Too Close For Comfort

by Macx

Author's Voice of Warning (aka Author's Note): English is not my first language; it's German. This is the best I can do. Any mistakes you find in here, collect them and you might win a prize. The spell-checker said everything's okay, but you know how trustworthy those thingies are.....

Background: Chris and Ezra are shape shifters, and a bond forms between them. Ezra becomes the last member of Chris' team in law enforcement.

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Everything was silent. Ezra lay in bed, awake and very much aware of the warm body at his side. Chris had his head buried in the pillow. He had fallen asleep right after they had arrived at his quarters and hadn't woken since. He smiled at his partner, brushing one hand over his skin, wincing as he touched the bruises. Too many mottled the smooth back, the arms, the abdomen. There were cuts and abrasions, two deeper wounds that had been treated by the medics on site. Ribs had cracked, one wrist was in a cast since the bones had broken. Ezra shuddered as he recalled every detail. Medication was helping along the healing process, making the patient drowsy in the process.

Chris moved faintly and then opened an eye. Ezra summoned a smile, but he knew he couldn't hide his pain from the Bond, from his soul mate. He had come so close to losing Chris, to losing it all, that his walls were crumbling in all the wrong places. After a week of living a life like a ghost, fading in and out of reality, trying to uphold his shields but also wishing to be close to his partner, Ezra was near his breaking point. His partner had suffered through abuse at the hands of crazed-out criminals, and Ezra had heard it all live and Dolby surround.

Now Chris was safe. He had been freed, rushed to a med-evac unit, treated, and finally released into the care of his partner. Ezra didn't know if Travis was aware of their deeper relationship, but he knew that the Judge trusted him to keep Chris from straining himself. And Ezra had nothing but rest in mind. Rest, reaffirming that Chris Larabee was truly back, and more rest. The rest of the world be damned. It had taken all his control, all his willpower, not to rush to the prone man's side as two meds had rolled the stretcher into the medical ward. The others of the Chimera team had chalked it up to the experiences of the past days, living through what Chris was suffering, but Vin had known it was more. Vin had been his lifeline throughout it all, the only person around whom he had go of his iron control one time only, where he had released out his pain. No one would ever know.

Ezra caressed the blond head, hands sliding through the mussed hair. Chris's heavily bandaged hand lay on his stomach, one more reminder of his condition.

"How do you feel?" Ezra asked softly.

"Hurting all over," Chris answered, voice muffled by the blanket.

I know, the thief thought, the simple reminder like a raw wound. Lord, I know.

Chris looked at him, smiling as much as he could without pulling at the bruises. His face looked like someone had used it as a punching bag, and someone had. He was still too pale, his cheeks slightly hollow, the haunted expression in his eyes only slowly fading away.

Ezra ran a feather-light touch over the marks, biting his lower lip. A hand caught his and Chris pressed a soft kiss on his inner wrist. He shivered.


<Nothing> he whispered.

The hand around his wrist tightened its hold and the hazel eyes burned into his. <Tell me>

It was a command. He couldn't ignore it, either as Chris's agent, or as his partner.

<I nearly lost you> Ezra managed.

The expression softened. Chris twined his hands with his and pulled Ezra to him, placing their hands onto his chest.

<You didn't. No sense in pondering what might have been>

Ezra rested his head on the warm shoulder. Chris was alive, with him, in his arms.

<You felt it> It wasn't a question but a simple statement of facts.

Ezra winced, screwing his eyes shut and for a second, his breathing quickened. A hand ran gentle circles over his back and he concentrated on the calming gesture. He shouldn't break down now. He was supposed to be the strong one; Chris was hurt; Chris needed his strength.

<I'm sorry> Chris murmured.

<No!> He jerked upright, glaring at the man underneath him. "Don't apologize!" Ezra hissed. "Don't! I'd rather feel you, everything, even the worst, than losing that sense altogether!"

A fire burned in him, a desperate need to tell his lover that he wouldn't want to be separate from any of his emotions, any of the sensations, even if it meant suffering the past few days again. And again. And....


One word. His name. A command again. He swallowed and followed the tug at their still joined hands. He placed a gentle kiss on Chris's lips, knowing there was no way they would be up to more in the next few days, or even weeks. But touching him was enough; just lying with him was enough.

It had been eighteen days. Ezra had forcefully kept himself busy, getting all his files in order, writing reports on all his cases and assisting the others where he could. He had done whatever he could to not think about Chris, about the near-loss. Chris had been on sick-leave for two weeks, then had been confined to desk duty. It drove the older man nuts, but he complied. It was the only way how he might get back into the field sooner than a month. They had kept apart, at least physically, even though Ezra yearned to be with his partner at night, feel the warmth, hear the steady heartbeat, but Buck was now hovering around Chris whenever he could, helping him to update on some old files. If it had been Vin, Ezra wouldn't have cared, but Buck didn't know. And if Ezra had any control over it, he would never find out. Then Chris had been called away on some symposium or other since he was by now fit enough for light work. It had been hell.

Mentally tired, wishing he had a new case to work on, Ezra walked into his quarters. He nearly had a heart-attack when a voice called, "Working late again, hm?"


The blond had his feet up on the couch table, a bottle of beer resting on his lap, and a smile on his features.

"You're... I thought you were...." Ezra stuttered.

Chris's smile widened. "Still on Bitter Creek? Nope. I came back today. You really should check on your brain once in a while."

The teasing words let Ezra smile was well. He had shielded the Bond from his lover, not wanting him riled up over what Ezra was doing: working like there was no tomorrow. Well, Chris had caught a whiff of it anyway, he guessed.

Now his lover rose and Ezra felt something shiver across the Bond. The bottle was neatly placed onto the couch table and long legs ate up the distance between them.

<Missed you> Chris sent, the two words accompanied by something that had Ezra almost moaning out loud.

Arms slipped around his waist and he answered the kiss, unconsciously pressing himself against the lean body, hands clenching into the material of the shirt. Chris deepened the kiss, his tongue slipping into Ezra's mouth, sucking, sliding, battling against his. Ezra felt heat curl in his stomach and shoot into his groin.

<Want you> Chris sent bluntly. <Need you>

<You're still healing> Ezra protested faintly as hands untucked his shirt and fingers slipped underneath it.

<I'm fine>

The fingers slid over his buttocks and Ezra gasped as Chris made his intention crystal clear through the link.

"Ah hell," he whispered faintly.

"Already there," was the husky reply, then Chris teethed his throat. Ezra arched his neck, exposing more skin and was rewarded with little bites down to his collar bone.

"We might want to move this to the bedroom," he groaned.

Chris let up, smiling almost diabolically. Ezra shivered in anticipation as he saw that smile. This was going to be an interesting welcome home party.


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