Ronan and Dustin have been dating for a year, since dealing with the sanguis demon that brought them together. They've been working at Ronan's detective agency together and when a case comes up in New Orleans they decide after the case is concluded they'll take a well-earned break.
But the simple case they thought they'd taken on instead proves to be a complicated nightmare.
“Chief Wilkinson wants you and Dustin to stop by the office. Something about a case?” Harry, the agency tech consultant, says, barely looking up from his computer and whatever case he’s working on.
Ronan’s detectives, Rick and Alice, are both at their desks, and Lisa and Alan are out on separate cases. Dustin, their remaining detective and Ronan’s lover, is still outside grabbing something from the car. They’re just back from taking some pictures for Lisa’s case.
“Did he say anything about the case?” Ronan used to be a police detective, six years ago, and Chris Wilkinson was his boss and friend. They’ve remained friends since Ronan set up a detective agency to deal with the weirder cases that the police couldn’t always handle, especially after the government made an official sanction saying that the supernatural wasn’t real and not to be investigated like it was, effectively tying the hands of its officers.
“You know Chris. He never tells me anything unless you say it’s okay first,” Harry complains from his desk—and a computer system so complicated Ronan isn’t sure he’d be able to turn it on if he tried. No one touches Harry’s setup anyway, under threat of him going on strike and never doing any research or hacking for them again.
“Chris isn’t used to how relaxed things are here. He thinks me being the boss means something different than it does.” Ronan shrugs. He’s worked with most of his team for six years and is officially in charge, but his team is more friends and family than employees.
“Right, anyone need anything?” Ronan asks.
“A new hand?” Alice asks. She’s filling out some forms for a request to get on some private land. They suspect a poltergeist is attacking people on the road that runs alongside it.
“Don’t whine. I had to dumpster dive this morning,” Rick says.
“Any real problems?” Ronan rolls his eyes.
“Nope, I’ll hold the fort while you go out,” Harry says chirpily, as always far too cheerful for someone who dresses like Billy Idol or a Spike-wannabe.
“You’re going out?” Dustin asks, walking into the room. It’s been just over a year since they met, and Ronan’s stomach still flutters when he sees Dustin, his mop of messy purple hair, bright blue eyes, and goth/punk look.
Ronan tried to resist getting involved with Dustin when they’d been thrown together on a case over a year ago, but he hadn’t been able to resist his charming blue-eyed devil. He hadn’t known it then, but his fate had been sealed from the first touch. Not that Dustin had known either, despite his psychic abilities. He hardly ever sees the future, let alone his own.
“We’re going to see Chris,” Ronan says, wandering over to Dustin but not touching him. They try to keep the PDA to a minimum at work. They’ve kissed in front of the agency members before and cuddled a little. Despite them being his family, Ronan knows they also look up to him as their boss. He tries to lead by example and be professional, so that means no making out in the middle of the office.
“Social call or work call?” Dustin asks, adjusting the sleeve of his big red hoodie. It’s way too big for his skinny frame, but it suits him, and makes Ronan want to wrap his arms around his lover and hold him tight, till he can feel the body beneath the thick, warm clothing.
“Sounds like work, but you never know with Chris. He might want you to find his kids another pet. See the rest of you later.” Ronan waves and starts to leave.
Before Dustin started using his psychic powers full time to help the agency, he’d been living in another town, volunteering at shelters, some for people but most for animals. After Dustin moved into an apartment in Fresno, near Ronan, and gotten settled, he’d gotten in touch with local animal charities. Now he spends time between cases helping out, and he has a habit of setting people up with the perfect pet.
Once they’re out the office and on the stairs heading down, Ronan slips his hand into Dustin’s. Ronan dips his head as he smiles.
They get to Ronan’s car and have to untangle their fingers so Ronan can let them in. Dustin doesn’t drive, out of fear he’ll crash if he has a vision while driving, since they can hit him without warning, anytime, anywhere. When they do hit, it’s almost like a seizure. He becomes totally absent and loses control of his body.
“If this is work, are you ready for another case?” Ronan asks as he starts driving. The police station is a destination he thinks he could reach with his eyes closed. He’s driven there so many times, both when he worked as a detective, and now as a PI. He often goes to see Chris, both just to talk and to help with cases.
“Yeah, I think so. The doc adjusted my dosage, so hopefully no migraines on the next case. I know I worried you, and I slowed you down a little.” Dustin sighs. He’s always suffered from headaches, and sometimes migraines. On the last case, a bad migraine hit while they’d been working, which made it hard for Dustin to read things, and admittedly had worried Ronan.
“You didn’t slow me down, but I was worried. That was the worst migraine I’ve seen, and I hated you were trying to work through it when you should have been in bed resting.” Ronan had felt awful, seeing him in pain and not being able to do anything. There was no monster to fight, no bad guy to shoot, not when the problem was Dustin’s own body, his own head causing him pain. Ronan isn’t used to being helpless, and he doesn’t like the feeling one little bit.
“I’m cool now, though. You made me take time off. You did all my paperwork and reports for me. You cooked for me. You didn’t call me till noon, in case I was sleeping late. You did everything you could, and now I’m well rested, pain free, and ready to work,” Dustin says firmly.
“You promise?” Ronan presses as they get closer to the station.
“I promise. You know I wouldn’t lie to you about my health. I’m not that stupid,” Dustin promises.