Disclaimers and warnings: These characters are not mine; I am only using them for fun, not for profit. Please don't hurt me. This story is rated NC-17 and involves two men touching each other a lot, so if that bothers you, don't read on.

"You Were Always on My Mind" is a series set in the world of "The Fugitive" and "US Marshals". The main pairing is Gerard/Newman.

The first story takes place right after the conclusion of the hunt for Dr. Richard Kimbal.

Permission granted to archive at http://members.tripod.com/wtnsslist

Any comments, questions, or criticism can be sent to bwebb@frontierz.com



"I Guess I Never Told You"

by Barbara J. Webb

Chief Deputy United States Marshal Sam Gerard clinked his glass of Scotch against the raised glass in the hand of his teammate, Deputy Cosmo Renfro. "We got him, Sammy."

"Yes, yes we did, Cosmo." Taking a swig, Sam leaned back on the couch, his arm casually draped along the back, behind Cosmo. "Yes we did."

"You know what else?" Cosmo leaned in conspiratorially close.

Sam also leaned over, until their foreheads were practically touching. "What's that?"

"I think I'm really drunk."

Gerard nodded, pulling back. "Yeah, me too."

They were among the last scattered remnants of the party Cosmo had thrown at his condo, celebrating the capture - and subsequent release - of Dr. Richard Kimbal. Of the half dozen people still here, Deputy Noah Newman was the only one of their team still remaining - and he had disappeared from Sam's range of vision nearly twenty minutes ago. The rest of the stragglers were other marshals, mostly sprawled on furniture talking in low, somewhat inebriated voices.

"Newman!"

"Yes, Sam?" The kid's head poked out from the kitchen doorway. Sam thought it was awfully cute the way Noah called him by his first name every chance he got, now that he was a full member of the team. It was still new and exciting for him to be on relatively equal status with the team of marshals, and Noah was going through the phase they all did when they first started.

"What are you doing?"

Newman stepped out from the kitchen, drying a glass with a worn looking towel. "Just cleaning up a bit."

"Dammit, Noah, it's a party. Stop being useful." He waved his arm in an encompassing sweep of the room. "Hang out, mingle, have fun. And get me some more Scotch!"

"Sure, Sam." That calm, 'sure Sam' - it was always 'sure, Sam' or 'yes, Sir' or some other damn thing, said in that easy, agreeing tone. No order he gave could ruffle the young man, no demand was questioned, no amount of yelling called forth anything but that gentle confidence and eagerness to please with which Newman acquiesced to everything Sam asked of him.

Except once. Only once had he questioned Sam's leadership, spoken aloud his disagreement, and for that, it had taken a decision of Sam's that had almost cost Newman his life. If that bullet had only been off by a couple centimeters....

And then it had almost destroyed Sam's professional composure, almost broken the obsessive focus that took over his mind when he was on the hunt, almost made him question his own actions. He'd probably been a bit too hard on Newman - he'd had every right to be upset. And when Noah had looked up at him, pain in his eyes, looking for reassurance, Sam had simply closed up, pulled down the "Great Sam Gerard" mask, and given him 'the speech.' Sooner or later, everyone close to Sam got 'the speech.' The words themselves were never the same, but the message always was - toughen up; don't get between the "Great Sam Gerard" and his fugitive; if you can't keep up, then get off the train now. Some people - too many people - hadn't been able to keep up. Those that could were more than just co-workers, more than friends: they were Sam's family. Cosmo, Poole, Henry, Savannah, Biggs - and now, Noah.

He hadn't gotten off the train; he hadn't run. Instead, he'd been there still the next time Sam turned around, with another 'Sure, Sam,' his faith, apparently, still in tact.

But if Noah had managed to survive the situation unscathed, Sam wasn't sure he had. To see that gentle trust damaged - even if only for a moment - it had cut into Sam like a knife. He hadn't realized just how much he had come to appreciate that simple faith, to look for that absolute obedience, to rely on the calm, constant presence at his side. To look into Noah's eyes and see questions, pain, even a touch of fear - it was one of the reasons Sam was drinking tonight.

"Where's my Scotch?!" It was taking far too long, and Sam was simply not a patient man. He stumbled off the couch and into the kitchen, ignoring Cosmo's grumble as Sam knocked the back of his head with his elbow standing up.

In the kitchen, Noah had nearly all the cabinet's open, sifting through boxes, bottles, pots, pans, and other assorted cooking implements. His eyes flickered to Gerard as he stood, wavering, in the doorway. "I can't find it."

"Let me get this straight. You're an officer of the Unites States Marshal's office; you are trained to track criminals in all terrains, into dangerous situations, and to find them under any circumstances, and yet you cannot locate a simple bottle of Scotch? Move over." Pushing Noah aside, Sam began rummaging through the cabinet he had been standing in front of.

"There isn't any, Sam. There's none left on the bar, and none in here."

"Get back. You're just giving up to quickly." In the fifteen years Sam had known Cosmo, he couldn't remember a single time that the man had underestimated the alcohol needs of a gathering.

Noah backed off, standing by the sink, composedly watching his superior. "You're drunk." It was a simple statement of fact.

"What of it?" At the back of the cabinet, Sam found a half-empty, unlabeled bottle of a brown liquid. Pulling it out, he sniffed the content. "There, what did I tell you?"

There was a flicker of a smile on Newman's lips. "You were right, Sam. I should have listened."

"The big dog is always right." Sam took a long pull right from the bottle. "You hear that, Noah?"

