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Lucas snapped awake, sitting upright, startled by what he wasn't sure. "Easy Lucas, it's just me," Joe murmured softly in the dark. Lucas could smell whisky on him, making him frown. Joe rarely drank anything stronger than beer, all to conscious of what alcohol could do to a man.

"I thought you were out with Jane," Lucas said, trying to keep the bitterness out of his voice.

Joe snorted. "Jealousy doesn't become you Lucas."

"Fuck you," Lucas retorted, laying back down, purposefully facing away from the older man.

"I didn't sleep with Jane," Joe said, sighing deeply.

"It's hardly my concern if you did," Lucas snapped, but he felt the knot in his stomach loosen just a little.

"Fuck Lucas, you stole nine grand what did you think I was going to do!" Joe said angrily.

"Nothing. Nothing at all Joe. Good night," Lucas said, resolutely.

"Lucas," Joe started.

"It's fine Joe, I screwed up. *Again*. You can drop the guilt complex, go... go back to Jane with a clear conscience," Lucas said pleased with how adult he sounded.

"I am not sleeping with Jane!" Joe growled.

"I never said you were and whether you are or aren't, is none of my business," Lucas replied calmly. The unspoken 'not anymore' hung in the air around them, making Lucas tense.

"Of course it is! If I... I'm *here*," Joe said, one hand reaching to rest on Lucas' back.

"Why?" Lucas asked, choking back a sob, because this was not going at all how he'd expected. Of course he hadn't expected Joe to come at all but he'd prepared himself for the fact any confrontation would likely end up with Joe announcing he never wanted to see Lucas again.

"Because bucket head, I love you," Joe said, his voice low but filled with affection.

"You…" Lucas couldn't repeat it. Joe had never said… ever, not in all the years Lucas had known him, not in the two years they'd been... well... to say that were having a relationship was probably too strong a way to put it, they didn't date, or even really hang out much, outside of work... sex... they had sex and Lucas was sure, had been sure, that's all it was to the other man, but Joe would never say… that… if he didn't mean it. Would he?

"I love you Lucas. You scared me today, if we hadn't... things worked out but if they didn't, you could have gone to jail," Joe murmured, his head coming down and burrowing against the back of Lucas' neck.

"I'm sorry," Lucas whispered.

"I know. Me too. Can I stay?" Joe asked quietly.

"For tonight?" Lucas asked, hoping Joe understood what he was really asking.

"For starters," Joe said.

Lucas turned to face him, smiling brightly.

"Hey…" Joe murmured, fingers brushing along the tear tracks on Lucas' face.

"I'm okay I just… I thought you'd hate me," Lucas said softly, looking away from Joe.

Joe pulled his head back around, forcing him to look at him. "Never happen baby, just please, don't scare me like that again."

"I won't," Lucas promised.

"Good. I don't want to loose you Lucas, you're too important too me," Joe told him.

"I don't deserve you," Lucas murmured.

"We deserve each other," Joe corrected him gently.

Lucas smiled brightly, snuggling into Joe's arms, revelling in the feeling of security, before a wicked thought stuck him and he pulled back just enough to see Joe's face.

"Does this mean I get to close up again?" Lucas asked, smiling cheekily.

Joe laughed, kissing Lucas thoroughly. "Not in this life time bucket head."


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