John Munch put aside the last piece of paperwork on his desk. He stretched. His partner, Brian Cassidy, had left long ago, which was probably a good thing. Lately, Munch had been finding it difficult to concentrate on work when Brian was around. Not long after they'd started working together at the Special Victims Unit, John had realized that he was very strongly attracted to the young man, and it was making him just slightly crazy.
A few days ago they'd been working on a case in which the victim was a wealthy businessman with a voracious sexual appetite. Brian had noted the age of the victim, just over fifty years old, and commented "He had a lot of energy for a guy his age." At the glare their Captain had given him, Cassidy had added, "Hey, I'm sure you and John have plenty of energy, too." John had found himself wishing he could demonstrate to his partner just how much energy he had.
His feelings toward the younger man weren't entirely physical. He was genuinely fond of Cassidy. Brian was intelligent, insightful, had a sense of humor and was a good cop, or he wouldn't be part of the SVU. In an odd way he even seemed protective of Munch, which was a role reversal John hadn't expected. When they had gone to investigate a frantic phone call from Sonia, a Russian call girl, and had discovered bloody footprints leading to her apartment, Brian had drawn his gun and moved in front of his partner, as if he were trying to shield him from whoever or whatever they might find waiting for them. Later, they had been questioning a suspect, and when the man had given a flippant answer to one of Munch's questions, Cassidy had stepped forward almost menacingly and said in an icy tone, "Are you *mocking* him?"
Munch found himself thinking of the times he had crossed paths with Lenny Briscoe, both back in Baltimore and here in New York, and how Briscoe had always been partnered with very handsome younger men, first Mike Logan and then Rey Curtis. He wondered if Lenny had thought about his partners the way Munch was thinking about Cassidy.
Thinking this way wasn't going to get him anywhere, Munch decided. He'd go have a beer and maybe find a woman to flirt with. He grabbed his coat and headed out to the nearest bar.
When he arrived at O'Malley's, he discovered his partner was there, and he seemed to be literally crying in to his beer. He approached the younger man. "What's happening, Brian? Why the long face?" he asked.
"Olivia," said Brian with a sob.
"Detective Benson? What about her?"
"I slept with her," answered Cassidy.
"And this is a problem because?" inquired Munch.
"She doesn't want to see me again."
"Doesn't want to see you? She sees you every day at work. How can she not see you?"
"I mean, she doesn't want to go out with me. It was a - a fling. A one-nighter. It didn't mean anything to her."
"And you didn't know this beforehand," John commented.
"No! If I'd known I wouldn't have done it. I don't do one-night stands, John. It's not me."
Munch put his arm around his partner. "I'm sorry, Brian. Women can be cruel sometimes. Believe me, I have plenty of experience in that department."
Brian signalled the bartender to bring him another drink, then leaned in to John, startling him. The bartender approached the two men. "You're cut off, buddy. You've had enough," he said to Brian.
"Aw, c'mon man, I'm just getting started," whined Cassidy.
Munch got up. "I'm his partner. I'll take him home," he told the bartender. He threw some money on the bar and hoisted Brian to his feet. The younger man was rather unsteady, which meant that Munch had to keep an arm around him as he escorted him out of the bar and to his car. When he had Brian securely seatbelted in, he got in to the driver's seat and then realized he didn't know where Cassidy lived. He supposed he could look through his wallet and get his address from his driver's license, but somehow the idea of going through his partner's pockets didn't appeal to him. Well, in that case, he'd have to take Brian home with him.
As he started toward home, he noticed that Brian was leaning on him again. "Brian, you're making it kind of tough for me to drive, here," he said in a gentle tone.
"Oh. Sorry," said Cassidy, but he didn't move. "Love you, man," he said.
Munch swallowed hard. "Er, that's nice, Bri," he answered.
"You're a good partner, man. Like, the best," Brian continued.
"Thank you, Brian. You're a good partner, too."
Brian sat up a little so that he could look at Munch. "You're not just saying that, are you?"
"No, I'm not just saying that," John answered and patted the younger man's leg.
"Good," said Brian, and leaned back against the seat, this time not on his partner, for which Munch was both grateful and sorry at the same time.
They finally arrived at Munch's home, and John managed to escort his partner upstairs and into the apartment without making too much noise and waking his neighbors. He deposited Brian on the couch, removed his shoes and jacket, then rummaged around until he found a blanket, which he draped over the young man. He went in to the kitchen, poured a large glass of water and gave it to Cassidy. "Drink this. It'll help the hangover," he ordered. Brian did as he was told.
"Okay, kid. I'm going to bed. You sleep here. Bathroom is down the hall on your right. If you get sick, try not to puke on my carpet."
Brian grabbed John and tried to pull him down on the couch with him. "Sleep wi' me," he mumbled, trying to kiss his partner. Munch pulled away reluctantly.
"Brian, you're drunk."
"So?" Cassidy asked.
"So, you're drunk and I'm not going to let you do something you are going to regret in the morning. Now go to sleep."
"Fuck you," said Cassidy.
Don't I wish, said Munch to himself. Out loud he said, "Good night, Brian." He went in to his bedroom and shut the door, hoping that the man on the couch in the living room wouldn't hear him jacking off.
When his alarm went off the next morning, Munch swore. Then he remembered the events of the previous night. He pulled on a robe and went in to the living room to wake his partner. He hesitated for a few moments, watching him sleep. Damn, but he's beautiful, John thought to himself. Then he gently shook Brian. "Time to wake up, kid. Duty calls."
Cassidy reached up and pulled his partner down on top of him. "I'm not drunk now, John," he said. Before Munch could say anything, Brian kissed him, hard. John moaned and tried to extricate himself from the embrace.
"Brian, are you sure about this?" he asked. "I mean, last night you were crying over Olivia."
"Olivia isn't the one I really wanted," Brian answered. "I wanted you, only you. Olivia was a distraction."
"So why now?" asked John. Why are you asking all these questions, Munch? The kid wants you. Go for it.
"The way you were last night. When you found me in the bar. You put your arm around me. You helped me. I mean, yeah, you might've been doing that because you're my friend, but even though you turned me down last night, I could tell that you wanted me, too. The evidence was right there in front of me." He reached down and placed a hand on the other man's erection. "And it's there now."
"You realize this is going to change things between us. We still have to work together," Munch observed. He couldn't believe he kept talking when his body was screaming at him to jump his partner's bones.
"Who cares?" said Brian, and kissed him again.
Okay, enough talking. Munch's brain finally caught up with his body. He stood up and offered his hand to Cassidy.
"Not here. My bedroom. C'mon."
Brian got up and followed John to the bedroom. The door closed behind them. And nobody said a word.