbed his back until Adam was able to calm down again. "Sorry, Mac."

"Don't be sorry," Mac said. He brought his hand up and rubbed the back of Adam's neck. "We all need to let go."

"I just, I never really had anyone do that before," Adam said. He really didn't want to sit up, but knew that he probably should. It seemed wrong to almost be sitting in his male boss' lap. And he would move just as soon as Mac's grip loosened a little.

"Adam, how many people have you let this close to you?" Mac asked softly.

"Not that many," Adam replied. "But you don't scare me now because I know you won't hurt me."

"But I scare you at work," Mac said.

"You're different at work," Adam whispered.

"Intensity can be a good thing," Mac smiled. "It let's you focus on the evidence in front of you."

"It also let's you scare your lab techs," Adam said softly. "Every day I go to work and I tell myself to be strong and do my job. And the resolve usually lasts until you storm into my lab with a folder in your hand. Then I want to just crawl under a rock and hide until my shift is over."

Mac pulled back just enough so he could look into Adam's eyes. "And yet you came out of the paper airplane case with flying colors."

"Are you teasing me?"

"A little," Mac admitted. "Adam, at the end of the day remember this; the crime lab couldn't function as well as it does without you there. No matter how much I may yell, I need you there."

"Really?" Adam lit up.

"I promise." Mac knew it was a bad idea, but he couldn't help himself. He leaned forward and softly took Adam's mouth with his own.

Adam froze as lips touched his and just started to tease. He couldn't believe that Mac was kissing him and didn't know what to do.

"Hey, you can kick me out of here any time you want," Mac said softly. "Nothing that happens here will change anything at the lab, you know."

"My, my male boss just kissed me," Adam said. "How does this not change things?"

Mac kept a hold of the younger man so Adam couldn't run and started rubbing his back again. "Adam, I don't know where my feelings for you changed, but they have and I want to take care of you and love you even if it just as a friend."

"And, um, if I want more."

"I'll give you whatever you want," Mac said. "And that includes space to think if you want it."

Adam swallowed hard and hid his face against Mac's neck. "Will you stay and hold me after a nightmare?"

"Do you have nightmares often?"

"Um, just after something triggers a memory."

"I'll stay and hold you all night," Mac said softly. "Maybe the demons haunting you will think twice about taking on a Marine."

Adam's laugh tickled Mac's neck and the older man smiled. He had a feeling that Adam really needed someone to care enough about him to look past all the walls the young man had up to see the real Adam Ross and then love what was there.

"Do you still want pizza for supper, Adam?" Mac asked.

"Yeah," Adam replied. He pushed back and looked at Mac. "Is it wrong to want to cuddle?"

"Of course not," Mac said. He leaned up and kissed Adam's nose. "Go order supper and I'll show you how it's possible to eat and cuddle at the same time."

***

Once the pizza arrived, Mac helped Adam set out plates and got their drinks out to the living room. He'd told Adam that they could do whatever he normally did, not wanting to upset the younger man any more than he had been during the case. And Mac could tell that Adam was still jumpy and was trying to figure some things out for himself. "Come here, Adam," Mac finally said from the sofa. "You need to eat."

"I know, it's just that, I don't know, it's like I can't turn off my mind right now," Adam said as he sank down onto the sofa next to Mac. "I keep seeing Jake in the interrogation room, the look in his eyes and I just know that could have been me."

Mac pulled Adam in against him and wrapped the younger man into a hug. "It could have been," he agreed softly. "But it wasn't. You helped out the only way you knew how, you opened yourself up to some very painful memories in order to help someone else and that shows more courage than a lot of men ever do. You can't go back on that now and starve yourself to death."

"I don't think missing one meal will could as starving myself," Adam said with a small smile.

"I'd rather not risk it." Mac kissed Adam's cheek and pulled away to get their plates ready. "What did you want to watch while we're eating?"

"Oh, anything, I'm not picky."

"Adam."

"Seriously. I normally just flip through channels until I find something that catches my eye," Adam said with a small smile. He turned on the TV and started searching through the cable channels. "Tell me if you see something you like."

Mac leaned back with their plates in hand, set one in Adam's lap and took a bite of his pizza. Once Adam had settled on some show about Hitler and settled back, Mac wrapped an arm around him and pulled him in close. "Um, Mac, how do I eat when you have my right arm captured?"

"Like this." Mac picked up a slice of pizza from Adam's plate and held it to the younger man's mouth. "Open up."

Adam flushed red but did as Mac said. As he chewed he let his mind start wandering over where this new relationship with his boss could go, what he was looking for, and what, exactly, he wanted from it. The only thing he was sure of was that he wanted to be protected and taken care of. He liked the feeling of Mac's arms around him, comforting him, and wanted to feel safe. But what else did he want. Part of Adam told him that he was missing one fairly large part of what was possible in this budding relationship with Mac, but he wasn't sure what it was; at least, not yet. He knew that Mac wouldn't have done anything to him, made a move like he did, if he didn't feel something for him which made Adam feel more special than he'd felt in a long time.

The slice of pizza bumping his lips jarred Adam from his thoughts. "Sorry, Mac, I was thinking."

"You're not having second thoughts about this, are you?" Mac asked. He leaned over and licked some sauce off of Adam's chin.

"No, I wouldn't ever toy with you like that," Adam said quickly. "I was just trying to figure out what else I wanted. I know I want to be taken care of, protected and loved, but it's like there's something else hanging just outside my reach and I can't figure it out."

Mac had, he knew more or less exactly what the younger man was looking for, but didn't want to bring it up before Adam was able to work it out on his own. "Adam, let me tell you this much," he said. "No matter what happens between us, what you want or need, nothing will drive me away from you. The only way things will ever end between us is if you tell me point blank to get out of your life. I don't want you to be embarrassed about anything you want or need. You just need to tell me and I'll do my best to help you with it."

"Okay," Adam said. He took another bite of pizza and glanced at the pop on the table. "Can I grab my drink?"

Mac grinned and let go, knowing that Adam would be able to hold the can in his left hand. Adam moved as quickly as he could so he wouldn't be out of the warm arms for long. He'd never been held like Mac had him before, and he felt so safe that he really didn't want to be away from it for long. He wondered if that was a dangerous thing to be thinking. It wasn't like Mac would be able to follow him around at the lab, holding him all the time.

