Title: RNA and DNA
Fandom: CSI: NY
Content Warning: Mansex! And uh, some angsting from the guys.
Spoilers: Major spoilers for the season two finale and episodes 3x16, 18.
Summary: "Tell me the difference between RNA and DNA... I'm in the mood for some scintillating conversation." Flack/Hawkes.
Disclaimer: So, uhm, can I have Flack and Hawkes, please? No? Really? I'll take good care of them, I will - Ah, shucks, they don't belong to me.
Author's notes: Huh. My very first non-Danny/Flack story that features Flack with another male character from the show! -gasp- Wow, where do I even begin to talk about how I ended up writing a story for this pairing? All I have to say here is that it has a lot to do with episode 3x18, where Flack and Hawkes have a scene together at the magic shop. And yes, if you haven't seen the episode, Flack really did taunt Hawkes with chatting about RNA and DNA and asking him if he thought that was more of a... scintillating conversation. Heheheheh.
Flack is having a very difficult time alternating between breathing and trying not to scream his lungs out.
"Did you hear me, hmm?"
The question from the man plastered on his back prompts him to open his mouth in reply, but a powerful thrust of hips robs him of breath and words. White supernovas explode behind his eyelids. Lightning-fast pleasure streaks out from that place deep inside his sweat-sheened body, causing his back and his feet to arch. His head plummets forward, and he buries his face in a red-colored pillow. It muffles his harsh panting and moans.
"Did you hear me, Flack?" Hawkes whispers into his ear.
Flack twists sinuously on the rumpled bedsheets, fisting his hands into the dark red cloth, bucking his hips backwards and up in the hopes of enticing Hawkes to move again. The ME turned CSI is strong, stronger than Flack ever expected.
The solid hands wrapped around his wrists remind him once more that it's truly unwise to judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, a man by his white lab coat and his ageless face.
"Tell me the difference between RNA and DNA." Hawkes draws in a deep breath, kisses and nibbles the soft, pale skin on the back of his neck. "I'm in the mood for some … scintillating conversation."
Flack can't help huffing out a strained laugh at Hawkes' request. Immediately, he's sent back to an earlier time in the day, standing around in that magic shop, surrounded by all those magic props and sets. Facing Hawkes like two cowboys in the center of town, with their guns drawn, fingers on their triggers and for some odd reason, resisting to pull on them and fire their weapons. Brown and blue eyes blazing at each other with equal fervor.
He's still unsure why he decided to pop the query about Houdini contributing to the mob vocabulary out of the blue like that. He and Hawkes barely say a word to each other, even when they're investigating a case together. And sure enough, when he did ask Hawkes that question, he received the anticipated, arrogant brush off that cut their conversation right quick.
So, right now, Flack is also unsure how the hell he and Hawkes went from not talking to each other much … to Hawkes pounding him in the ass and fucking him through the mattress like there's no tomorrow.
Hawkes' hand tightening around his aching erection wrenches him back to the present with a loud cry.
"Do you know the difference, hmm? Or am I right that you don't?"
Hawkes' husky voice is doing strange things to his reeling mind and trembling body, though the minute the blatant challenge in those words registers, he's lunged up onto his knees and elbows, bringing the other man up with him. He lets out a wavering snicker at Hawkes' squeak of surprise.
"Think you're … so fuckin' smart, don'tcha, Doc?" Flack rasps between much needed breaths. His question is edged with steel. However, the grin that looks a whole lot like a grimace and exposes his pearly teeth dulls the sharpness of his words.
He shoves his hips back, tightening his inner muscles around the hard, hot flesh buried inside him. Licks his lower lip in satisfaction and then bites it to stifle his groan when Hawkes loses restraint and pulls out half-way and thrusts back in once, deeper than before.
Yeah, who's the guy in control now, huh?
The homicide detective doesn't have a clue whether he merely thought it or said it aloud.
"Come on, Flack," Hawkes replies in a labored voice. "What's the difference … between RNA and DNA?"
Flack feels the CSI's fingers dig into his hips. He grimaces again, and he thinks there'll be bruises there by tomorrow. He gulps, then says in what he hopes is a steady voice, "RNA is … ribonucleic acid."
Hawkes' full lips are curving up in a smile against his shoulder blade. The man is motionless except for those dexterous hands that roam across his heaving chest and tense belly and thighs, always skirting close to his pulsing cock, but never quite touching it.
"It's … a nucleic acid polymer consisti-" - the word catches in his throat as fingers press at his perineum and stroke the moist, stretched area where they are so intimately joined. "Consistin' a' nucleo- nucleotide … monomers!"
Hawkes is fondling his erection now, teasing the rounded head that's leaking out drops of pre-come. Thumb stroking that sensitive nexus of nerves just beneath it.
Damn bastard, Flack thinks with an inward smirk. He knows what Hawkes is doing, and he likes it, he likes this side of the man he's never seen before, a side that probably no one else has ever seen before. He grits his teeth, his grin on his flushed mien back in full force. Fuck if he's going to let Hawkes distract him from one-upping the guy now.
"DNA is - it's -"
A single second of hesitation and forgetfulness, and Hawkes' shoulders and torso are already shaking in mirth. In sweet vengeance, Flack corkscrews his hips, grinding back against the other man's groin. Hawkes' chuckle stutters into a ragged gasp.
The word thankfully springs into mind, and Flack says in a rush, "It's deoxyribonucleic acid, nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions needed for! F-for the development and functionin' a' livin' organisms."
He's so going to get back at Hawkes for flicking the edge of his thumbnail against the slit of his throbbing cock like that.
Where the hell did the Doc learn to drive a man crazy like this?
"I'm impressed, Flack. You do know the difference between RNA and DNA."
