Keeping One's Mouth Shut
"I love you." At the look of astonishment, the 'what the hell?' expression on his partner's face, he knew he should have kept his mouth shut. Why hadn't he kept his mouth shut? You would think someone in his 'capacity' as an international espionage agent would know better. He hadn't meant to blurt it out, but he couldn't stop himself. He couldn't bear to leave this unsaid for one moment longer.
"What?" The eyes narrowed and he made a quick check to see if a fist was clenching and unclenching, if an arm was in motion, just in case a blow was on its way.
To deny it would be to lie and what would one more lie be to his soul? He'd been soiling his soul for years, but not now, not with this, not with something this fragile.
"I said I love you."
The question caught him off-guard. He hadn't meant to fall in love with his partner, he'd never looked at another man in quite the same way, never wanted another person the way he wanted... there had been urges before and he'd reluctantly surrendered to them, but this wasn't an urge or a flight of fantasy or even a mistake. Not this time... until he saw his partner's face.
"It wasn't something I planned. It just happened. I'm sorry, I'll go now." He stood and moved, just moved. Out into the night, with its comforting blackness, enveloping and hiding him from the stares of strangers and friends alike. Out into the cold, hard, uncaring city, a city that hid behind bright lights the way he hid behind his own façade.
Why hadn't he kept his mouth shut? He'd destroyed the best thing in his life; on Monday, he'd go to Waverly and request a new partner, or possibly reassignment to another office. It would be easier to leave New York than meet his partner's eyes again, see that look of disbelief in them.
If he'd been the sort of man who cried, he'd have done so now, purged himself of the emotions, the love, and the need that made his skin feel electrified at the mere thought of those hands touching him. The concrete was as hard and unyielding as he'd once been.
The park was quiet this time of night and he almost wished a punk would jump him, allow him to rid himself of the shame and futility that roiled in his stomach. He found a bench, deserted and shielded just as his heart had once been, but no more.
The approach had been so quiet, he didn't even realize he wasn't alone until he looked over and saw his partner sitting silently beside him. How he tracked him down, just one more mystery to add to the laundry list of other mysteries.
"That's not what I meant."
"I don't understand." His confusion was real now.
"I meant..." The kiss was soft, unhurried, and unashamed. "...why did you wait so long to tell me? Blockhead..."
And suddenly there was absolutely no reason in the world to keep his mouth shut ever again.