"Eat," Mac said softly, holding up the second pizza slice, making Adam wonder when he'd finished the first.

"What's going to happen at the lab?" Adam asked.

"We'll continue to do things the way we always have," Mac replied. "There's a rule that I can't date any of my CSIs, but with you primarily as lab staff, that rule doesn't apply. I doubt the higher ups will be too thrilled if they find out, but there's nothing they can do."

"That doesn't mean we can advertise it," Adam said. "Think about what the reaction would be."

"The team wouldn't care," Mac said. "There would be those who objected and I know that things would be hard on you. This is our secret until you make the choice to tell people. But I promise that Danny, Flack and Stella will figure out that there's something go on. You know that."

"Yeah, and I wouldn't mind with them," Adam said. He turned his head towards Mac. "Um, could you."

Mac smiled at his young lover and leaned over, kissing him gently. He intentionally kept it light because they still had food and he didn't want to make a mess. "I'll show you more tonight," he whispered against Adam's lips. "We need to behave out here so we don't spill."

"Right," Adam said. He knew he should feel silly being treated like a kid, but it made him feel safe and loved. And he really didn't want to spend the evening cleaning up tomato sauce. The slice of pizza bumped his mouth again and he bit into it.

"Adam, I need you to tell me the truth about something," Mac said. "I know you've told us that your father was a bully, but how bad was it?"

"Bad," Adam said. "Mac, I'm already going to have nightmares tonight because of the case. Can I tell you about this another time? Please?"

"I won't pry, but I need to know so I can help you," Mac said. "I know you've been keeping things bottled up inside for a long time, Adam, and just talking about them will help you. Not only to heal, but with the nightmares as well. I learned that first hand."

"The towers?"

"And Stella. She wouldn't leave me alone once she found out that I was having trouble sleeping and was wandering the city all night," Mac said. "She forced me to sit down and talk with her after a while, and it helped. It hurt like hell, but it helped."

"She's a force to be reckoned with at times, isn't she?" Adam asked.

"She is, and that's one reason I wanted to warn you about her," Mac replied. "She'll probably be the first one to figure out that we're together. She'll talk to us separately, you to make sure you're okay and me to be sure I know what I'm doing. Then she'll warn me not to hurt you and that will be that."

"I can live with that," Adam said. He moved to put his pop and both their empty plates on the table and curled up next to Mac again. Mac smiled softly and tugged until Adam was in his lap. "Uh, Mac?"

"It's easier," Mac said. He let Adam get settled and then wrapped his arms around his young lover. "Adam, what are your current boundaries in the bedroom?"

"I don't have any because I've never really had anyone else there," Adam said.

"Then I'll move slow, but you have to promise you'll tell me if anything makes you feel uncomfortable," Mac said. "For tonight I think I just want to get you as relaxed as possible so you can sleep without too much fear. I'll be right there with you incase of a nightmare."

"What do you want to do?"

Mac smiled and kissed Adam's neck softly. "I'd like to start learning your body," he said. "But if you'd rather stay dressed then I think that we can work something out. You'll find that I'm fairly creative in the bedroom. And that's a good thing."

"I guess I've just never had anyone willing to see the real me before," Adam said. He shifted around a little until he was straddling Mac's hips and leaned in for another kiss. "Thank you for being willing to do that, Mac."

"Adam, I've always known that you were special," Mac said. He kissed Adam again, letting his tongue slide out for the first time. He pulled back when he felt Adam freeze. "It's okay."

"You just took me by surprise," Adam said. He leaned back in and kissed Mac again. He focused more on the sensations running through his body than the physical things that Mac was doing to his mouth. He could feel that his body was starting to respond as well. "Mac."

"Are you ready to try and go to bed, or do you want to stay out here for a while longer?" Mac asked.

"We need to clean up," Adam said.

"Let's do that, then," Mac said. He kissed Adam again softly. "Then I want you to take a shower and go to bed. I'll be there waiting for you."

***

Adam stood in his shower, hot water cascading over his skin, and tried to figure out why he wasn't having a panic attack. Mac Taylor was in his bed. Mac Taylor was in his bed. Mac Taylor was in his bed. Mac Taylor was in his bed. It didn't seem to matter how he accented the sentence, it just either didn't seem real or he was just ready to accept it. Adam couldn't remember the last time he'd felt as safe and warm as he had when Mac was holding him. He was puzzled by the fact that Mac seemed to know what Adam wanted, even when he, himself, didn't. Well, other than to be safe and loved. Those were two things Adam never really remembered feeling, and he desperately wanted to. He wanted more of whatever Mac was offering. And, oddly enough, he trusted Mac not to hurt him, not to leave when things got tough. He hadn't known that he knew his boss that well, but maybe he did.

He turned off the water, dried off and changed into a pair of boxers and an older t-shirt. Adam normally slept in less, but he normally wasn't sharing his bed with another man. When even that thought didn't cause any nervous flutterings in his stomach, Adam shrugged and walked into the bedroom.

Mac had stripped down to his boxers and undershirt before sliding into Adam's bed. It wasn't much larger than a full, only just big enough for two people who didn't mind being very close. Mac knew that Adam only knew that he wanted someone to love him and make him feel safe. He couldn't help but wonder if, or even when, Adam would realize that the other thing he was looking for was a father figure. That Mac could be both was a bonus, but he also knew a few people who'd been so ashamed by their needs that they locked it away until it almost killed them. He really didn't think Adam was one of them, but Mac couldn't completely bury the thought that Adam would be really embarrassed or ashamed by called Mac "dad" or "daddy" in the bedroom.

When Mac started to explore the sexual subculture - for both personal and professional reasons - he encountered some who equated the daddy-kink with incest or repressed incestual desires. Mac had known then, and knew now, that with very, very few exceptions, people who searched for a daddy were those who yearned for someone to bring safety, security and stability to their life. And Adam fit into that group perfectly. Mac knew that once Adam felt comfortable in his skin, he'd be an even more remarkable man than he already was.

The real, not trick, but issue lay with the fact that Mac wanted Adam to realize what he was desiring on his own. Mac knew that he could simply tell Adam, but it would mean so much more to the younger man if he came to the feelings and desires himself.

He glanced over and saw Adam standing in the doorway. "Nervous?"

"A little," Adam replied. "I've never shared a bed before."

"Just pretend I'm a big pillow," Mac smiled holding out a hand. "One that can wrap around you and keep all your nightmares away."