The homicide detective swivels his head around as much as he can in his position, glowering at the CSI with blue eyes that glint in almost acerbic amusement. The ends of his lips curl up in a tiny smile that's hidden from Hawkes' vision by his shoulder.
"Fuck you, Hawkes."
Hawkes' teeth glow white in contrast to his dusky skin.
"No, I do believe it's me fucking you."
Before Flack is able to say anything in retort, Hawkes bursts into a flurry of action, hips snapping back and forth at a breakneck pace, one hand on Flack's upper back pushing him down on the bed and the other hand gripping Flack's hip. Flack is stunned into whimpers and croaks by the incredible sensations coursing through his curved body being rocked by Hawkes' swift movements. He's never going to laugh at the joke about black guys being hung as horses ever again, not when the ultimate proof is sliding in and out of his ass, and he's feeling it all the way up to his gaping mouth. It's striking his prostate with an accuracy that his remaining intelligence tells him this isn't the first time Hawkes has fucked a man before.
"Fuck, fuck, fuuuuuuuck -"
Flack feels Hawkes' laugh all the way up his throat too.
"Yeah, that's … what we're doing, Flack."
Hawkes' smooth voice seems to crack a bit on his name. Either the man's enjoying the heck out of himself, or he's beginning to feel the exertion of driving into Flack like a Ferrari engine piston. Considering how much he's enjoying the hell out of this, Flack's going with the first option.
"Or do I need to tell you … the damn difference between fucking and not fucking?"
Hearing Hawkes, Hawkes the mild-mannered pacifist, swearing openly turns him on even more than before. It's like verbal Viagra for his brain. His hardened cock twitches against his flat belly.
"Ya think I don't - I dunno what's the difference?" Flack bites down on his lower lip to keep his groans from escaping. "I would … if I knew whether you're actually inside me or not already."
Hawkes' teeth sinking into the firm flesh of his shoulder shocks him, and a high-pitched shout flies out of his mouth anyway. It doesn't break skin, just hard enough that he's going to feel it for a while to come. Flack conceals his satisfied smile in the softness of the pillow under his head. Ohh, he got to Hawkes with that one. But fuck it, he's lost track of the scores.
Suddenly, he's being dragged up onto all fours, surprisingly muscular arms around his waist and chest, lifting him off the bed. He senses the tension increasing in Hawkes' whole body and his breaths quicken, getting louder and louder in his own hearing. He senses his legs being shifted further apart by the CSI's, spreading him wider, exposing him to the world, making him shiver from head to toe.
The new position causes Hawkes' energized strokes to rub even harder on the prostate gland inside him, and he completely forgets to rein in his cries. Hawkes' arm around his chest is all that stops him from falling face first back onto the bed. His blue eyes flutter shut, his brow furrowed in an expression akin to pain except this isn't pain at all, it's pleasure that's too much for him handle, a pleasure that he's feeling for the first time in his life. It's nothing like he's ever experienced, not even when he and Dann-
His mind removes that name from his thoughts in a flash. This time, quick enough that the ache that follows that name now doesn't rear its ugly head in this moment where he's having the best sex of his existence yet.
Flack concentrates on the smoothness of Hawkes' sleek skin gliding on his, the nimble fingers playing with his nipples, the hand pumping up and down his swollen cock. Hawkes is good, so fucking good, and Flack is astonished at himself even as he wonders why he took so long to let Hawkes get into his pants and more.
Then, Hawkes' mouth is at his ear again.
"You're amazing, so amazing, Don."
And hearing his name rolling off those ample, soft lips, Flack stiffens and comes with the force of a tsunami, warm wetness splattering his abdomen and lower chest, his head thrown back as endless waves of pleasure quake his body and his soul.
Flack looks like a little boy when he's asleep.
Hawkes thinks that to himself while he watches the younger detective dozing on the disheveled bed next to him. Flack is lying on his back, one hand resting on his rising and falling stomach, the other arm outstretched to the side, touching Hawkes' rippled belly. A thin blanket covers the lanky body up to the hips, baring silky, fair skin to the moonlight and Hawkes' sight. Flack's head is turned to one side, towards him, allowing him to study the handsome features slack in sleep.
His thoughts drift to the very first time he gazed into those large, blue eyes. The suppressed animosity took him aback, until he realized that he was returning Flack's stare in a comparable manner. He had no enlightenment about why he'd felt that way towards someone he just met, and now, after years and the various cases they've worked together, he is still no closer to figuring out why he and the homicide detective had started off on such a lousy foot.
At least there's one thing he can longer deny.
Whatever antagonism they had between them, it has transformed into something much, much better.
Hawkes slides nearer to the slumbering man, leaning his head on one flat palm and using his other hand to gently ruffle Flack's thick, dark hair. It's the kind of hair women would kill for, velvety and copious, shining in the light. He's been fantasizing about running his fingers through it since they were at the magic shop earlier that day.
His lips bow in a soft smile, and he laughs silently at himself. It's mind-boggling how a single second in time has the ability to change two people forever in ways they could never have imagined.
He and Flack hardly say more than a few words to one another. Indeed, when they work together, there is rarely a nice word exchanged. And every time, every time they are alone in the same room, it is inevitable that they're on tiptoes on broken glass, gauging each other as if expecting physical blows to be thrown at any given second.
That is, before that moment in the magic shop after the shop assistant had told them off for laying a hand on the Houdini magic set.
When their bodies had touched.
Hawkes' side and hip tingle with remembered sensation.
He remembers the weight, the solidity of Flack's torso, searing like the sun, going rigid in reflex once he stepped backwards and accidentally bumped into the homicide detective. He remembers Flack's muted gasp and the unusual indecision that froze Flack to the spot for a brief albeit electric moment. Now that he ruminates on it, he wouldn't have collided with Flack like that unless … Flack had been standing very close to him in the first place.
