Dane's a Decrypter down on his luck -- after accidentally dispatching the wrong creature, he's sent to a small town where the cryptids he hunts are sparse. Crypt Coffee becomes his business front, but instead of a thrilling new mission on the side, he's stuck sending ghosts back to where they came from. Dane can annoy customers, at least, and tries to scare off Professor Sean Sanderson when he starts poking around too much.
But Sean isn't about to stay away. Not when he hears about the murder of a former student, and definitely not if young, exciting Dane has information about it. But the more he allows himself to get dragged into this supernatural world of monsters and ghosts, the more the danger escalates. And if Sean and Dane aren't careful, tracking down a murderer who can use magic might just get them killed.
“I took you along because I trust you. Well, at least as much as I trust Ned, which is enough to not send either of you back where you came from,” said Dane. Damn, he hated speeches and shit. He tried to get to the point. “You’re a smart guy, Sean. You can figure out all hell would break loose if everyone knew about magic. The fights over the sources, the struggle to stockpile better weapons. It’s not safe. You’d get everything from hellhound breeders to a fucking police state.”
“Understood,” said Sean after an awkward few moments where Dane decided to let him go. “I don’t have to like it.”
He stalked off around to the back of the house and Dane let him go. He didn’t have the time to hold his hand about this, anyway. The faster they were through with this, the better. He dropped his bag and pulled out accelerant, located the best places to splash it. The house was old, but the furniture inside new enough to go up immediately. Carpet only a few years old, lots of long curtains. Dane started on the outside and ended on the inside, making sure the magical plants were covered in a thoroughly-doused blanket. He wanted no chance any of Bethany’s plants or products survived.
Sean followed him outside and he lit it up without hesitation. The flames sprang up like flicking on a light and the house turned into a searingly bright blur. Dane hefted up his bag, unable to move at first, until Sean's hand brushing against the back of his tore him out of it. He glanced over, heart pounding, and heard the sound of an engine.
"Shit, run," he said, and took off toward the trees, Sean at his side. The professor was in shape enough to keep up, which was good because Dane would have no choice but to ask the Order to interfere if he was caught.
They reached the trees as headlights tore down the driveway. The car stopped, the door slammed.
"Fuck," said Sean, and turned back to look. Dane peered out from the trees too, seeing the outlines of two people staring at the house. When one rushed forward the other held them back. Dane saw the first collapse against the car and the second put a phone to their ear.
"We can't be this close. C'mon, Sean. We'll have to walk back through the woods."
"We were supposed to be out of here before it was reported."
"Calm down. We're fine. Nobody saw us, we'll get out and to the car, I'll drop you back home and kiss you good-night. How does that sound?"
Sean stopped and glared at him.
"Don't treat me like a child." He took a step closer, blue eyes dark in the dim light. They'd stumbled through to the magic-infused clearing and Dane was very aware just how close Sean had gotten. "I'm calm, and I don't need pity assurances."
"Got it," said Dane. Neither of them moved. Behind Sean through the trees, an orange glow smeared across the sky. Sean's hood had fallen down, revealing hair that had gone wild. The entirety of Dane's body prickled. He found it difficult to breathe.
Sean moved first, grabbed Dane by the waist. Dane dropped his bag as they kissed, hard and pointed in the middle of the trees. Dane's heartbeat sounded in his ears and his cock swelled fast. He didn't stop Sean this time when his hands pulled up the bottom of his shirt. Instead he moved to unzip the hoodie, barely able to breathe. Dane ached, from lips to loin, need for Sean blocking everything else out.
He broke the kiss to pull Sean's head to the side by his hair, go after the corner of his jaw with lips and teeth. Sean groaned and dug his fingernails into Dane's back. Dane wanted to shove him to the ground and force his cock down Sean's throat, wanted to rip off his jeans and bury himself in Sean's ass, pin him in the leaves and dirt and stroke Sean's cock until it couldn't last any longer. The desire was tense, electric, and Dane pulled away at the thought, shoved Sean so hard he staggered back, gasping, and sagged against a tree.
"It's the magic," said Dane, chest heaving. Sean's eyes followed him greedily. "Fucking magic making us do this."
"I want to do this," said Sean, panting.
Dane did, too, but they couldn't. Not here, not so close to the fire. And as much as he wanted to be rough and dirty, he didn't want to be caught. The Order was already pissed with him. He grabbed his bag. He needed to cool down, they both needed to cool down. He heard Sean zip the hoodie back up and follow him as he cut into the trees.