"No one is that good, Mac," Adam said. He finally crawled under the covers and tried to get settled. "Um, so what happens now?"

"Well, we'll start with you telling me what you want for breakfast," Mac smiled. He propped his head up on a hand and looked down at his new lover. "And then I'll see if I can get you relaxed enough to sleep."

"I don't eat breakfast."

"Why not?"

"Because I was forced to as a child and I never wanted to, so I just eat lunch and dinner whenever I get a chance."

"Adam, that's really not healthy," Mac said. He shifted so he could run a hand through Adam's hair. "I'm not going to force you to eat, but would you be willing to try and nibble some toast tomorrow? If it doesn't settle, I won't push the issue again."

"I guess I can try," Adam said. "Do you really think you'll wake up before my alarm goes off?"

"Almost positive," Mac smiled. "My internal clock is a little warped, so I'm always awake early."

Adam sighed. "I wish I could do that, but I always seem to sleep through my alarm."

"I'll wake you up tomorrow, if you do," Mac said. "Although, depending on how much you actually sleep tonight, we might take the day off tomorrow. It wouldn't be good to have two half-asleep CSIs in the lab."

"Mac, you kinda sound like I always imagined a father would," Adam said. "The kind of dad I wished I could have, and knew I never would."

It was time for Mac to tread carefully. "Is that such a bad thing, Adam? I love you and want to take care of you however I can," he said.

"Nah, I already knew that's how you are," Adam said. "I've seen you at work. Do you know that some of the lab staff call you and Stella the parents of the crime lab?"

"I'd pay to see Stella's reaction to being called mom," Mac grinned. "I guess I don't mind being the dad, not if I can help the people I care about."

Adam laughed. "I'll remember to tell them that," he said. "Mac, I really don't feel sleepy."

"What would you have done if I hadn't come over?"

"Probably sat in front of the TV all night and tried not to think about the case," Adam replied. "And then drunk a ton of coffee before going to work so I could stay awake for my shift."

"Well, let me see if I can at least help you relax, if not sleep," Mac said. "I still want you to tell me if you don't like or are uncomfortable with anything I do."

"Okay, but you've been good so far."

"Good." Mac pushed up and moved over until he could kiss Adam without pinning the younger man. He wasn't really sure how Adam would react to the weight above him, or the feel of Mac's erection against him and really didn't want to freak Adam out.

Adam's mouth opened the first time Mac's tongue slid over it and Mac slowly took the invitation to slip inside. He spent time on Adam's lips, tracing and wetting them before moving forward and slipping his tongue over Adam's own.

It was an unusual sensation, but Adam's eyes fluttered closed and he could feel his body start to tingle as Mac's tongue slowly explored his mouth. Adam had a feeling that he was supposed to be doing something other than hanging onto Mac, but he really didn't know what. Mac's tongue nudged his and Adam got the idea, but couldn't help the awkward flutters that shot through him as he chased Mac's tongue with his own.

"No one's perfect at first, Adam," Mac whispered as he pressed kisses along Adam's jaw and neck. "But I plan to give you lots and lots of practice."

Adam shivered, both at the tone of voice and the fact that Mac's hand slipped under his shirt and was resting over his heart. "What now?"

"A little tactile recon," Mac smiled. "I think we'll keep our clothes on tonight, even if it means we'll both have to change before we go to sleep."

"Is there any way to keep things clean?"

That statement alone told Mac, more than any statement Adam had uttered all night, exactly how little experience the younger man actually had. "Moderately," he said with a kiss to Adam's neck. "I'll be right back."

Adam couldn't help but swallow nervously when he saw exactly how excited Mac was about the events in the bed - and all they'd done was kissed. He trusted Mac and the other man had said they'd keep their clothes on, but Adam just didn't know how it would work. Surely something was going to have to come off at some point.

"Here we go." Mac tossed a couple of towels on the bed and climbed back in. He caught the look on Adam's face and rested a calming hand on Adam's stomach. "Hey, I meant it when I said tell me if you want to stop."

"It's just that, well, I mean, I'm not and you're so..." Adam could feel himself blushing.

Mac stretched out and pulled Adam into a hug. "Adam, just because I've gotten hard from kissing you doesn't mean we have to do anything more," he said. "An erection will go away on it's own, in spite of what some men seem to think. We've obviously hit the edge of your safety zone for the night, so let's just do what we've been doing, or talk until you fall asleep."

"What about you?" Adam asked.

"I'll be close behind you, I promise," Mac replied. "But I also need to stay on nightmare guard."

"You're not planning to stay up all night, are you?"

"Shhh, of course not," Mac soothed. "I'm a light sleeper, so I'll wake up if you start having a nightmare and I'll wake you. But I'm thinking that once you're asleep, you'll stay asleep because you're not alone, and that can help more than you know."

"Do you ever wish you weren't an expert on nightmares, Mac?" Adam asked. He shifted around until his head was pillowed on Mac's chest and he could hear the older man's heartbeat.

"Of course I do, Adam, but I also wouldn't change anything about my past."

"Not even the Towers?"

"Claire shouldn't have died; none of them should," Mac said. "But I also know that Claire is happy that I've moved on. She would have loved you, Adam. Claire would've adopted you on the spot."

"Then that would've made you my dad."

"I'd have been honored to be your dad, Adam," Mac said. He kissed the top of Adam's head. "As honored as I am to be your lover."

"Even though we're moving so slowly?"

"Even then, because I know how special you are." Mac shifted an arm down around his lover's waist. "Try and sleep, Adam; tomorrow is another day."

"Yeah, I know."

***

Adam didn't want to wake up. He was warm and comfortable, but he could hear someone calling his name. "Nmghsh."

"Is that even a word?" Mac asked with a smile. "Come on, Adam, it's time to wake up and get ready for work."

"Time is it?"

"Around seven," Mac said. "I wanted to give us plenty of time to get ready and get to the lab. How do you feel?"

"Sleepy."

"You slept through the night with no nightmares, Adam. I wonder if maybe you overslept a little and that's why you're still sleepy."

Adam blinked and opened his eyes. He was using Mac's chest as a pillow and could feel one strong arm around him. "I never sleep through the night," he said.

"You did," Mac said. "Come on, up; you go shower and get ready and I'll make coffee and breakfast for myself. Are you still up to trying a piece of toast for me?"