"Sure, Sam." Noah came over, took Sam's arm. "Why don't we go sit down?"

"Are you trying to handle me, young man? I will decide when it's time to go and sit down." Flipping the bottle up again, Sam drank another few gulps.

Newman shrugged, as unruffled by Sam yelling at him drunk as he was Sam yelling at him sober. He wandered back into the living room, and Sam, lacking anyone left in the kitchen he could yell at, followed.

The remaining stragglers had cleared out, leaving only Cosmo stretched out on the couch. "Hey, Sammy, bring that over here; my glass is empty." Noah was sitting on the overstuffed arm of the couch, sipping a half-empty beer.

Trying not to stagger, Sam made his way back over to the couch, falling back on top of Cosmo's legs. "Hey!" Sam ignored the protest, but handed Cosmo the bottle.

"They all gone?"

"Yeah," Cosmo answered, resting one arm across his eyes as he tipped back the quickly emptying bottle of Scotch. "Just us left."

Noah stood back up, setting the beer bottle down on the coffee table. "You want any help cleaning up?"

Cosmo waved the bottle, making the last couple inches of liquid slosh around. "Naw, that's okay, Noah, I'll do it tomorrow."

"Okay. Hey, Sam, you want a ride home?"

Squinting at Noah, Sam rested a hand on the younger officer's thigh. "Are you all right to drive, young man?"

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"Go on home, Noah. I'll be fine here."

Newman hesitated, his eyes going back and forth between Sam and Cosmo. "Okay, Sam. I'll see you Monday."

Cosmo waited until the door was shut behind Noah's retreat before he spoke. "You really like that kid, don'cha, Sammy?"

"What?"

"You heard me." Cosmo jerked his feet out from under Sam, resting them back in Sam's lap. With a shaky hand, he set the Scotch bottle on the coffee table, releasing it slowly so that it didn't tip.

"Who, Newman?" Sam shrugged, reaching over to retrieve the bottle. "He's a good kid. Why?"

"Oh yeah, good kid. You know what? You are so damned transparent - you want him bad."

Gerard didn't answer, instead relaxing into the back of the couch. In one long swig, he finished off the remains of the Scotch. "Are you listening to me, Sam?"

"Yeah, I'm listening." Sam discarded the empty bottle through the simple process of dropping it on the floor. "I almost got him killed, Cosmo."

"You almost get all of us killed all the time. It's part of your charm." Cosmo kicked off his shoes, propping his feet up against Sam's shoulder. "And you know it's not like he thought he was going to be a librarian or anything; he's a Marshal, for god's sake. He signed on for danger, just like the rest of us."

Twisting around, Sam pushed off Cosmo's feet, then lay back against the other deputy, reclined comfortably between Cosmo's legs. When he didn't speak, Cosmo continued. "I can tell you like him. You keep snapping at him; it's so beautifully affectionate it warms my heart."

"You obviously need to be smacked in the head by a couple more beams. You're talking nonsense."

"You wanna know what I think?"

Even in Sam's Scotch-hazed state, that was an easy question to answer. "No."

"Well, that's too bad, because you're gonna hear it anyway. You been staring at that kid since he showed up, and so you might as well fuck him and get it over with. You're never happy when you want something you're not getting." Cosmo ran one foot down over Sam's torso over his crotch. "Nobody likes you when you're horny, Sammy."

"Cosmo, you're drunk."

"Nothing but truth at the bottom of a bottle." Sam jerked his head to the side as Cosmo reached down to ruffle his hair. "Besides, studly guy like you - kid's dying to have you. You see that look he gave us? C'mon, I've been around you long enough to know jealousy when I see it."

Sam almost asked Cosmo what he meant by that, but wasn't quite far enough gone to fall into that trap. Sam's brain, like that of every other member of the human race, was actually dulled by excessive alcohol, while Cosmo only seemed to get sharper. He'd learned long ago that trying to match wits with Cosmo while they were inebriated was an utterly lost cause.

So instead, he took one of Cosmo's feet in his hands and began rubbing it. "He's a subordinate. It's a bad idea to sleep with people who work for you - you tend to lose respect in the field. It's difficult to live in fear of a man you've seen naked."

"I can see how you might have that problem."

"What do I keep you around for again?"

"I wonder that myself, sometimes." Cosmo let out a groan as Sam's fingers worked deeply into the muscles of feet. "You are way too good at that."

Sam worked one hand up inside Cosmo's pant leg, massaging the muscles of his calf. "Years of practice."

"Fifteen long ones." Cosmo started to laugh, but Sam's touch turned it into more of a sigh. After all this time, Sam knew just how to touch him to make him do that. Old friends, and lovers for a good third of the time that they'd known each other. True, it had been the first third, but some things you just never forgot. "Fifteen years, Sammy; you ever feel old?"

"I am not old, so you can't be either." Cosmo's hands were on his shoulder, working in similar rhythm to Sam's. "Stop talking like that. You know you get maudlin when you drink."

"Ooh, big word. Maudlin, can you spell that?"

Sam turned over, pulling himself up so he was leaning down over Cosmo. "You've got an awfully big mouth, you know that?" Without giving the younger marshal a chance to respond, Sam dropped his head down to kiss him.

Cosmo's arms came up, one wrapped loosely around Sam's neck, the other against his shoulder, almost pushing against him. He gave himself over to the kiss, the way he eventually gave in to almost everything Sam demanded of him. Cosmo had been right; Gerard was horny.

