"How do you feel about spreader bars?" Harland Rawlings asked, his voice completely level and not betraying the slightest trace of emotion.
For several long seconds the room was entirely silent. Harland was even able to hear the faint sound of his white scene of crime officer's suit rustling as he tilted his head back to look up at the man looming over him.
Detective Sergeant Alasdair Grant frowned down at him in confusion. "What?"
Whichever way a man looked at it, it was supremely unfair that the guy could even make bewilderment appear hot as hell. Harland held back a sigh. "If you don't quit wriggling, I'm going to fetch a spreader bar from my locker," he informed the sergeant. "If I have to resort to fastening it around your ankles in order to keep you still, you're going to be stuck here for the rest of the day."
Rising from where he'd knelt at Alasdair's feet to collect a sample from the blood smear on the policeman's trouser leg, Harland stood up straight. That brought them to almost exactly the same height.
"I've already stood here half the damn day!" the sergeant complained, more than a hint of a Scottish accent creeping into his voice along with a good dose of barely repressed agitation.
"Well, if you insist on rolling around in evidence..." Harland muttered, turning away from him to file the latest sample in his case, alongside all the others he'd already taken.
"How much longer is this going to take?" Alasdair demanded.
"It'll take as long as it takes." It was the answer Harland always gave cops when they tried to rush him. And, Alasdair Grant was just another cop. Harland reminded himself of that one more time, just to be on the safe side, as he picked up another swab.
"I have a job to do."
"So do I," Harland snapped, as he glanced over his shoulder. "And my job is to collect the evidence--you know, all that neat stuff that you're going to rely on if the case ever gets to court."
Alasdair's eyes narrowed as he glared across the tiny office at him. He seemed to be about to say something else, but Harland had already heard more than enough. The cop wasn't the only man there who'd had a long day. Turning back to face Alasdair, Harland folded his arms across his chest and returned the sergeant's frown with interest, well aware that his features were far more suited to frowning than the other man's would ever be.
Stunning hazel eyes and neatly styled brown hair might be good for a lot of things, but glowering wasn't one of them. Still, Alasdair tilted up his chin as their eyes met and it was obvious he was doing his best with what he had. It was equally clear that he wasn't some novice little constable to be intimidated by a glare from an older man. When he offered another man his submission it wouldn't be from a place of weakness...
Harland pushed that thought out of his head as quickly as possible. "Let's get something straight," he said. "Until I clear the scene, all the evidence in it belongs to me and, right now, you're nothing more or less than evidence. Understand?"
Alasdair's jaw clenched. Harland watched the pulse race under the faint shadow cast by the other guy's afternoon stubble. That was pretty much the only kind of free movement the sergeant was permitted at that moment. His arms were required to be held slightly away from his body, his legs had to remain parted in order not to smear the evidence still clinging to his suit.
It took far more effort than Harland would ever have been willing to admit, for him to turn his head and look away from the image of Alasdair so gloriously helpless. He glared at all the samples he'd taken as if they had done something to personally offend him. It had to be him.
It had to be Alasdair bloody Grant. Of all the cops who could have tumbled in heaven only knew what while trying to arrest a suspect, it had to be him. It had to be the one man Harland had been itching to get his hands, and quite a few of his more interesting toys, on ever since the guy transferred down to the station.
Harland held back another pissed off sigh. If he could have told himself the other man was straight, or at least closeted, it would have been one thing. But no, Alasdair was out and proud, he just wasn't interested.
No, Harland's habitual frown deepened further than ever, that explanation didn't feel right either. Alasdair didn't seem uninterested, just... Harland shook his head slightly. He was damned if he knew what Alasdair was.
Picking up another swab, he ran it over the stain on the sergeant's shoulder with far more attention focused on the task than it actually required. This wasn't the kind of touch he had in mind while he daydreamed through the more boring moments of his day, and his thoughts inevitably turned to wondering if the sergeant gave good head or not. He certainly had the mouth for it. Strong and firm, with just a tiny hint of fullness in the bottom lip.
"You have a spreader bar in your locker?"
Harland replayed what he'd said to Alasdair inside his head. Hell, he really had said that, hadn't he? Holding back a dozen different curses, he raised an eyebrow at the other man, as if to say 'doesn't everyone?'
Alasdair held his gaze for a moment, before looking pointedly away as if thoroughly disgusted.
Great, Harland thought to himself. That was all he needed. First he had to forget he was already closer to forty than thirty, and develop some sort of stupid teenage crush on the other man. And now the guy probably thought he was some sort of perverted nymphomaniac. That was going to do wonders for his chances with him!