"Yeah, but I don't think I'll be able to finish it," Adam said. He rolled onto his back and stretched. "Did I move at all?"

"Not that I felt," Mac said. "I'll see you in the kitchen, okay?" He kissed the tip of Adam's nose and slipped out of the bed.

Adam lay there for a minute longer, thinking. He couldn't remember the last time he'd slept so soundly that he didn't move around, didn't wake up at least once. Maybe Mac had been right, having him in the bed was enough to make Adam feel safe enough to sleep. With another yawn, Adam got up and headed into the shower. He was really too sleepy to think about anything overly complicated, but it wasn't hard to work out that Mac made him feel safe, and that was something Adam never really had. The only thing bothering him was the tone Mac kept using with him. It didn't sound like something Adam ever thought a lover would sound like. It sounded more like a parent coaxing their child to do something.

He froze and suddenly felt more awake than the shower could have made him. Adam had read about people who liked sex with older people, some sort of kink that involved parent play or something like that. There was no way that was what he wanted, was it? He made himself breathe through what felt like the start of a panic attack. He didn't know anything about what it entailed, nothing other than rumors that floated through the lab on occasion, and he knew that trusting rumors in the lab was one of the stupidest things he could do. Adam finished up his shower and went to get dressed. He could smell food cooking and, while it didn't turn his stomach, it didn't exactly make him feel hungry either.

"You okay?" Mac asked when Adam joined him in the kitchen.

"Yeah, I uh, I just realized something and it threw me for a bit of a loop," Adam replied. He moved over and wrapped his arms around Mac from behind. "Just something I need to research on my own and I'll let you know if I need anything."

"Okay, just let me know what you need," Mac said. "Are you going to be okay to work today?"

"Yeah, no problem," Adam said. He knew he could use the work computer to research sexual kinks and no one would think twice if they caught him at it. "Do you always eat oatmeal for breakfast? I didn't even know I had oatmeal."

"I found it in the back of the fridge," Mac said. "It hadn't turned green or started rotting, so it's still good. I made you toast with a little honey on it. Give it a try?"

"Sure," Adam said. He sat down at the small table and waited for Mac to join him with his own breakfast. "I didn't know I had bread and honey either."

Mac grinned. "I think tonight we need to take a firm inventory of your kitchen and make up a shopping list," he said. "I was over at Danny's place a couple of weeks ago and he had pickles that were trying to wage war on the lunch meat."

"How does that even happen?" Adam picked up the toast and took a bite, focusing on the story rather than what he was doing.

"I don't know. Danny said that the lunch meat deserved whatever the pickles wanted to throw at it," Mac said. "Something about it turning on the mustard and relish. I threw everything out and gave him money to get replacements. The last thing I want to do is try and explain to Stella, let alone anyone higher up in the department that one of my CSIs is sick because he ate the remains of a food war in his fridge."

"I've never seen Danny eat anything from home, it seems like he always has take-out or leftovers," Adam said. "Maybe he's running experiments at home and we just didn't realize it until now."

"That's possible, but at the same time, the meat wasn't spoiled or moldy, so I don't know what he meant by turned," Mac said. He finished his oatmeal and leaned back with his coffee mug in his hands. "How's your stomach?"

"Huh?" Adam looked at the plate in front of him. "When did I finish the toast?"

"Couple minutes ago," Mac said. "Adam, I want you to promise me something, okay?"

"Okay?"

"Whatever your research is, whatever you're thinking about, remember what I told you last night. Nothing you could want from me is going to drive me away from this." Mac stood to put his dishes in the sink. "I'm here for as long as you want me. Can you clean up while I shower and we'll head to work."

"Yeah, I can do that," Adam said. He caught Mac's hand and kissed him softly. "I'm still not sure what I want, Mac. I like having you here. You make me feel safe."

"Whatever you need, Adam, I'm right here," Mac said.

***

He didn't want to admit it, but Adam was frustrated. Every place he tried to look for information on sexual kinks with the subcategory of the parent or daddy kink took him to BDSM pages, and he knew that wasn't what he wanted. Adam didn't want to be controlled, he didn't want pain, he didn't want contracts or anything apart from a loving relationship. He felt like, deep down, there was something more to it all then what he was seeing on the internet.

"Hey, Adam, what's up?"

"Oh, hey Danny, I'm just trying to do some research, but I guess I don't have the right search terms," Adam replied, leaning back in his chair.

"Oh yeah, whatcha looking for, maybe I can help you out?" Danny sat down next to him and looked at the monitor. "You got a case you ain't telling us about, Adam?"

Adam could feel the blush starting and ducked his head. "Promise to keep it a secret?"

"Cross my heart," Danny said. "Come on, Adam, you know I ain't gonna tell no one nothing unless you tell me I can. What's going on?"

"I met someone, Danny, and the way they've been treating me made me think of a parent, what a parent could really be like, and that got me thinking that maybe that's what I wanted from the relationship," Adam said. "So I figured I'd search from here because no one would think twice about a search like this, but everything I'm finding is scaring me."

Danny nodded and leaned back in his chair. "I got a friend from school, he went through the same thing years ago. His partner ain't much older than him, but they fell into this dynamic and it just worked for them, y'know," he said. "Guy's more balanced now than I've ever seen him and they don't do anything that would technically fall into a BDSM relationship. I think most people think that sexual kinks fall into the dark areas of pain and humiliation, and that's a bogus attitude. People should be free to like what they like and not be judged because of it. This person of yours, they ain't gonna hurt you, right?"

"I don't think so, I mean, I trust them," Adam said. "Hell, Danny, you know how hard it is for me to sleep, right? Last night, I thought I'd be up until my body just shut down on me for a couple hours or I'd be living on coffee today. They stayed with me all night, just as my pillow, and I didn't wake up once. No nightmares, no fears, nothing. I was also able to eat breakfast for the first time without getting sick."

"Sounds to me like you want to keep that one," Danny grinned. "I'm guessing this is an older guy, yeah?"

"Yeah."

"No one 'round here cares," Danny said. "Besides, you know Mac, Stella and me would kill anyone who hurt you."

"I know," Adam said with a smile.

"Okay, so, you obviously like being held at night, so that's something to add to the positive side there." Danny picked up a piece of paper and drew a line down the center of it. "You're eating, that's another plus. What else?"