But after a few minutes of this, Cosmo pushed harder against him and Sam let go. "I'm going to bed. Alone," he amended pointedly. He sounded tired. "You can sleep on the couch." He tried to work his way out from under Sam, but Gerard held him pinned.

"Maybe I don't want you to go."

Cosmo just rolled his eyes. "Oh, get over it, Sammy. If I thought for one moment you actually wanted me...well, I still probably wouldn't. I'm not that drunk. But it's Noah you really want, and I refuse to be a substitute." This time, Sam allowed himself to be pushed off. "Go to sleep. I'll see you in the morning."

Sam watched Cosmo wobble into the bedroom, waiting till his friend was safely out of sight before making his own shaky attempt to walk to the hall closet for a blanket. Out of habit, he double checked that the door was locked and his gun was safely within reach before lying back down on the thick, comfortable couch.

But he simply couldn't drive away, as he closed his eyes, the lingering image of Deputy Marshal Noah Newman and the look of shattered trust on his young face just following the death of a fugitive named Copeland.



The next morning, Sam took an inordinate amount of pleasure in the fact that Cosmo was suffering from a hangover whereas he felt just fine. But Cosmo did manage to drag out of him a spark of human compassion, and he agreed so stay and help Cosmo clean up - mainly because he couldn't think of anywhere else he had to be on a Saturday morning.

"You know what I think, Sammy?" Cosmo's voice called in from the living room.

"I'm washing your dishes; do I have to listen to you talk too?"

The deputy ignored the jibe, coming into the kitchen and hopping up to sit on the counter next to the sink. "I think you're just getting soft in your old age."

"Why am I suddenly working harder than you? Why is that?"

Cosmo shrugged casually, snagging a pretzel from a bowl that had been left out the night before. "These are stale. No, really, I mean it. Back when you were in your prime, you woulda grabbed him and fucked his brains out the first day he was on the team."

"Are we talking about Newman again?"

"Yeah, we're talking about Newman again. How many times do I gotta tell you: you're hot for him; he's hot for you - go for it."

Sam leveled a glare at his friend. "And that's why I'm the boss and you're not. It's a bad idea, and you know it."

"Hey, it certainly didn't hurt me any."

Sam wasn't about to even dignify that with a response. Instead, he splashed soapy water at Cosmo. "Get back to work."

"I'm not on the clock; I don't have to do what you tell me to do." Cosmo snagged another pretzel. "Seriously, Sam, what's wrong?"

"You don't listen very well, you know that? I'm his superior - completely ignoring the considerable ethical issues this presents, there is the fact that it makes for a sloppy working relationship, and we are not in a field where we can afford sloppiness."

"Yeah, maybe." Cosmo patted Sam on the back, sliding off the counter. "You just keep telling yourself all that, and maybe someone will start to believe it."

It was certainly a good story, but Cosmo was right about its inherent believability. As many excellent reasons as he could come up with for why he shouldn't chase Noah, that didn't make him any less attracted to the kid. And Noah wanted him - that was pretty obvious to Sam, and Cosmo's affirmation just solidified Sam's belief. The way Noah hovered around his shoulder, hung off Sam's every word, followed his only move with those big eyes: it was almost too adorable for words.

And it was all a really bad idea. There were many reasons why it was a bad idea for Sam to sleep with team members - the ones he said out loud were only the tip of the iceberg. The rest boiled beneath the surface, where Sam didn't have to think about them. He had all sorts of good reasons to avoid Noah - no since even worrying about his less than noble reasons.

But, as Cosmo had pointed out, not the first time Sam had done this sort of thing. Some relationships had gone better than others, but that was how life went, whether he was dating Marshals or not. Every person came with their own set of problems.

Of course, there was no need to ask for trouble. People were troublesome enough without asking for built in problems. But Sam liked Noah, liked him enough that all his excellent reasons for keeping their relationship on a professional level dissolved into smoke at the thought of having Noah for his very own.

 

"What have you got for me?"

Cosmo dropped a pile of folders onto Sam's desk, taking a seat beside them on the desk's edge. "Savannah and Bobby called from Leavenworth - said the prisoner transfer went smooth as silk."

"Excellent. And when will I get to see their shining faces in the office again?"

"They're on the first flight back tonight." Cosmo patted the folders. "I've got all the files you wanted on the Masucci case - looks like we're going to get to look after all three of the state's witnesses. Also," Cosmo handed him the loose papers between two of the folders, "Here's a copy of the press statement for you to check. I won't be at the staff meeting tomorrow -"

Sam looked up sharply. "Why not?"

"That seminar thing - Information sharing among law enforcement agencies-"

"In the 21st century," Sam finished for him. "Now I remember."

Cosmo stood up. "Good. That should do it. I'm out of here." He stopped at the door, looking back at Sam. "You know, it's after five. Get out of here before Walsh starts complaining about your overtime again."

Sam waved him away, bending back over his papers. By the time he took a mental breath, leaning back from his desk, half the lights in the main office were dark, but he had proofed the press statement, and made assignments he could live with to look after the Masucci witnesses. Renfro would take one team, Biggs the second, and Sam would be in charge of the third. That had been easy enough - it was the secondary allocation of manpower that had given Sam pause. After a great deal of deliberation, he had stuck Noah on his own team. This was a dangerous job, and Sam would only worry if he wasn't able to keep a direct eye on the kid; it was in Noah's best interest to be with the most experienced person. And if Sam had other reasons for wanting him there, well...Sam had enough faith in his professionalism to know that he was putting Noah on his team for the right reasons. If there were other, more personal reasons, then they were simply icing on the cake.