Flack makes a low noise in his throat that captures Hawkes' attention. His fingers become motionless in the younger man's hair, and he glances at Flack's visage, checking whether Flack is going to awaken. Flack snuffles a second time but his eyes stay closed.
Gradually, Hawkes returns to his previous train of deliberations.
Yes, it's coming back to him again, the bewilderment in those wide, blue eyes that stared at him throughout the day long after they'd brushed against each other. The shock of something stirring within the heart, something so unforeseen that it's as heavy and unbelievable as a pink elephant. He's sure Flack hadn't been staring at him in ire or anything remotely close to that.
He's sure, because Flack followed him home.
Hawkes starts to play with Flack's hair again, caressing the sleeping man's scalp and noticing the roundness of Flack's skull. It has a nice shape, he thinks, Flack'll look good even with his hair all shaved off. He shuts his eyes and skims fingers across Flack's facial features with feathering pats. He imagines how Flack's skull might appear, shredding away skin and muscle and veins, revealing only white, pristine bone. It'd be a fantastic specimen, he thinks again, a skull any anthropologist would be honored to own.
His eyes flicker open. The morbidness of his thoughts amuses him sometimes. It's no wonder people say it takes a special breed of human being to go into autopsy and cut open the corpse of what was once a human being too. And it's no wonder either that it'll take a special sort of person to understand him, how he thinks, what he does. Someone who walks on the same eerie path of the world as he does.
His gaze drops to those dark pink lips. They're parted just a bit, a sliver of white teeth showing through. He licks his own lips, recalling the moistness and firmness of Flack's upon his. Flack's sensual assault had caught him utterly unawares on the couch of his living room. One minute, he was sitting on his sofa and Flack was sitting on a chair arranged perpendicular to it, both nursing partially drunk cans of beer. The next minute, they were rolling on the floor, lips and limbs tangled together tighter than vines.
Was it Flack who leapt first, or himself? He's undecided about that. Part of his brain says it was the younger detective who did. The other part says that it's pointless to pursue the answer, in light of what they've already done here in his bed.
He huffs a silent chuckle and glances at his fingers, the ones that had patted the Houdini magic set. Perhaps some of its charm had transferred itself into him at that point of time. Perhaps magic isn't confined to the manipulations of magicians and witches and sorcerers.
There has to be some real magic at work here, after all, for them to be where they are now.
He shifts even closer to Flack, his broad chest and abdomen pressing against the length of Flack's arm. The dozing man's eyelids flutter a little, then become unmoving once more.
Arousal coils within Hawkes when his mind dredges up the sounds Flack had released while they'd divested each other of their clothes and the homicide detective had enclosed gangly legs around his waist. Animalistic is quite an understating word to describe them. He had miscalculated Flack's fiery nature, fooled by the man's cool demeanor, and his torso is covered with the undeniable evidence of just how ardent Flack can be in a rage of passion. He unconsciously rubs at a bruise on the lower left side of his neck, a love mark he'll have to veil with one of his polo sweaters. The last thing he needs is for rumors to go around the labs that he has a new love interest now.
His love interest … Flack?
The more he considers the idea, tossing it around in his mind, the more he finds it exhilarating, revitalizing, the indulgence of an illicit desire he hasn't acknowledged since his faded high school years. He stares downwards at Flack's fine-looking features, blinking a couple more times. Flack is a very gorgeous man, even if the guy doesn't recognize that fact or seem to realize it at all. It's incredulous to Hawkes that Flack isn't attached to anyone, man or woman.
Man with a face and personality like Flack's? Impossible.
Some of the heat leaves Hawkes the instant it hits him that what occurred tonight may be nothing more than a one night stand to the younger man.
Hawkes sighs quietly. He places his palm on the left side of Flack's chest, over his heart. He feels for the steady heartbeat and the constant palpitation keeps his mind off his misgiving that Flack had uttered a name during their bout of sex, a name that sounded a great deal like Danny.
He doesn't dare to ponder why the blue-eyed CSI's name sends a chilly spear through him or why a sour taste develops in the back of his throat.
Thinking of Danny reminds him of the new addition to the team, Lindsay. The last time he saw her had been at the laboratories, just before she'd departed to the airport to fly back to Montana. He hadn't known at the time she was returning to her home state but he swiftly presumed so when she'd asked him to tell Danny about a card she was leaving for the man.
Leaving a card? When she could very well have simply called Danny or met up with him in person to say goodbye?
He made sure he spoke his mind about the matter to her right there and then. Whatever was going on between Danny and Lindsay, he was of the opinion (and still is) that Danny deserved a better farewell than a mere card. He's not close with her, and he was given the opportunity to say adieu in person.
The tiny, impassive smile on her face he had seen after he said what he had to say hasn't stopped bothering him yet.
Scrutinizing Flack's relaxed mien again, he speculates on the possibility that the masked anguish he's detected in the homicide detective's big eyes lately is connected to Danny and Lindsay in some way. It is not a pleasant thought.
Flack mumbles under his breath in his slumber. Those thick brows furrow in a mild frown.
Slowly, Hawkes slithers his hand down from the younger man's chest to his belly, never once tearing his gaze away from Flack's face.
His hand encounters rough, scarred skin.
He's touching the aftermath of the explosion that almost killed Flack many months ago.
After an uncontrollable hitch of his breath, he tentatively traces the ridges and bumps of the scars, darker and more knotty than the unblemished skin, a map of coarsely healed devastation on a sea of cream pale. He feels an evident excitement with this impulsive exploration of Flack's vulnerability made physical. Somehow, he has a hunch that Flack's never shown his scars to anyone, with the probable exception of Mac who had to photograph the man's injuries for documentation of evidence. And he's sure, very sure, he would never have been allowed to see them like this, or touch them like this, if it hadn't been for tonight's events.