"He's not pressuring me," Adam said. "Last night, when he saw I wasn't comfortable with what he was doing, he stopped immediately and backed off. He says he'll still care for me no matter what I decide I want out of this relationship. He's stern, but he's nice about it. Does that make sense?"

Danny nodded and kept writing. "You ever decide you don't want this guy, you send him my way, yeah?" he grinned. "There ain't many men like this left in the world, Adam. You got lucky. So, you got any negatives you want to add on?"

"He's older," Adam said. "That's not a negative, but I'm worried it might remind me of my father."

"So we list that as a to be determined," Danny said. "You'll want to keep this list going for a couple of weeks, Adam. List out everything you can think of and then take it with you to talk with him. That way you both can see what's good and what isn't working for you."

"Do you think he'd be weirded out by all this?"

"I'd have to meet him to be able to tell you that," Danny pointed out. He handed Adam the paper. "But from what you're telling me, he seems to already have an idea that this is how things might be heading and he wants you to work it out on your own. Talking things out is never a bad thing, you know."

"Yeah, but it's also scary. What if I drive him off?"

"Do you really think that's gonna happen? He told you he'll care for you no matter what. Sounds to me like he's waiting for you to come talk with him."

"Guess I can try tonight. He's taking me shopping for food," Adam said.

"I repeat, you ever don't want him, send him my way," Danny grinned. "Let me know if you need to talk, yeah? My friend might even be willing to meet up with you and let you know what his life is like."

"Thanks, Danny."

"Yeah, any time." Danny patted Adam on the shoulder and headed back towards the trace lab. He paused outside Mac's office, debated for a minute and then went up and tapped on the door.

"What can I do for you, Danny?" Mac asked.

"You ever hurt Adam, you and me are gonna talk, Mac," Danny replied.

Mac bit his lip, trying not to laugh. "What gave it away?" he asked.

"You're taking him shopping for food. I don't know many guys that nice, Mac. He's got questions, but I think you know what he wants to talk about, don't you?"

"I have an idea, yes," Mac said. "Thanks for watching out for him, Danny. I really appreciate it."

"You know me, Mac. I watch my friends," Danny said. "You know Stella's gonna be after you too, yeah?"

"I'm actually waiting for her to figure it out. Don't give her any hints, Danny."

"You need a hobby or something," Danny said. "My lips are sealed."

***


"Adam, how would you feel about me cooking dinner for you at my place tonight?" Mac asked as they were walking out of the lab.

"Uhm, sure," Adam said. "I thought we were going shopping."

"We will, but I want to eat first," Mac said. "It'll also let me grab a few things if you'd like me to stay on nightmare guard again."

"I'd like that a lot, Mac, but I really don't want to put you out," Adam said. "If you have other plans or need to do something then I'm sure I'll be fine."

"Adam, hush," Mac smiled. "You're not putting me out at all. Come on, let's go get something to eat, let me pack a bag and we'll see about getting you some food."

He couldn't help it. Adam felt the warmth flow through him again when Mac started sounding less like a boyfriend would and more like a parent. He'd spent a little more time on the list that Danny told him it was a good idea to keep, but no matter how Adam tried, he couldn't find anything really negative about Mac. The man's focus, his dedication, his large heart and even him scaring Adam at the lab weren't bad things. They were just parts of what made the man someone Adam thought he'd be fully in love with before too much more time passed. He knew he needed to talk with Mac about what he was feeling, he just wasn't sure how to start the conversation. It would sound really weird to just out and ask Mac if he knew anything about the daddy kink.

"Come on in," Mac said. He tried not to smile when Adam blinked a few times. The younger man had been quiet for the trip to Mac's apartment and Mac hoped that meant Adam was thinking and not freaking out. "Go ahead and get yourself something to drink, I'm going to change out of my suit and then we can negotiate dinner."

"Okay." Adam wandered into the kitchen and wasn't surprised to find it was orderly and spotless. That was just how Mac was. He dug out a bottle of water and sat down at the table.

"So, Danny figured us out today," Mac said as he came back into the room wearing jeans and a Marine t-shirt.

"He did?"

"Yep. He poked his head in and told me if I hurt you then he and I would be talking," Mac grinned. "I'm impressed. I really thought that Stella would be the first one to work it out."

"I might have given him a hint or two," Adam said. "Danny caught me doing research on one of the lab computers today and was asking me questions. I guess talking about your virtues was enough to clue him in. I didn't mean to, but I felt better after talking with him."

"It's fine, Adam. He was totally fine with the idea, he just wanted to let me know that he knew and that he'll hurt me if I hurt you," Mac said. "What would you like for dinner?"

"Uhm, what have you got?" Adam asked.

"I can make mac and cheese, hamburgers, or just pasta," Mac replied. "I've got chicken, but it's an ice brick at the moment."

Adam laughed. "Hamburgers sound good," he said. "Anything I can do to help?"

"Yeah, go ahead and dig out the onions, pickles, lettuce and anything else you might want on your burger and wash the lettuce," Mac said. "I'll make us a salad to go along with these once I have the meat grilling."

"Okay." Adam pulled the various items out of the fridge and grabbed the buns and butter without being asked. "Mac, do you mind if I ask you something?"

"Of course not," Mac said. "What's on your mind?"

"It's well, it's complicated and I tried to do some research today, but I kept ending up on web pages and forums that just scared me," Adam said. "Do you know there are times you sound more like a father than a friend or a boyfriend?"

Mac tried not to smile and let on he'd know the whole time. "Does it make you uncomfortable, Adam?"

"No, not like that," Adam said. "It actually makes me feel really kinda warm and happy inside. You know my father was a bully so I never realized that having someone take care of me would make me feel so loved. So I thought that maybe this was what I'd been hearing about when people talked about having a daddy in a sexual relationship, but I tried to research that today and all I found were BDSM pages and that's not what I want."

"You found age play, Adam," Mac said. "The daddy sexual kink does fall in there, but there are degrees of it and you don't have to go deeply into subculture unless you want to. My advice, had I known, would have been to stay away from computer searches and talked to people who understand the gradients of the kink."

"I don't think I could," Adam admitted. He went back to the fridge and dug out the salad makings without being asked. "It's embarrassing enough to think that I want even some sort of control in my life. I mean, I'm a grown man, shouldn't I be able to do this stuff on my own?"

"Adam, listen to me," Mac said. "I've explored the subcultures, professionally and personally, and I realized yesterday that you liked it when I was a little firmer with you. I wanted to let you come to this conclusion on your own and I'm sorry if doing that let you be scared in any way. I'm guessing that Danny told you about his friend Terry?"