Satisfied with small amount of work he was leaving for the next morning, Sam shut down his computer and straightened up his desk. Flipping out the lights in his office, he took a serious look around the rest of the room through the glass walls of his office. Only one other member of his staff was still here - Deputy Marshall Newman - still bent studiously over his desk. Closing the door quietly, Sam came up behind Noah and lay a hand on the younger man's shoulder.

Noah jerked his head up, startled. "Sir?" Liquid blue eyes looked up at Sam, open and questioning.

"It's late. Go home." With a brief squeeze to Noah's shoulder, Sam pulled his hand back.

Newman didn't look away from Sam; there was almost a hopeful expression on his face. Even without Cosmo's assertion that the kid was hot for him, Sam would have been able to tell just what it was Newman was hoping for. But while that knowledge was fraying at the edge of Sam's professional detachment, Noah was still out of luck. Sam had made his decision. "I'm almost done here."

"And you're not winning any points with me by arguing. It'll all still be here tomorrow."

"Sure, Sam."

Sam crossed his arms, fixing Noah with a stern glare. "Don't 'sure, Sam' me; get up and get out of here."

The smile Noah gave him was almost enough to drive out every intelligent argument Sam had and induce him to push Noah down on his desk, run his hands over Noah's chest, ravish Noah's mouth with his....

Instead, he took Newman by the arm and propelled him towards the door, ignoring the younger deputy's protests. "I don't need baby-sitting," Newman insisted.

"I'll decide what members of my team need baby-sitting." It was good to know they were swinging back into active duty soon. Even the usually tedious task of witness protecting was looking sweet to Sam right now; ignoring Noah would be so much easier when he had actual work to be focusing on.

For the moment, Sam merely set his mind to shooing the kid out of the building, then going home to get some rest.



"How you doing over there, Cosmo?"

"Like a tiger in a cage, Sammy. I'll be glad when this is over. You're lucky your guy's done testifying."

"Just a few more days is all. Then you can go home."

"Right. I'll call you with any problems."

"I bet you will."

Sam hung up the phone. "Newman!"

"Sir?" Sam wasn't sure how it was the kid always managed to be right at Sam's shoulder when Sam wanted him, but he was beginning to get used to it, maybe even depend on it.

"You ready to get out of here?" Today had been the last day their charge had been needed to testify, so all that was left was for them to transfer him safely into the hands of the Marshals who would be escorting him to his new life.

"Packed and ready, as is Mr. Harmon."

After two weeks shut in a hotel room with Newman, Sam could identify completely with Cosmo's caged tiger reference. Rather than distract Sam from his attraction to Noah, it had only served to heighten his awareness of the deputy. Surrounded by the rest of Sam's garrulous team, the quiet young man tended to disappear into the background, but these past two weeks they'd only had each other to talk to - Mr. Harmon, in the manner of many cons who'd turned state's evidence, didn't seem to feel comfortable engaging in conversations with the Marshals.

In that time, Sam had discovered the gentle, wry humor that danced behind Noah's poker face; the quick, agile mind, more than capable of keeping up with Sam's leaps of logic and flashes of intuition; the keen watchfulness with which Noah observed the world, with nothing escaping his notice. The last two of those traits Sam expected in all of his Marshals, although Noah possessed them in an abundance that impressed even him. The first had been a welcome surprise. All three , combined with Noah's serene obedience and quiet trust were giving Sam more difficulty with keeping his mind focused on work than he'd had to contend with for years.

At least, that had been true when they'd just been sitting around baby-sitting. Now they had work to do, and Sam's mind locked into place. "Raymond, get the car ready for us in the garage. Aaron, make one more security sweep of our path." He adjusted his vest to a more comfortable position, slapped a full clip into his Glock. "Turner, make sure that escort is waiting for us." He continued to bark orders into his radio as he and Newman escorted Mr. Harmon to the elevator that would take them down to the parking garage.

"Car's ready, Sam."

"Escort's waiting at the exit."

"Decoy cars ready."

"Bravo team ready on the roof."

Two floors from the parking garage. "Aaron, you done with that sweep yet?" One floor. "Deputy Rounds, report." Instinct kicked in and Sam pushed Harmon into the front right corner of the elevator as the door slid open and the shots rang out. Newman was flat against the other wall and squeezed off answering rounds almost in unison with Sam.

"Sniper's got us pinned," Sam announced to his team. "Go to plan B." He slammed the button for the elevator door to close, unfazed by the bullets ricocheting off the back wall of the elevator.

"What's going on?"

"Somebody seems to want you dead, Mr. Harmon." The elevator doors slid shut far too slowly for Sam's taste. He glanced over at Noah, who was calmly checking the rounds left in his clip. "You okay?"

"Sure, Sam." Calm, solid, waiting for his next order.

The elevator stopped again, three levels lower in the garage. Noah poked his head around the edge, his gun straight out in front of him. "Clear, Sam." Gerard took Harmon by the collar of his shirt, pushed him forward.

They moved out of the elevator, both Marshal's keeping low behind the other cars. Noah stayed in front while Sam kept Harmon in hand. "Where's our car?"

"It's coming." No sooner had Noah spoken the words, but the sound of an engine approached. Sam stuck his head up over the Cadillac they were crouched behind, spotted the approaching vehicle.