He follows the irregular outline of the scars with a fingertip. He doesn't regard the disfigurement as ugly at all. It is just another part of Flack's body now, nothing more than a corporeal aide memoire that Flack had looked death in the eye, and survived. That's what it is to him, anyhow. Whether Flack views it the same way is another ballgame.
The sudden clench of a large hand around his jolts him.
Flack's eyes are open.
Hawkes stays inert, not wishing to unnerve Flack in any way and definitely not wishing to feel one of Flack's fists in his face. Twinges of trepidation make him swallow visibly. Flack's hand is squeezing his tight, erasing any chances of him removing it from Flack's disfigured abdomen.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to -"
Flack halts the flow of his apology by loosening the crushing grip around his hand, and then placing it back onto the scars.
The simple action halts Hawkes' earth on its pivot.
He locks eyes with Flack and discovers there isn't a hint of reprimand or resentment in those sapphire-blue eyes. They're heavy-lidded, unguarded, watching him with an almost childlike trust.
A hushed minute passes.
Their hands are still entwined together.
Hawkes swallows another time, to clear a clogged up throat. He's been handed a remarkable privilege, the seldom given freedom to see Flack without any walls, without that camouflage of machismo and invincibility. It's an irony then, that he is the one who feels as if he's been stripped of his own fortifications and laid bare to Flack's perusal instead.
"Took me weeks to have the guts to look at it," Flack murmurs in a low voice. The homicide detective smirks at the intimation of his own words.
Hawkes smirks as well when he realizes the joke. Flack being able to kid about what had happened to him eases the apprehension out of his body, and he lies down on his side next to Flack, his hand resting on the younger man's belly.
"Took me even longer to touch the scars without flinchin'," Flack adds. "They're -"
Flack's lower lip disappears beneath his upper lip, and the man turns his head away to stare at the ceiling.
Hawkes senses the slight quivering of Flack's hand on top of his. He waits patiently, witnessing for himself how affected the homicide detective truly is within by the marks of his near death.
There is a rustle of hair on cloth. Blue eyes gaze into his own brown ones.
"You're the first."
It takes Hawkes a minute or two to comprehend the significance of those words.
He caresses the scars with unhurried, gentle strokes, and he isn't ashamed to admit it's becoming somewhat difficult to see Flack through blurry, hot eyes.
A remarkable privilege, without a doubt.
Flack continues to gaze at him with that ingenuous glimmer in his eyes. It frightens Hawkes, this sudden openness that the younger detective is exhibiting in his presence. It's so unlike the Flack he is familiar with, the smug, self-assured Flack who never seemed to falter even after his insides were ripped apart by a bomb. It's as if he's reclining in bed with a stranger who happens to own a visage identical to the homicide detective.
Then again, does he really know Flack in the first place?
He shifts his hand up from Flack's belly and runs a fingertip along one high cheekbone. It strikes him like a ten-ton truck that he knows next to nothing about the handsome, dark-haired man beside him. That, yes, he wants to know Flack. He wants to get to know the man upclose and personal, everyhow and everything, inside and out.
But if there's one thing his beloved father has taught him, it is to live with an honest heart, an honest life with no lies or deceit.
Sheldon Hawkes is certainly not a man to stake his claim on someone who's already spoken for.
His hand cups the man's cheek. Flack's face feels bristly with the beginnings of a beard.
Flack is quiet. Waiting for him to speak.
"This doesn't have to be anything more than what you want it to be," he murmurs with a temperate voice. He leaves his hand where it is against Flack's cheek, a gentle contact that Flack can easily push away with a mere rotation of his head.
Hawkes' breath snags when Flack nuzzles his palm.
"You're different from him … I like that."
The sorrow in Flack's large eyes causes something inside Hawkes' chest to ache.
He starts to stroke the rise of Flack's cheek with the pad of his thumb, taking silent pleasure in the way the younger man's eyelids flicker, the way Flack presses his face against his palm as he does so. He maintains a composed expression, not wanting Flack to become aware of his churning emotions.
Those few mumbled words have convinced him that he's right in his inklings. He's nearly a hundred percent certain now that Danny's the source of the torment he's seen in Flack, that Flack must be in a relationship with the other CSI or something close to that. He's had that suspicion for a long, long time. Years, as a matter of fact.
It's a logical assumption. The entire lab was gossiping about the chummy friendship between Danny and Flack long before they'd known each other a year. Hawkes knows that tidbit of info since he has Stella to thank for updating him first thing on the latest tittle-tattle going around, an advantage of being Stella's favorite listening ear. It'd taken another year of distant albeit keen observation on his part later on for him to perceive the little gestures and glances that proved there was more than just friendship between Danny and Flack.
Flack liked to stare at Danny a great deal. Hawkes recalls that the most, as the staring was what made him take notice in the first place. Flack liked to stand very close to Danny too, whether it was in the laboratories or outside while they interviewed suspects and the likes, and Danny never objected to the breach of personal space. Ever. That, too, has made him wonder time and again about the two detectives.
But, most of all, it was the light in Flack's eyes whenever Danny was around that compelled him to mull over the thought of the two men being lovers.
It is the same light he's seeing in those blue eyes right now, staring back at him.
Hawkes runs his tongue across dry lips.
He has to know.
Before he allows Flack to possess his heart, he has to know the truth.
He sucks in a deep breath.
"Danny's on his way to Montana by now."
He can almost hear the shutters slamming close in Flack's mind, the walls bricked back up, the pain being jammed into a box and hurled somewhere in the recesses of the homicide detective's thoughts. He doesn't realize he's been holding his breath all this time till Flack turns his head away and glares at the ceiling, freeing him from that intense gaze.
There is an overwrought silence that spans for many minutes before Flack simply mutters, "He's got his own shit to deal with."