"He didn't tell me a name, but he said he had a friend who was in a relationship that had a bit of the kink attached to it."

"Yeah, that's Terry. He just needed someone to take care of him," Mac said. "He was okay taking care of himself, but he didn't always eat and had problems sleeping. Kind of like you do, but for different reasons. I think, and this is only opinion, that you're looking for someone to make some of the small decisions so you don't have to worry about them."

"Maybe," Adam said. "I mean, I like being able to make m own decisions, but like last night when you told me to shower and then go to bed. I really liked that. I liked you waking me up and getting me into the shower."

Mac turned the hamburgers and looked back at Adam. "Is this something you want to explore a little more?" he asked. "It's possible this is less daddy kink and more a military fetish. That's not a bad thing," he added when he caught the look on Adam's face.

"I guess the term just threw me," Adam said.

"I'm not even sure that's the right way to phrase it," Mac said. "I was switching between fatherly and drill sergeant last night, although I wasn't ever a drill sergeant."

Adam grinned. He put the finished salad on the table and went to look for toppings for everything. "Marine is scary enough," he said. "Is it true they train you to kill in like a thousand ways?"

"Possibly," Mac laughed. "Although I think that number is from a movie rather than real life." He brought the food to the table. "Adam, let me tell you what I'm seeing here. Between last night and tonight, you're settled and relaxed. You've smiled more since we left work than I think I've ever seen you smile and you're able to anticipate what we need without asking me if it's okay to do something, even though we're in my kitchen. I will be whatever you need me to be for you. I promised you that this morning and will continue to make that promise every day."

"Can we talk more about maybe structuring my life a little?" Adam asked, blushing. "I mean, away from the lab."

"If you want to," Mac said. "I think the most important things are as consistent bedtime as we can ever manage in our line of work, three meals a day when possible, two if we're busy with snacks to keep your blood sugar even, and helping you work through your nightmares. Can you think of anything else you want just off the top of your head?"

"Like I said, I liked it when you told me it was time to do things," Adam said. "I just don't want to be punished if I don't do something. That's what put me off the whole thing at the lab today."

Mac nodded. "I wouldn't punish you, Adam. There's too much of a risk of it triggering a flashback to your childhood and that's the last thing I want to do," he said. "How about we agree for me to use firm suggestions, but you take them as such. I won't order you to do anything away from the lab."

"I like that," Adam said. "I'm going to be picking at this, Mac. It's all so new to me."

"That's fine, Adam. Just promise me you'll ask me any questions you have so nothing builds up between us to cause major problems."

"I'll do my best," Adam said. "Danny said he might be able to arrange a time for me to meet his friend, Terry."

"That's a good idea. I think Terry would be able to answer a lot of your questions better than I would," Mac said. "I'm also not going to press you to do more in the bedroom than you want to, Adam. I just want to help you be able to learn your body and what feels good."

"Just be ready for me to be really jumpy," Adam said.

"I can do that," Mac smiled. "Eat up, we still have to go shopping."

Adam ducked his head with a smile and turned his focus to his food.

***


"Did you get the groceries put away?" Mac asked when Adam joined him back in the bedroom.

"Yeah, although I wasn't sure if your oatmeal was supposed to go in the fridge or not," Adam admitted. "I figured one night in there wouldn't hurt it if I was wrong. What have you been planning back here?"

"Will you let me touch you, Adam?"

Adam sat down on the bed and looked at Mac. "Touch me how?" he asked.

"Non-sexually to start with, or only that if you get uncomfortable," Mac replied. He sat down next to Adam. "I want to get you accustomed o being touched. I'm guessing that's something you didn't have much of growing up and, once you're sure I'm not going to hurt you, you'll find this helps you feel better."

"I know you're not going to hurt me," Adam said.

"You know it here." Mac tapped Adam's head gently. "But here," he tapped Adam's heart, "is telling you something different, even if you don't realize it. I just want to touch you and let you know that you're loved. Be able to show you that being touched is a good thing."

"Go ahead," Adam said. "I'll tell you if something makes me feel uncomfortable."

Mac took Adam's left hand in both of his and started to massage it gently. "After the bombing I went through a period of time when I couldn't stand to have anyone close to me," he said. "It wasn't a big deal, almost every soldier posted was having PTSD symptoms of some sort and the base was working with all of us. When I came back, I remember Claire tried to hug me and I couldn't hug her back. She maintained that I didn't hurt her feelings when I did that, but I think I did." He slowly ran his hands up along Adam's arm and shoulder, cupping Adam's neck and massaging gently. "I completed my required therapy sessions, but it was still months after that before I was able to let anyone touch me again. I think that it was a combination of shock, of watching a friend die in my arms, and fear."

"I didn't know Marines could feel fear," Adam said softly. He groaned when Mac started to massage the back of his skull gently. "Okay, you could just do that for the rest of the night and I'd be happy."

"Everyone feels fear, Adam," Mac said. He used his free hand to start the same path up Adam's other arm. "I think Marines are just trained to hide it until we're alone or with people we trust. You'd have to send machines into battle to eliminate fear. I'd rather eliminate wars, but given human nature, that's never going to happen. Claire was a very tactile woman. She loved to hug, to cuddle, and I know I was a challenge to her on that one so many times. I think she'd already have you longing for her special hugs though."

"Wish I could have met her," Adam said.

"She was a remarkable woman," Mac said. He leaned forward and kissed Adam softly. "I used her as a shield for so many years after she died. I finally realized that I was dishonoring her memory rather than honoring it because she wouldn't have wanted me to seal myself away, to hide from love. When you have a partner, you talk about what you want for the other if or when you die. It's easier to talk about than it is to do, but I know she wanted me to be happy. You, Adam, make me happy."

"Even if I'm not ready to fall into bed and want to be controlled a little?" Adam asked.

"Especially because of that," Mac said. "Adam, humans are individual beings. It's stupid to think that what works for one person is going to work for everyone else. We don't come out of a mold. Never be embarrassed because you need something that the mainstream beliefs tell you is wrong. Because it's what you need, it's right for you. Anyone who tells you you're wrong for wanting it is the one who is wrong because they are trying to force you to be someone you're not. Do you understand?"

Adam nodded. "Yeah. It sounds so simple when you put it like that."