"It's ours." They moved out to meet it, just as the doorway to the stairs swung open. Sam turned to look, but he was at a bad angle to shoot. Noah was quicker, and in a better place. Before the would-be assassin could even get his gun trained, Newman had let loose three shots - all three hit the man.

Pushing Harmon into the car first, Sam waited till Noah got in, then slid in and slammed the door behind him. "Let's go."



Sam came out of the airport security office, spotted Newman talking on the phone at the baggage claim desk. "Harmon's plane just took off. We're in the clear." He clapped Noah on the shoulder, full of the energy that always bubbled up inside him at the successful conclusion of a job. "They can shoot him when he lands. Not my problem."

Noah hung up the phone. "Our shooter was Isaac Skolnick. According to Chicago PD, he's been linked to the Masucci family - they think he might be one of their hired guns."

"Might be," Sam snorted. "Why wasn't he indicted along with the rest of the family?"

With a shrug, Noah grabbed his jacket from the counter. "Not enough evidence."

"Come on; let's get out of here."

Noah nodded, followed Sam through the airport terminal. "Doesn't matter anyway. He was DoA at the hospital."

"One less bad guy to bog down the system." Noah didn't answer, and Sam looked over at his deputy. The kid's jaw was clenched, his eyes fixed ahead of them. "It was a clean shoot, Noah."

A half-smile was directed at Sam, but it didn't spread to the rest of Noah's face. "Yeah, I know."

"Okay." Sam gestured to one of the countless fast food kiosks that littered O'hare. "You want to get some coffee?"

"No, I think I just want to get home."

Sam didn't know what Noah's problem was. After a successful assignment, the last thing Sam wanted to do was just go home. "What's up, Newman? You've locked inside for two weeks; surely you can think of something better to do than just go home. Live a little. We did our good deed for the day - time to go have some fun."

The young deputy didn't answer, just continued walking. "Noah, is something wrong?"

"No. Nothing. I'm fine." But there was a tension to his voice, echoed in the way he was walking, as obviously out of place in the usually tranquil young man as a fox in a henhouse.

"Don't lie to me."

That only earned Sam an annoyed glance. "Just drop it, Sam, okay?" Noah had practically raised his voice.

"If there's a problem-"

"There's not." Noah increased his pace. "I'm just going to get a cab. I'll see you tomorrow."

That answer wasn't good enough for Sam. He caught Noah's arm, pulled him around so he was facing Gerard. "You aren't going anywhere until you tell me what's going on. I at least want fair warning if something's going to be affecting your performance."

The accusation looked like it stung Newman. "Nothing's going to be affecting my job. I'm fine. It's...it's personal, okay?"

"What kind of personal?"

Noah opened his mouth, then stopped and took a deep breath, relaxing under Sam's hand. The tension, the anger, were gone, replaced by the Noah Newman Sam recognized. "The kind of personal that means it's something I need to deal with by myself."

Sam wished Cosmo were there - he was usually so much better with people than Sam. He'd know what the best thing to do would be, whether to push Noah to talk about whatever was bothering him or let him go to sort it out on his own. While Sam understood that everybody had personal problems, he didn't like it when his team members were suffering from stresses of which Sam didn't know the cause. Theirs was a tense enough job as it was without keeping things bottled up inside that didn't need to be.

But Noah was a pretty stable kid, and Sam was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He'd been solid as a rock these past two weeks, and if he was letting his problems show through when he was technically off duty, Sam couldn't really call him to task for it. "Okay. But if you change your mind...." Sam would send him to talk to Cosmo.

"You wouldn't understand."

Now that was a challenge. Even if it were probably true, Sam couldn't let it go. "You don't know that. I might understand."

"Sure, Sam." The half smile, so clearly a 'whatever you say, Sam' look could only have been something Noah picked up from Cosmo. Obviously, he was a bad influence on the boy. Then Noah looked away, a gesture that was almost surrender. "Okay. Let's go out."

"Was that so hard?" Sam slapped Noah on the back. "Come on; first drink's on me."

Noah was quiet as they went to retrieve Sam's car from the security lot, where it had been left for him earlier that day. It had been a surprise to Sam, in their two weeks shut in together, just how much Noah actually had to say when given a chance. He was always so quiet at work, always listening, but when no one else was there to take the floor, the boy opened up and proved himself to be both insightful and articulate. But Sam knew that when Noah was quiet, it meant Noah was thinking, and Sam wondered if the boy was still stuck on whatever it was he didn't think Sam would understand.

They got into the car, and Sam started the engine. "So where are we going?" Noah asked.

"I haven't decided yet." Sam looked over at his deputy, about to make the incredibly magnanimous gesture of asking if Noah had an opinion, when Newman leaned across the distance between them and settled his lips against Sam's in the lightest hint of a kiss. It was a completely unexpected gesture, and it took Sam's mind a moment to process the fact that it was happening.

Noah pulled back slightly, searched Sam's face, then leaned back in for a deeper, more intrusive kiss. Sam's brain unlocked, and his hands locked on Noah's shoulders, pulling him closer. The kiss lengthened, strengthened. Noah's tongue ran along Sam's lips, silently asking permission to enter, and Sam sucked it into his mouth, twining his own tongue around it. Every single reason Sam had to keep his hands of Noah seemed to dissolve under the pressure of Noah's lips against his.

"I have drinks back at my place." The words were muffled by the presence of Noah's mouth, but still discernable. There was no verbal response from Noah, but he nodded and slid his arms around Sam. "Noah, let go." Obediently, Noah pulled back. "I can't drive with you on top of me."