Hawkes' eyes widen at the bitterness in the other man's voice. This is the Flack whom he recognizes, the one he's used to dealing with. The problem is, he's finally seen Flack without his armor and masks. He doesn't like this old, shut-off Flack who is all stone and spitting fire.
What's said is said, he thinks, figuratively slapping himself on the forehead for ruining the mood. His brain fumbles for something, anything to slice through the renewed barriers Flack's constructed around himself.
Then, it dawns on him that his hand is still cupping Flack's cheek.
That Flack may be pushing away any discussion of Danny, but hasn't pushed him away.
The insight gives him enough courage to utter, "Are you and Danny …"
"He made his choice."
If the misery he saw in Flack's blue eyes made his heart hurt, the palpable agony he hears in Flack's whisper seems to cleave him in two. His hand slips down to wrap itself around one side of the younger man's long neck in a consoling gesture.
And it tightens, when he sees the way Flack's eyes are glistening in the moonlight streaming in through his bedroom windows and semi-transparent curtains.
A startling upwelling of anger burns Hawkes from the inside out. He grinds his teeth hard, lips pursed into a thin, furious line and suddenly, he envisions himself smashing a fist into a familiar face, plastic lenses and steel frame shattering under his clout. He imagines bone and cartilage breaking and tearing, blood spraying his hand, blue eyes scrunched shut from the impact.
What scares him the most about the violent image is the amount of satisfaction he feels just thinking about doing it.
Flack is staring at him again.
Hawkes wriggles up onto his elbows, moving his hand to rub along the length of Flack's closest arm and expansive chest instead. He remains hushed, letting his hand and eyes speak for him.
Eventually, Flack murmurs, "My old man visited me on the second day of my hospitalization."
Hawkes perks up. Surprise makes his eyebrows lift a bit, but it rapidly subsides. Flack wanting to talk about his father and his recovery from the explosion to him is pretty damn tame compared to them having had fantastic sex earlier on. He shifts onto one elbow instead so he can lounge on his side and face Flack too. Warmth fills his chest at Flack instinctively grasping his hand and fiddling with his fingers while he talks.
"I'd just woken up a couple a' hours. Was feelin' all woozy and numb, ya know? I was honestly thinkin' I was already dead or somethin', 'cause the last thing I remembered was a whole lotta fire and noise and this force that came outta nowhere … I was lyin' there in bed, and the first person I see is Mac, starin' at me and smilin' at me from ear to ear, and man, I tell ya, right there and then, I really thought I was dead 'cause the Mac I know, he doesn't know how to smile."
Hawkes laughs at that. As much as he respects his boss and friend, he does find Flack's portrayal of Mac as a man incapable of smiling to be rather humorous. It's true that it's one heck of a spectacle to behold the Mac Taylor displaying a full and genuine smile, much less laugh. It's the equivalent of seeing the trousers of the president or king of some country drop to the floor live on television. Not outright impossible, but very, very unlikely.
"I was surprised Mac was even there … I mean, he wasn't obligated or anythin'. Technically, he's not family so, yeah, took me a while to get used to Mac watchin' over me like a mother hen."
Hawkes notes the younger man's use of the word technically in relation to Mac and family. Mac is, without question, more than a suitable father figure to the homicide detective as well as other younger detectives and CSIs under the man's supervision. It says a lot to him that Flack does consider Mac to be like family, even if it's just to a certain extent. It also tells him a lot about Flack's feelings towards his real father.
"I was actually expectin' D-"
Flack's handsome face immediately goes blank. It is a jarring transformation from the former amicable expression that had lit up Flack's mien. The muscles of his chest goes rigid under Hawkes' palm. The CSI's fingers are crushed in the clutch of his hand.
For the second time that night, Hawkes feels the alarming need to plow his fist into somebody's face.
"Yeah. Mac was there when Pop came to see me."
Flack's voice has become as cold as ice.
"Thought they were gonna fight, ya know? Pop had the look in his eyes, and he was lookin' at Mac like he wanted to beat the shit outta him."
Flack lets out a mirthless laugh. It's an awful sound.
"I was … so high on drugs. And I still saw how pissed off he was … I don't remember whether they talked or not. Just that Mac gave my hand a squeeze or somethin' and then walked outta the room to give Pop some space."
Hawkes listens with honed focus. Flack fidgeting on the bedsheets and chewing on his lower lip tells him that discussing dear old dad is not easy at all for Flack. It makes him feel all the more honored that Flack chose him of all people for this particular disclosure.
"So there I was, thinkin' maybe this was it, maybe this was the moment Pop was gonna stop bein' such an arrogant asshole and just talk to me like he use-"
The homicide detective falls deadly silent.
Hawkes is quiet also. This is Flack's time of outpouring, and he's determined to hear the man out to the end, no matter how long it takes. It's become very important to him that he's there for the other man.
A couple more minutes tick by, and then, Flack says in monotone, "He said I was an idiot for stayin' in the buildin'. That I shoulda gotten out with the others while I still could, because that's what he woulda done."
Hawkes is so flabbergasted his mind goes vacant for a second. He places himself in the shoes of Flack's father and tries his best to visualize what he would be like and how he'd feel seeing his son lying comatose on a hospital bed, looking like death. He'd be traumatized and upset, at the very least. It's nothing at all like the callous bastard Flack's finely depicted. What kind of a jerk talks down like that to his son who almost died?
He mentally adds a second person to his fresh list of people he wants to pummel to a pulp.
Flack's snort yanks Hawkes out of his reverie of punching the senior Flack in the face.
"He told me I oughta get back on my feet a.s.a.p. 'cause he had this nice, big function goin' on in a few months' time, and he wanted his namesake to be present. 'Cause, ya know, it's good form to have his whole family there, show them he's a good family man, the law abidin' cop who keeps the American dream alive."