"I wish it was that simple," Mac said. He slid his hands down Adam's back and worked one carefully under his t-shirt. "I wish that I could make this painless and easy for you, but all I can do is make it as easy as I can. I'll support you no matter what you want. I've said it and I'll keep saying it, I will do whatever you want."

"You said you've been in the subculture before," Adam said, back arching a little when Mac's fingers brushed over a nipple. "What prompted you to do that?"

"It was for work, originally. I wanted to know everything I could to make me a better officer and a better CSI, so I went out and visited clubs, read books, talked to people who lived the lifestyles every day and came to realize that the perceptions I had, based from books and movies, was wrong. There were doctors, lawyers, teachers, taxi drivers, people from every walk of life gathering together to be who they wanted to be." Mac slowly worked Adam's shirt off. "Many of them had to hide their desires when they weren't at the clubs because of their jobs, or their families, but they weren't ashamed of them. That's one thing I remember from early on; no one I talked to was embarrassed for what they wanted, and they were willing to teach if I was willing to learn."

"Take your shirt off too, please?" Adam asked.

Mac pulled back long enough to slip out of his t-shirt and dropped it on top of Adam's on the floor. "Most of what I tried once I found I didn't like, but there were some things I did like, and I learned so much from my time in the clubs that I've actually had people ask for me when they're arrested because they know that I'll understand what they're wearing under their suits, or that I can talk with their lawyer and explain things better to them. It's not a part of my job, but a number of people see me as an unofficial ambassador between the clubs and the police department."

Adam reached out and carefully touched the scar on Mac's chest. "Do you still go to the clubs?" he asked.

"Every couple of months, just to check in and see how people are doing," Mac replied. He slowly let a hand brush over the bulge that was starting to push at Adam's zipper. "They don't welcome on-shift cops, but as long as you're not working, if you're there to just be you, then they have no problems with you. I've made some good contacts there, and also some good friends."

"Do that again?" Adam asked.

"Lie down," Mac replied softly. He slowly and carefully let his fingers explore the still covered erection that was pushing for freedom. "There's been a couple of times when my contacts have brought me kids who have run away from home and ended up working either the street or trying to work in the clubs. It's not easy, being one of the few officers they'll talk to, but I wouldn't change it for anything."

"Mac, I feel warm," Adam said.

"Want to take your jeans off?" Mac asked.

"I dunno, maybe," Adam said. He arched up into Mac's touch. "I've never let anyone else touch me like this. It's more intense than I was expecting."

"Have you touched yourself?"

"Not really. My dad."

"Okay, shhhh, not talking about him," Mac said. "Want me to stop?"

"No, keep going," Adam said. He tried to relax into the touch and let his body do what it wanted. He knew, clinically anyway, what was going to happen, but he'd never felt it before and was a little nervous. Adam could feel something coiling up in his stomach, pressure building where he'd never felt pressure before and almost screamed when it all unwound on him.

"You okay?" Mac asked, leaning over so he could see Adam's face.

"Think so," Adam gasped, trying to get air. "Always like that?"

Mac smiled and kissed Adam's nose softly. "It can be, with the right partner. Go on and shower, Adam. I'll clean up in here and then we can go to bed."

"All right." Adam gathered up his courage and kissed Mac. "Thank you for understanding."

***

Mac wasn't sure of the best way to bring up Adam's father and everything that happened to Adam growing up. He'd been thrown a little the night before when Adam said his father had scared him off sexual exploration, but at the same time it made sense. Mac didn't know where Adam's mother was in the picture, if she'd died or left her abusive husband, but he hoped that if it was the latter, she would have cared enough to take Adam along with her. He was tempted to insist on counseling for Adam, but didn't know how that suggestion would go over.

With a sigh, Mac glanced at the clock and then down at the sleeping man in his arms. Adam had the day off from the lab, but Mac had to go in for the afternoon shift. He didn't think it would be possible for him to get out of bed without waking Adam up, and really wanted to let the man sleep as long as he could. Mac had a feeling that Adam was trying to catch up on the sleep he'd lost over the years, even thought he knew it wasn't really scientifically possible. He pressed a kiss to the top of Adam's head and slipped carefully from the bed, smiling when Adam just burrowed under the covers and stayed asleep. Normally Mac would go for a run or head in early to swim before his shift, but he planned to workout in the department gym after his shift was over, so he wasn't as worried about it. It was something he'd have to talk about with Adam as they deepened their relationship, letting him know if he woke up and Mac wasn't there, it was because he was out for a run and he'd be back for breakfast. Mac was determined to give Adam as much normalcy and consistency s was possible in their line of work. He figured that, more than anything would help Adam grow in their relationship, and in his professional life.

Adam woke up when he heard the shower turn on and sighed. The bed was still warm so he knew Mac hadn't been gone long, but he'd been hoping to be able to spend some time with Mac before they had to get up for the day. Adam was a night owl by nature, and it seemed that Mac was a morning person, so that was going to be an interesting hurdle to work around.

"Hey, I didn't wake you up, did I?" Mac asked, coming back into the bedroom. He was in a pair of sweatpants and another Marine t-shirt.

"No, I heard the shower turn on," Adam replied. "You have to work today, don't you?"

"Half the afternoon shift to cover for Stella," Mac said. "She's in court today and I don't want to risk the lab being short if cases come in. If nothing else, I'll be able to get through some of my paperwork. How'd you sleep last night?"

"Good," Adam said. He sat up and stretched. "I don't know why having you with me makes me sleep better, Mac. What's going to happen when you can't stay the night, or you need to be at your place?"

"We'll have to see," Mac said. "I'm hoping that getting you onto a fairly normal schedule will help you sleep through the night if I have to be somewhere else, but Adam, that's going to take time. It's not going to be easy for you the first few times."

"Yeah, I know," Adam said. "I guess it's silly to worry about when you've got your own place and you'll want to be there."

Mac sat down on the bed and caught Adam's chin in his hand. "Look at me, Adam," he said. "I think that splitting our time between your apartment and mine is an idea that we should talk about. I'm not pushing for it because you're comfortable here and you need the time to adjust to the changes we're already making without adding in the stress of a strange bed in a strange apartment. When you're more settled, we can talk more about sleeping at my place a few nights a week."

"Are we ever going to move in together?" Adam asked.