"Sorry."

Sam took Noah's chin in his hand, brushing his thumb down his deputy's cheek. "No need to apologize."

"Yes, sir." Newman fastened his seat belt as Sam backed the car from its parking spot. "You know, I don't normally do this," the young man announced as they pulled onto the highway.

"You don't normally do what?"

"This. You know."

Noah's shy smile seemed a bit out of place after he'd just jumped Sam, but so very Noah it was endearing. It brought out a small spark of pity in Gerard. "Pick people up in airports?"

The smile widened, filled out with some amount of self-deprecating humor. "Right. That - it's not something I do a lot of."

A confession that was hardly shocking to Sam. "I don't know how you could; you never leave the office unless I drive you out. You don't have the time to go picking people up at airports - or anywhere else."

"Are you telling me I work too hard, Sam?"

"No, I'm saying you work too much. There's a difference. You don't see me in there till all hours of the night when we don't have any open cases."

"I've just got a lot to learn." Another of those mild answers Noah specialized in, that weren't either agreement or contention, simply a soft 'I'm not going to argue about this.' It frustrated Sam every time Noah sucked the wind out of his arguments like that.

But Sam was in too good a mood to let Noah's verbal elusiveness bother him unduly. "Well, it's okay. I do this a lot."

"Get picked up at airports?" Noah's expression was one of innocence, but Sam had learned to look for the sparkle of laughter in those baby blues. He reached over and ran his palm lightly over Noah's head, brushing his fingers through the silky hair pulled back into a short pony tail.

"Pick people up...anywhere."

"Really?" Noah tilted his head against Sam's hand, like a cat leaning in to be rubbed. "I didn't know that. I always figured - well, you're so serious at work, I always assumed...I guess maybe I shouldn't have."

Sam flicked a finger against Noah's ear, ignoring Noah's protest of the treatment, then brought his hand back to the wheel. "Is there something you're trying to say?"

"Not really, no. Just talking. I'm actually a little nervous."

That pulled a laugh from Sam. "Nervous?"

"Yes, sir. A little, but as long as one of us knows what we're doing, then there's probably no reason to be." Despite his words, Noah still looked nervous.

"No reason at all." He pulled his hand away from Noah's grip as the young deputy tried to bring it to his mouth. "Not while I'm driving, Noah."

"Sorry, Sam."

They pulled into the parking garage that belonged to Sam's apartment complex. Pocketing his car keys, Sam grabbed Noah as the young man stepped out of the passenger side, pushed him back against the car and pressed his mouth to Noah's. His hands on either side of Noah's face, he held the deputy's head still as their tongues danced against each other.

"Come upstairs." Noah followed Sam up the stairs to his apartment, slid his hands lightly around Sam's waist as he unlocked his door. Sam pulled Noah in when the door swung open. "You still want that drink?"

Noah hesitated, studying Sam. "I don't know; do I?"

"It's not a trick question."

"Sure it is. You might be telling me you'd rather I didn't."

"No, I'm asking if you still want a drink." Sam brushed his knuckles under Noah's chin. "If there were an answer I was looking for, I would tell you."

Noah's smile was a bit unsteady, and so was the hand that covered Sam's. "Yes, actually, I would like a drink. A screwdriver?"

"Okay."

He fixed Noah's drink and a Vodka Collins for himself. Noah was on the couch when Sam returned from the kitchen, his jacket draped over a chair. Sam sat down next to him, handed him the drink Sam had prepared. The screwdriver didn't last long; it was gulped down by the deputy. "Sam-"

Gerard was tired of talking. He leaned over Noah, pushing him back so the younger man was reclined back against the couch's arm, Sam on top of him running his free hand up under Noah's shirt while he worked his tongue into Noah's mouth. Beneath him, Noah was shaking slightly; the hand that held the empty glass fumbled around, trying to find a place to set it down. Sam took the glass from Noah, set it aside next to his own.

"Sam."

"What is it, Noah?"

The boy was squirming under Sam's hands, rubbing his body against Sam - once again reminding Gerard of an affection-starved feline. "Shouldn't we move into the bedroom?"

"If you want to." Sam hoped Noah wasn't one of those people uncomfortable with sex anywhere but in bed. That was something they would have to work on if -

The rational circuits in Sam's brain cut that thought off before it could be completed, before it blossomed into thoughts of future sexual encounters with Noah. Now was the time for thinking about now. Later would be the time for thinking about later.

Once in the bedroom, Noah looked somewhat unsure of himself, which was just fine with Sam. He knew exactly what he was doing, and it would only lead to arguments if Noah had his own plan. Deputy Newman was fiddling with his tie, loosening it far too slowly for Sam's pleasure. He reached over and tugged at the knot, undoing it just enough to pull the loop over Newman's head.

"Hey, that's my nose." Any further objection was stilled by Sam pushing Noah down onto the bed and locking his mouth against Noah's neck. He had the rest of Noah's clothes off him with careless haste. "Sam," Noah breathed, his shoulder lifting off the bed as Sam's hand brushed against it.

"Yes, Noah?" Sam worked his way down Noah's chest with teasing bites and swirling caresses with his tongue.

"I feel kind of naked."

Sam chuckled, flicked his tongue along the line of skin where Noah's thigh met his hip. "You are very naked, young man."

"Oh, I...mmm...yes, sir, I know that. I was only...."

Sam kneaded Noah's thighs with his fingers, ran his tongue up Noah's straining erection with one flat stroke. "Speak up." Noah's hands were resting on his shoulders, not quite pulling.