Sealing the evidence bag, Harland reached for another swab. It wasn't as if he'd ever seemed likely to get that blow job, but still it had been nice to think of the other man all tied up and ready to do whatever a more dominant man demanded of him. Believing there was at least a tiny chance of Alasdair being kinky enough to enjoy that had been fun.
As he continued his work, Harland was acutely aware of the other man's gaze following his movements, as if the cop wanted to make sure he wasn't getting up to anything he shouldn't while he swabbed and sampled his way over his body.
Finally all the surface work was done and the guy had dispensed with his blood stained tie before any of the scene of crime officers had turned up. Harland's next move was clear. He reached for the top button of Alasdair's shirt, careful to keep his expression completely neutral and all his movements professional.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Harland met the other man's eyes. There were a dozen different colors dancing in the hazel depths, but there was also a hell of a lot of anger waltzing with the greens and golds.
Harland glanced down at his own hands for a moment, and at the latex gloves that covered them. "You're wearing the evidence," he reminded Alasdair, his voice completely devoid of emotion. "I'll need to take it back to the lab to be properly--"
"I'm old enough to dress and undress myself," the sergeant snapped.
That much was true. The guy couldn't have been much younger than Harland was himself. Alasdair was undoubtedly old enough to do lots of things. Dress. Undress. Screw. Suck. Whimper. Beg.
Alasdair was mature enough to know what he was doing. Experienced enough that he'd know what he'd be getting himself into with another man. And he was old enough that Harland wouldn't have to worry about feeling like a cradle snatcher when he--
Mentally rolling his eyes at himself, Harland forced his mind back onto the job. "You're hands are covered in blood."
Alasdair lifted his forearms and studied his palms. They were indeed covered with all the same streaks and stains that Harland had photographed when he first started processing him. It was clear no argument could be made. Alasdair lowered his arms with obvious reluctance.
Harland reached for the top button of Alasdair's shirt once more.
The little bit of plastic slid neatly through the cotton hole. One by one, the others followed. The pale blue fabric fell aside revealing some stunning lines of muscle.
Harland quickly turned his attention to the cuffs of the sergeant's shirt. Those buttons offered no more resistance than the others. Stepping behind Alasdair, Harland carefully helped him out of the stained fabric and set it aside with all due attention to detail and conscientious consideration for any evidence that might be on it.
What Harland was very careful not to do, was stare in admiration at the half naked man before him.
He was a professional--a professional who had a reputation for doing a bloody good job and not taking flack from any cop that might carelessly contaminate his crime scene. He was not going to let that status slide just because Alasdair obviously hadn't been slacking off in the gym.
So he had a few muscles. Harland wasn't a teenage boy who'd just realized that he preferred to flick through magazine full of pictures of naked, muscular men rather than silicon enhanced women. He could do this.
Since the white coverall he wore was doing a sterling job of hiding his flourishing erection, Harland was even reasonably confident he could do it without Alasdair realizing how closely he resembled the actors in his favorite porn downloads.
Turning back to the sergeant, Harland calmly reached for the black leather belt buckled around the other man's waist.
Alasdair immediately put a hand out to stop him. "I'll--"
"Stay still!" Harland snapped.
"Isn't there someone else who could do this?" the sergeant asked, his hand still in the way.
"I can't be the top priority here." Alasdair's words almost blurred together as he seemed to rush to get them all out in one fell swoop. "There's a victim and a--"
"The victim is in with victim support. Willis won't even let Conrad in with her until he's calmed her down a bit, and one of my female colleagues will be collecting the evidence from her anyway. As for the sadistic bastard you decided to roll around in the evidence with, he's at the hospital. He's not my problem. You are. Deal with it."
"Hands by your sides!"
The order worked in a way that Harland was sure a polite request never could have. The rumors Harland had heard about the sergeant being in the military before he joined the police were entirely believable as he obediently snapped his hands to his sides.
Soldier. Harland repeated to himself. That rush to obey made him a soldier, not a submissive. Pushing any leather-clad ideas firmly out of his head, Harland deftly undid the other man's fly, as if he wasn't the least interested in what may lay behind it.
In that second, as the back of his hand brushed against the other man's crotch, interested stopped being the appropriate word.
Fascinated was far more like it. In that moment, he stopped doubting if he was reading the other man right. It was impossible to doubt that his desire was returned.
Suddenly, Harland Rawlings, the one scene of crime officer who could be guaranteed to take his work one-hundred-percent seriously and never break from his solemn expression, smiled.