The caustic cynicism in Flack's tone is a minuscule improvement from the chilling flatness before.
"I told him I wasn't him … and he told me I'd be nothing if it wasn't for him."
Eyelids with long, dark lashes shut over glossy blue eyes.
"A fuckin' trophy. That's all I am to my old man."
Flack suddenly draws in a long, shuddering breath, one that ends in what seems to resemble a sob. The next few words float to Hawkes' ears in a rasping whisper.
"A fuckin' trophy … that's all I am to him."
Hawkes knows it isn't his heartless father Flack is referring to this time.
Without a word, he spreads his arms, an unspoken invitation to the younger man to take solace in him. He's more than prepared to be rejected, and he doesn't mind one bit if he is. He understands there is nothing more difficult for a man of pride and strength to do than to relinquish those very things.
There is more rustling of skin against cloth.
And Flack's hair tickles the underside of his jaw and chin.
Hawkes envelops his arms around Flack's lean torso, instantaneously stroking Flack's head, running his fingers through dark, thick tufts. He feels Flack's arms enclosed in a vice around his midriff. It's a sign that the homicide detective is still receptive towards him. It's a sign that even a man such as Flack harbors the need to be the one who is soothed. To be loved.
He rolls onto his back, bringing Flack with him. Now Flack is lying on top of him, a supple heaviness that pulses with life. Here in his bed, rid of their clothes, with nothing between them aside from bedsheets, height and status and the color of their skin are rendered irrelevant. Flack seems like a small boy in his embrace, with the brawn and mind of an adult man but the heart of a child who's never known the veritable love of a father. A good father.
The homicide detective's pain-filled words echo in his mind.
Words. Such little things with so much supremacy they have the capacity to change the entire universe. Bring freedom to the enslaved, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, illumination to those in the dark.
Split apart a man's soul.
Or heal it.
"No, Don. You're more than that, much more."
He senses the homicide detective's warm breath against his neck, a delicate brush of air that makes the skin there prickle with hypersensitivity.
"Ya think so, huh, Doc?"
The ends of Hawkes' lips curl upwards in a little smile that is an amalgam of relief and affection at Flack's accustomed, flippant tone.
"Yes. I do."
Hawkes means it with all his heart.
Upon his reply, Flack becomes limp and leaden, the tautness in his muscles vanishing in the blink of an eye. It is as if some great burden has lifted off Flack's shoulders, releasing the man from an age-old yoke of pretension and disregarded despair. Flack nuzzles into the crook between his shoulder and neck, and lets out a resonant sigh.
Hawkes massages the back of Flack's neck, squeezing away the last of the rigidity that's imbued the other man since their conversation began. Flack's talk of his father motivates him to contemplate about his own. His brown eyes crinkle in fond, bittersweet reminiscence of a burly laugh, sinewy arms and bear hugs and the reassuring, deep voice that rumbled into his ear as he's tucked into bed.
"I love you, my son. Always."
The avowal never fails to make moist heat cloud his vision. Even now, years and years after the very last time he heard it in reality. He'd loved his father more than anything else, and … he's yet to tell any of his colleagues about the man who'd taught him the greatest lessons in life all the schools he attended never could.
As he reaches down to tug the blanket higher up around their bodies, Hawkes figures it's an apt moment as any to finally divulge a piece of his past, to this man in his bed who has more in common with him than the guy knows.
"My mother died when I was five," Hawkes says, staring through half-lidded eyes at the ceiling of his bedroom. "I don't remember much about her, since I was so young at the time. It was just me and dad, the two of us in the Bronx … and it wasn't easy. Not for a single dad to care for a child while we were hovering on the poverty line."
Flack is stationary, but Hawkes knows the younger man is listening to him.
"My dad had to work at least two jobs to keep food on the table and me in school, and because of that, I never saw much of him. He was always out in the morning before I woke up, or he would come home so late I was already asleep in bed and too tired to wait up for him."
He chuckles softly to himself.
"One of the good things that came out of that was me learning real fast how to cook for myself, healthy food too. All my dad knew how to cook were TV dinners and pancakes and sausages and fried eggs."
He feels Flack's lips curve up in a smirk against his shoulder. Soon, his nostalgic expression becomes solemn.
"It went on for years, him working all day and night and me doing things on my own, and being a kid at the time, I didn't understand what he was doing for me ... I eventually started to believe that he didn't care about me, no matter what he said."
Hawkes falters in his narration, abruptly transported to another time and place that exists solely in his memories. He sees his father standing in the entrance to the kitchen, a stricken look on his lined mien. His dad's eyes are wide with alarm and dejection. He sees himself reflected in a mirror nearby, his immature teenage self dressed in the ghetto style still popular today, his face contorted in a rictus of rage, of frustration.
And in his grasp is a metallic weapon that still sends chills down his spine.
"I was young and stupid and lived only in the moment, without thinking about the consequences. I got involved with the wrong people at the wrong time. They convinced me that running with them was my gold ticket to a wealthy, happier future and they gave me a gun, telling me to use it if my father … if my father went against me."
There is a sudden obstruction in his throat.
"He was horrified at finding out I was about to quit school and join a street gang. Of course, he tried his hardest to talk me out of it. That was - that was when I drew out the gun."
He has to cough to clear his throat before he says, "I was angry. Just so angry at him … I thought he was a fool to slave his life away when we could be filthy rich in a matter of days by joining the gang. I wanted to show him how powerful I was now, that I didn't need him anymore."
His eyes shut on their own accord, though the action does nothing to ward off the memory of his finger pulling on the trigger, or the deafening blast that flung him backwards. He swallows the unanticipated bile that rises up his throat.
"The bullet missed his head by inches."
Flack's hand stroking his side gives him strength to go on.