"Sorry." Noah took several deep breaths, and Sam took a small amount of pity on the boy, pulled his head back. This seemed to help Noah focus a bit. "I was just saying that - I'm naked and you aren't. I feel a bit...um...vulnerable."

"I see." Moving his hands up the back of Noah's thighs, Sam pulled the head of Noah's cock into his mouth. He swirled his tongue around, then pulled back again. "Is that a problem for you?"

Noah shuddered as Sam took his entire length into his mouth. "I guess not. Vulnerability can be-" His sentence broke off into a whimper. Sam pulled back, traced a finger along the vein that ran up the underside of Noah's shaft. "Sam, oh yeah, Sam." Sam followed the shape of Noah's cock with his tongue, repeated the treatment on Noah's balls. Noah's hands on his shoulder tightened. "Sam, no, wait."

Sam stopped, looked up at Noah's face. "Something wrong?"

"This isn't - I was hoping-"

"What do you want, Noah?" He ran his hands over the quivering flesh of Noah's flat stomach.

"What are my options?"

Sam moved up to lie next to his deputy, absently rolling one of Noah's nipples between two fingers. "Do you really need me to explain this to you? There are three fundamental approaches to sex, each having multiple variations-"

"Yes, sir." Noah rolled his head over to kiss Sam. "Thank you; I know that." He sucked in his breath as Sam squeezed the nipple harder. "Are there...is there anything that's not an option?"

"Maybe." Sam rolled over on top of Noah. "Why don't I just fuck you?"

Noah's voice was weak when he answered. "That would be fine." He pulled Sam's head down and locked his lips against Sam's in a desperate kiss. "Please," he whispered hoarsely.

Sam fumbled around in his nightstand drawer for condoms and lube. He saw no need to waste time with clothing that wasn't directly in his way, just kicked his way out of the clothes covering the lower half of his body. Noah's hands wrapped around Sam's waist, trying to pull him into Noah. Taking a hold of Noah's wrists, Sam penetrated him, leaning down over the chest that arched up to meet him. Noah tried to hold onto Sam's hips, move him faster, but Sam moved his deputy's hands up over his head, holding them there as he thrust into Noah.

Noah had never looked more beautiful to Sam, with his eyes wide and cloudy with pleasure, his neck straining as his head tilted back, his lips pressed tightly together. "Sam, please...."

"What is it?" he whispered against Noah's ear.

"Touch me." Sam arranged his grip so that he had both Noah's wrists in one hand, the reached down and began stroking Noah's cock in rhythm with his thrusts.

They were both too close to the edge for it to last long. When Noah came, calling out Sam's name, Sam let himself go. He dropped down to his elbows over Noah, leaning his forehead against the bed. As the waves of his climax dissipated, Sam rolled over to stretch out next to Noah, taking an extra moment now to pull off his shirt and tie.

The young man wrapped himself around Sam, nestled his head against Sam's shoulder. It was a comfortable feeling, and Sam didn't offer any objection, falling into the sleepy lassitude that generally followed close on the heels of an orgasm. "Wow," Noah murmured against Sam's chest. "It's been quite a day."

Sam couldn't keep the smug grin off his face. "Yes it has. Pretty God-dammed great."

"Great. Not exactly the word I was going for."

Sam tilted Noah's chin up to look into his face. "And what word would you use?"

A slow smile spread across Newman's lips, and he ran his fingers down the side of Sam's face. "Weird, maybe. I killed a guy and had sex with my boss." His voice quavered slightly on the word 'killed.' "Two firsts."

It was tempting for Sam to just close his eyes, drift off. Generally, he was not at all in favor of post-coital talking, but Noah wasn't just another pretty face on a barstool. He was one of Sam's Marshals, part of his team, and if there was something bothering him then Sam should probably find out what. "So?"

"So?" Noah sounded confused.

"So...what? What's weird?"

"Oh." Now Noah was drawing random patterns on Sam's chest with his index finger. "I was just thinking."

Sam brought up the hand he had wrapped around Noah's shoulders, gently worked the rubber band out of Noah's hair. "I've noticed you think a lot."

"Isn't that a good thing?" Noah sighed and lay his head back down on Sam's chest. "I shot a guy today."

"He was a bad guy. He would have killed you."

"Yeah, I know." Sam continued to brush his fingers through Noah's freed hair, waiting for Noah to say whatever it was he needed to say so Sam could go to sleep. "But still, he was a person. He came out the door and I pointed my gun at him and squeezed the trigger three times. I killed him. I've never done that before."

"Is this what was bothering you earlier?"

Noah nodded. "It's just - he's dead." The deputy flattened his hand against Sam's chest, rubbing in a circle. "Did it bother you the first time you killed someone?"

"No."

"You're a hard man, Sam."

There was still the hint of a shake in Noah's voice. "Why don't you take tomorrow off? It's been a long couple weeks. Everyone else is still out on watch - they'll be nothing to do."

"What about you? Are you going to work?"

"For a little while."

Noah's fingertips skated across Sam's skin; it was a soothing touch. "You want to have dinner or something tomorrow?"

As well as Sam knew two wrongs didn't make a right, as well as he remembered all the reasons why a relationship with his deputy was a bad idea, it was impossible to say no to those searching blue eyes. "We can have dinner." Noah was silent for a while, and Sam figured the conversation was over. He kept stroking Noah's hair, running the fingers of his other hand idly up and down Noah's arm. One of Noah's legs was draped over Sam's, his head tucked neatly in Sam's shoulder. "Sam?"