"I'd like to, but that can't be your focus this early on," Mac replied. "Adam, you're relearning yourself and finding a balance that you probably thought was lost forever. Right now we both need to be focused on you and where this partnership is going to lead. In a few weeks, maybe a month, we can talk about evening the balance and organization. You haven't flinched when I touch you since that first night, and that's good, but we need to get you to the point where you can touch me back without hesitation."

"I hadn't thought of it like that," Adam said.

"I know, and I know how new this all is for you," Mac said. He kissed Adam gently and let go of his chin. "Relationships are about balance, but I can take a few weeks of lavishing attention on you to get you settled without it straining what we have between us. When we're sure that you're doing better, that this is really what you want, then we'll get our balance and go forward together."

"It just doesn't seem fair that I get all the attention and you get nightmare duty and insecurity," Adam said. He shifted forward until he could lean up against Mac's chest. "I will admit to liking the cuddling though."

Mac smiled and pulled Adam into a hug. "I'm happy to be on nightmare duty because it means you're sleeping and healthy," he said. "It also means you're not drinking as much coffee at work, which in turn can only help you settle down at night. It's all a cycle, Adam. You know my motto at the lab?"

"One way or another everything's connected," Adam said.

"It applies in life too," Mac said. He shifted them so they were lying down, Adam in tight against Mac's chest. "When you sleep through the night you feel better in the morning so you're more likely to eat a little before you go into work. The breakfast gives you energy so you don't drink as much coffee during the day, which in turn keeps you calmer and makes you less nervous, and you don't have so much caffeine n your system that you can't sleep at night. I also think that sex, if and when we get there, will help you sleep better as well."

"I did feel sleepier last night than normal, and I really liked what you did," Adam admitted. "I was nervous when you started touching me, but the nerves went away when I realized you were feeling the same way I was."

"It'll take time, Adam, but we'll get there together," Mac said. He kissed the back of Adam's neck. "Everything we do, we do together. That's the main thing that will hold our relationship together."

***

Before Mac left for the lab, he made out a short list of things he wanted Adam to do with his day off, but stressed they were suggestions and Adam didn't have to finish everything on the list, or do any of it if he didn't want to. Adam took the list with a smile and kissed Mac carefully. He was finding that he wasn't as nervous about kissing the older man, but didn't know when he would be able to try for more. His hands still shook at the thought of that.

The list was pretty simple: clean the apartment, change the sheets on the bed, do laundry, eat lunch, go out and walk for half an hour in the afternoon. Adam agreed that the sheets needed to be changed, so he did that first and gathered the dirty ones up along with his clothes from the past few days and put them into the laundry basket. He debated Mac's things for a minute, but the only things he'd left dirty were t-shirts and sweats, and Adam knew he wouldn't hurt them, so he added them in, checked to make sure he had his key and headed to the basement to start a load of washing. When he got back to his apartment, he looked around and realized that it wasn't dirty so he didn't need to spend all day cleaning, but the floors could stand to be mopped and the shelves needed to be dusted. Adam grinned, knowing that Mac was trying to get him comfortable in his skin again, and put on some music to listen to while he swept and mopped.

A knock on the door half an hour later startled him and he turned with a small frown. "Adam, it's Danny. Can you hear me over that racket you call music?" Danny called from the other side of the door.

Adam opened the door with a smile. "This isn't a racket, Danny," he said. "This is quality. What's up?"

"I had an interview near here and thought I'd drop by and see if you wanted to go get lunch before I head back to work," Danny said. "You hungry?"

"Yeah, actually," Adam said. "I just have to grab my laundry, do you mind waiting five minutes while I go do that?"

"Nope, I'll be right here," Danny said. He flopped down on the sofa and picked up one of Adam's magazines. "Don't rush for me, Adam. Mac said I could have a break after the interview so long as nothing new came in."

"Cool, I'll be right back," Adam said.

Normally he would use the drier in the basement, but he didn't want to leave his things alone for any length of time while he was out with Danny, so Adam gathered up the damp things and headed back up to his apartment where he had a pair of wooden racks to dry clothes on. There were days when air dried things just made him happy. "So how busy is work?" he asked, shutting the door behind him.

"Not too bad," Danny said. "You need help?"

"That'd be great, thanks," Adam said.

"Mac's mainly been doing paperwork and letting the rest of us handle things as they come in," Danny said, shaking out a t-shirt before hanging it up to dry. "Montana and Hawkes caught a case down at the fish market. I dunno what it is about that place that causes so much crime, but at least it ain't me crawling around with the fish this time."

"I remember that one, death by swordfish," Adam said. He used the backs of a couple of chairs to hang up the sheets. "I wonder which one of them will be smelling like fish at the end of the day."

"Hawkes," Danny said. "They'd already come back in when I was getting ready to head out. I think he fried his nose years ago in medical school and nothing bothers him now. Ready?"

"Yeah, thanks for the help, Danny," Adam said. He grabbed his wallet, double checked his keys, and locked the door behind them. "I'll have to dust when I get home."

Danny grinned. "I saved you from the evil dust monster then," he said. "Come on, let's get something we can eat while we're walking."

"Did Mac tell you about the list or something, Danny?" Adam asked.

"He might have mentioned wanting you to get some sun today," Danny replied. "You want to go to the park?"

"Sure, why not," Adam said. "The walk will probably do us both good."
***

"I talked with my friend, Terry," Danny said later in the afternoon. He and Adam were walking back to Adam's apartment after spending an hour in the park talking about video games and how they might be linking to crime. "He said that if you'd like, he'll be happy to meet up and talk."

"I think I might, yeah," Adam said. "As much as Mac isn't pushing me to do anything I'm not comfortable with, I know at the same time I'm not going to get comfortable with them until I know more. Does that make sense?"

"Yep," Danny said. "I'll give Terry a call tonight and see if he's free later in the week. When's your next day off?"

"Sunday, I think," Adam said. "I'll have to check the board first though."

Danny nodded. "I can check when I get back to the lab easy enough," he said. "Would you be more comfortable having Mac or me with you?"

"Would you mind being there?" Adam asked. "I mean, I know I should probably say Mac, but I don't want to make Terry uncomfortable and Mac's pretty intense."

"They know each other," Danny said. "I don't think it'd matter to Terry one way or another, but whatever makes you feel comfortable is what matters. Talk it over with Mac and if you want me there, I'm there."

Adam grinned. "Thanks, Danny."

***

Next part of Finding Father.