"I was - I was in such shock, I didn't realize the shot had missed him. I saw him sprawled on the floor and I thought I'd really killed my own dad. And … I dropped the gun and threw up all over the floor … Later, after my dad took the gun away and cleaned me up, he brought me to his bedroom and took out this steel box I'd never seen before. He opened it up and showed me what was inside it."
Wetness forms unbridled in his eyes.
"There were … bundles of money in it, money that'd taken him years to earn."
He blinks, and there, he sees his dad kneeling before him, those giant, gentle hands on his trembling ones.
"Do you remember your dream of becoming a doctor, Sheldon? You told me a long time ago that you wanted to be a doctor to help people, to save lives and make the world a better place. Do you remember that? I never forgot, my son … See, this is the money I've been saving up, and there's more at the bank … By the time you finish high school, there'll be enough to help get you through the first few years of medical school … Don't worry about the rest, I'll find a way to earn the rest. It'll be alright, son, things will get better."
Hawkes inhales a shuddering, faint breath.
"All that time, all that time I assumed he was too busy working to spend time with me, that his work came first before anything else … and the truth was that he'd been sacrificing his life all along … for me."
He shakes his head on the pillow, threading his fingers through Flack's hair, the motion more for his own sake than the other man.
"Right there and then, I realized how weak I was compared to my father. I had nothing on him when it came to true strength … the gangs had nothing on him when it came to that. I can only thank God I turned back before it was too late."
He quietens, needing a few moments to moisten lips that have gone dry.
"What happened after that?"
Flack's inquisitive question chases off whatever lassitude had begun to seep into him. For some reason, it also buoys him. He didn't expect the homicide detective to be sincerely interested about his past.
"Threw myself into my studies," Hawkes responds with a smile. "Until my father showed me all the money he'd saved and gave me that talk about going to medical school, I never really thought I had much of a future. We were so poor at the time."
"The gangsters I used to run with tried to get me back in, but I wanted no part of it. They never came after me after my dad and I moved, so we counted our blessings, and started anew in another neighbourhood … When I graduated from high school, I succeeded in getting a scholarship, which, along with the money my dad saved up and whatever I was able to earn from my own jobs, was just enough to pay for my medical school fees."
"Bet that made your Pop happy, huh?"
Although he couldn't see Flack's face, he is very certain the man meant it without any mockery whatsoever. He can still feel Flack's lips arched up in a slight smile.
Hawkes chortles. "Yes … Though I have to admit there were times I wanted to quit."
"Why's that?" Flack asks into the groove of his collarbone.
"Discrimination and ridicule don't stop at high school."
Flack seems to mull over this, then say, "But ya made sure to kick their asses, right?"
"Oh, yes." Hawkes' visage lights up with a broad grin. "I was the top of the crop."
Flack's shoulders shake under his arm. "And modest too."
Hawkes laughs quietly along with Flack for a while. It is unbelievably liberating, this opening of doors to his past he presumed long closed, letting the light back into the secluded places in his soul.
"Bet that made yer Pop's day," Flack adds after some time.
Hawkes thinks about his graduation, standing on the stage to receive that piece of paper he'd worked so hard for, that degree that ensured a better future for him. A brighter future his dad had toiled for with blood, sweat and tears, without expecting anything in return.
"Yes … it did," he murmurs.
His father had appeared so pale, a sallow face in a crowd of vivacious ones. A heart attack has its way of debilitating even the most resilient of men. Nevertheless, it sure didn't stop his dad from attending the ceremony. The pride and joy in those old, wise eyes and the ear-to-ear smile had made every arduous incidence he experienced during his education worth it.
"He'd suffered a major heart attack a few months before I graduated," Hawkes says. "Against all the odds, he survived it, but his doctor informed me he only had a short time to live. He fought with everything he had so he could see me receive my degree in person."
He nestles his nose and lips into Flack's thick hair, and a small part of his brain commits its pleasant scent to memory. Persuades himself into believing that he's just smelling Flack's hair, and not drying his cheeks on the dark wisps.
"Three days later … he passed away."
For a long time, all Hawkes hears are his own shallow and long breaths. The silence permits him to recover his equanimity; he's dazed at how much it still hurts for him to directly acknowledge his father's death. It doesn't matter how old a person is when a beloved parent dies. It is excruciating all the same.
Then, Flack shifts onto his elbows and off Hawkes' upper body onto the bed next to him instead. In a reversal of their roles, the homicide detective is the one bestowing soothing touches upon him, caressing his upper arm in a manner that hints at Flack having done this quite often to someone else before.
"Hey, he got to see you achieve something great," Flack says in a mellifluous tone that belies his tough guy appearance. "He got to see his dream, and your dream, come true, right?"
Hawkes gazes into warm, blue eyes, and displays a genuine smile.
"Yes. He did," he answers with conviction.
Flack returns his smile with a kind, closed-lip one that strikes him to the core. All at once, he's comprehends why he's been so antagonistic towards Flack. All this while, and the answer was there in front of his face.
Flack goes alert at his name.
"If I've - if I've been acting all superior and shoving my intellect into your face all this time … I'm sorry. I didn't mean to behave that way," Hawkes says with a pang of guilt.
Flack stares at him, his handsome face revealing nothing to discernment.
"It was wrong of me," Hawkes hastily appends, "I don't know, maybe I felt threatened by you, but … I am sorry. It was very petty of me."
An amused smirk is twisting Flack's lips.
"Threatened? By me?"
Hawkes scratches at the side of his neck, grimacing a bit. "I know, that sounds strange, doesn't it? It's like I feel … small, whenever you're around."
Both of Flack's eyebrows shoot up.
"You're this - this confident guy," Hawkes explains. "No matter what happens, you're always calm. You don't let things get to you, and you don't let people push you around or force you to do things you don't want to."