"Yes, Noah?" This time, Sam didn't even open his eyes, hoping the boy would take the hint.

No such luck. Noah leaned up on Sam's chest, resting his chin on his folded arms, looking for all the world like someone settling in to talk. "You know, I didn't really plan this."

"Plan what?"

"Sex - with you. I mean, I've been," Noah looked away from Sam's eyes. "I've been attracted to you."

Sam snorted. "Is this supposed to be a surprise?"

It didn't seem as though it had occurred to Noah Sam might have been aware of his attraction. "How did you-"

"You were a bit transparent. I noticed. Cosmo noticed. He said I should just grab you and take you on my desk."

Noah's eyes widened. "He said that? You two - you talked about me?" Sam nodded and Noah lay his head back down. Again, Sam had hopes this meant Noah was ready to be quiet for the night, and again, Noah's mind was off in another direction. "Do you really pick people up all the time?"

"Yes, I do." The kid's energy was infectious, and Sam couldn't quite bring himself to reprimand Noah for not letting Sam sleep. "All the time."

"Isn't that dangerous?"

"Newman, I spend my life apprehending armed, dangerous felons."

The unspoken 'don't be dim' didn't seem to phase the young man in the least. "But doesn't the lifestyle - well, I guess I can see your point. Doesn't it ever get, I don't know, kind of lonely?"

"Not really, no."

Noah shifted again - Sam couldn't figure out how could someone as generally laid back as Newman could be so restless in bed, but the new movement left Noah's leg wedged between his, putting a warm pressure on his genitals. It was almost enough to wake Sam back up. "I bet you can't remember how many men you've slept with."

Noah's tone was one of genuine curiosity, not criticism. "Nope. Can't. What about you?"

Now the smile he gave Sam was almost sheepish. "Including you? Four," he answered after Sam's nod.

"Four including me. How old are you?" Sam wouldn't have believed it if it hadn't been inconceivable that Noah might lie to him.

"I'm twenty-four," Noah protested. "And two of those were relationships that lasted a while. It's not like I've only had sex four times."

Noah was moving again; his leg was noticeably moving against Sam's cock, although Sam was fairly certain it wasn't being done on purpose. Or maybe it was. Difficult to say what was really going on behind Noah's beatific smile. "The other one - the one that wasn't a relationship - was that your first time?" What was it about Newman that not only had Sam still awake without protest, but actually asking questions?

"Nope. My first time was with a guy that I kept seeing for a while - several months. He was, well I was from a small town, and he was the only gay person I knew. Older guy, in his twenties - I was just barely eighteen. He wasn't really my type, but I kept seeing him because there wasn't anyone else. It always felt a little strange, because I knew I wasn't really that interested in him. Guess I was just as happy when I went off to college and had to break it off."

This time, the movement of Noah's leg could only be deliberate. He was squirming against Sam, and Sam's body was responding. "What are you doing, young man?"

Noah simply smiled sweetly and began to slide down Sam, taking Sam's growing erection into his mouth. He stayed there a moment, letting Sam get used to the velvet warmth of his mouth, then pulled back. "Is this okay?"

"That's the stupidest thing I've heard out of your mouth yet today. Of course it's okay."

"Oh. I was just wondering."

Sam caught Noah by the hair before he took Sam back into his mouth. "Wondering what?"

"Well, about what you said earlier. About some things not being an option." Shaken, unsure, aroused, and still nothing seemed to get past the young deputy.

"No, this is fine." Sam released Noah's head.

Newman went back to coaxing Sam's cock to full hardness - hardly a difficult task, and then lifted his head again. "So what isn't fine?"

"Just keep your mind on what you're doing." Sam's palm exerted light pressure on the back of Noah's head, encouraging him in the right direction.

Noah didn't seem to get the hint. He lay his cheek against Sam's thigh, apparently settling in to talk some more. This was beginning to get frustrating - Sam hated not getting what he wanted when he wanted. "Noah, is there some reason you don't have my dick in your mouth?"

"Just thinking. What is it you don't like?"

At that moment, Sam could hardly think of any question that could be less relevant. "I'll tell you what I do like, what I would like, and that is for you to continue that blowjob."

"Sure, Sam." Noah bent his head back down and began sucking in earnest, curling his tongue around Sam's shaft as he moved up and down. But again, maddeningly, he stopped. "Why can't you just tell me?"

"I don't like to get fucked. It's as simple as that." Sam didn't bother hiding the edge of annoyance in his voice. If Noah had been acting this way at work, Sam would have yelled at him two questions ago. As it was, Noah was pushing the envelope.

"Hmm. That's too bad."

Sam was ready for the conversation to be over, but not on that note. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Oh, nothing. Just...I think it's...I guess that you're just missing out."

That was the last straw. Two things Sam didn't need from any member of humanity, much less his deputy, were arguments or pity. With a knee under Noah's chest, Sam pushed him up off the bed. "Go home, Noah."

"What?" The young man looked utterly poleaxed. "Sam?"

"I said go home. I'm tired of you keeping me up."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean-"

Sam rolled over so he was facing away from Noah. "Go home."

"Sam, whatever I said-"

"Deputy Newman!" The barked name brought Noah up short. When Sam used that tone of voice, no one argued with him. "It is time for you to leave my apartment."

"Yes, sir." Meekly, Noah gathered his clothes and fled.