He notes Flack has lowered his head, his eyes at half-mast, obscuring any obvious emotion. Intriguing, that Flack finds it difficult to accept heartfelt praise.
"And you don't need the approval of the world." Hawkes sighs heavily. "Not like me."
"What the heck's that s'pposed to mean?"
Flack's gaze is sharp.
"Without my education and my academic and professional achievements … who am I?"
The bed bounces while Flack wriggles on the sheets into a more comfortable position, half-laying on his stomach and leaning on one elbow.
"Hey now. You're more than that."
Hawkes smiles. It's ironic to have his own words said back to him. And Flack is right.
"Okay, I don't think like that all the time, only …"
"Only when I'm around, that it?"
Flack's voice is deceptively muted.
The smile disappears from Hawkes' lips, but not from his brown eyes.
"You make me doubt myself. You make me wonder how I can own the strength that you have. You make me wonder what I'm missing out in life, and the thought that I haven't really lived at all, for all I've done … that's a scary one."
"What?" Hawkes says in a blasé way.
"That's funny. I was gonna say the same things to you," Flack replies, still looking down somewhere at the vicinity of Hawkes' shoulder and his pillow.
Hawkes blinks a few times. "You were?"
The younger detective snickers. "Yeah. I'm just a guy with a high school diploma, Doc."
Hawkes angles his head on his pillow as he studies Flack's features. Flack? Threatened by his level of education?
He's never taken that into account before.
"It makes sense," Flack murmurs, raising his head at last. "Your dad worked his whole life to get you where you are, and you had to fight for it too. And you're not comfortable 'round me 'cause … I'm the opposite of what ya are."
A mild frown wrinkles Hawkes' brow.
"You resent me 'cause ya think I got where I am now thanks to my old man's influence -"
Hawkes is immediately surging upwards, his eyes wide in objection.
"No, that's not what I -"
"Hear me out, okay?" Flack's blue eyes are abruptly very old and tired. He presses a hand down on Hawkes' chest. "Please. I'm not angry at you."
With some reluctance, Hawkes lays back down on the bed, his attention fully captured by the younger man.
"I don't blame you if you do, ya know. I'm used to it anyway," Flack continues, running fingers through his hair in an agitated fashion. "I bet ya look at me and think I'm some popular guy at my precinct, am I right?"
Hawkes doesn't say anything. Whatever Flack is seeing on his face, it's already enough of an answer. It's challenging to imagine Flack as an ostracized person among his peers, what with his looks and his character.
"You have no idea how many of the cops whom I work with resent me … hell, some of them fuckin' hate me."
Flack releases a derisive noise from the side of his mouth at Hawkes' dumbfounded expression.
"Sheldon, c'mon. Why do ya think I hang 'round with you CSIs so much? You're a more fun bunch anyway."
The homicide detective huffs out a joyless laugh, then mutters, "S'what I get for bein' the son of the NYPD legend who's got hooks in everybody at the top … It doesn't matter what I do or what I say. Even when he's not there, he gets the friggin' credit for everythin'. Nobody takes me seriously, all 'cause a' some stupid presumption that I'm climbin' up the ladder thanks to my dad pullin' strings everywhere. Fuck."
Hawkes waits for Flack to open his scrunched up eyes, and says clearly, "For the record, I do not resent you, and I've never thought of you like that. I may not have gotten on well with you in the past, but I've always respected you."
There's a sparkle of amusement in those blue eyes.
"In the past, huh?" Flack inquires in frivolity.
"Well, considering what we've … done tonight, I think we're way past the 'acquaintances only' stage, don't you think?"
Flack's sole response is a toothy grin.
Reaching out one hand, Hawkes caresses Flack's cheek, sensing something magnificent blooming within him. It's something he hasn't felt in a very, very long time. In fact, he's not sure at all that he's ever felt it with such magnitude as he is right now.
And for one last time, he asserts, "This doesn't have to be anything more than what you want it to be, Don."
The light has returned to Flack's eyes.
"And if I want it to be more?" the homicide detective rasps.
Hawkes swallows once, then flicks his tongue out to lick his lower lip.
Danny's an idiot to have given Flack up, but he's fine with that. Danny's mistake is his good fortune.
The light in Flack's heart belongs to him now.
"Then … we'll see where we go from here, okay?"
With a whoop, Flack bounds onto him, forcing an "Oof!" out of him as Flack's entire body is molded to his from chest to thighs. As gangly as he is, Flack is no lightweight. Then again, Hawkes thinks to himself with an inward grin, he isn't either.
He encases his arms around Flack's chest and rolls them over so he's on top, squashing the man into the mattress in a playful wrestling match. It's apparent that Flack is enjoying it from the open-mouthed grin and the expression of boyish glee. The hardening length he feels against his lower belly, however, is the best proof of all.
"Still feelin' small, Doc?" Flack remarks, eyes still twinkling. "That's what ya get for not drinkin' yer milk."
Hawkes rears up onto straightened arms, hands flat on the bed, gazing down at Flack with a mischievous grin. He undulates his hips, rubbing his renewed erection against the other man's.
"At least I'm big in all the right places, right?"
His grin widens when Flack lets out a voracious laugh. The man is gorgeous when his shields are removed, a glorious star that ignites the black blanket of the cosmos with splendor and awe. He yearns to see Flack laugh again and again, and he laughs too, once it hits him that their days ahead will see to it that he has many chances to do so.
"Don't think I've forgotten the RNA and DNA thing, Doc," Flack whispers into his ear after their second session of lovemaking. "I'm gonna getcha fer that."
As he slithers his hand between their slick bodies to curl it around their insatiable cocks, Hawkes moves his lips against Flack's.
"Oh, yeah … I'm looking forward to it."
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