Reaching

~ A missing scene from Colt

They had parked across the street, only a few houses down from Odelle's place. The street was full of parked cars so the truck would not stand out. The jewelry thief was, so far, their only possible lead to finding Lundy's missing gun.

Levon finally stirred, having fallen asleep less than a minute after they'd arrived. He opened his eyes and looked across the street, before moving to sit up.

"No sign yet," Joe told him, glancing sideways at his partner before turning his attention back to the house they were watching. He didn't say anything about Lundy dozing off; after seeing the way the man was letting this gun thing eat him up the last couple of days he knew he had needed the rest.

Levon gave no sign he'd heard, or perhaps he just didn't have anything to say. He hadn't been saying much of anything, lately. Joe had just about decided he'd had enough of it. "Talk to me, partner."

As opening conversational gambits it wasn't very original but it did have the virtue of saying exactly what he wanted. There was the barest glance this time, to show Levon was listening. There was no response at first. Joe waited patiently, knowing they had all night and he could outstubborn his partner if necessary. Fortunately it wasn't necessary.

In a low voice, Levon asked, "About what?"

Joe paused for a moment before answering, wondering if it was deliberate obtuseness or if his partner really didn't have any idea what was wrong. Had to be the former, he decided. Levon wasn't that clueless. "Last week's football game," he said sarcastically. Then he shook his head. "About the gun, what do you think?"

"What did you want to know, LaFiamma?" Again he mispronounced Joe's name; he hadn't been doing that except occasionally, to tease his partner, before this incident with his Colt. Joe wasn't sure if it was deliberate, or if like most stress just made his accent stronger. Before he could reply Levon continued. "I lost my Colt, now we're looking for it. What more is there?"

"Why this is so important to you, for one. It's just a gun, Lundy. A hunk of metal."

"It ain't just a hunk of metal." The dangerous tone in Levon's voice made Joe wonder if he had just crossed a line. So be it, then, if that's what it took to get answers out of his recalcitrant partner.

"Yes, it is. It's a tool nothing more. It's not like it's an heirloom or something."

The sudden slam of Levon's hand against the steering wheel startled him. "You have no idea what you're talking about, boy, so why don't you just drop it?" The anger, tight and hard, was still there. But this time, Joe heard the pain as well.

He had to keep pushing. He needed to know why this was so important to his partner. "You know, you're right! I don't have any idea what I'm talking about," Joe shot back. "And you know why I don't? It's because my *partner* refuses to talk to me. Why can't you tell me the reason that gun is so damned important to you?"

For a long time there was no answer form the other end of the cab. He watched Levon staring out at the street towards Odelle's house keeping an eye, even if a distracted one, out for their suspect. Finally Levon answered. "Was my grandfather's gun."

Oh. Well, that explained the reaction to the heirloom crack; to Levon it *was* an heirloom. "I didn't know that," Joe said quietly.

"Now you do." The unspoken words were clear -- 'so now drop it.'

Except that Joe wasn't about to. There was more too this than losing an antique gun. "I understand now why it means so much to you and I'm sorry you lost it. But it's still just a gun, Levon. Even if it has special meaning for you."

This time Levon turned away -- only slightly, he was still facing Odelle's place but the message was clear. He wanted to get away from his partner. Just when Joe was about to let him know it was all right to drop it for now, Levon spoke. His tone was quiet, almost distracted, as if he were off in the past he had begun to describe. "My grandfather was a good man. A good cop... gave me the gun when I was seven years old. He taught me how to shoot. How to take care of it, how... how to handle the responsibility of owning a gun."

"So it means a lot to you." Joe's tone was sympathetic as he found himself remembering some heirlooms of his own, things that meant a lot because of who gave them to him. Meant even more now that he was cut off from his home and his family.

"*He* meant a lot to me. He was just about... I already told you how my old man didn't spend much time being a dad."

Joe nodded. "You grandfather stepped in and filled the role?"

"Yeah. Didn't matter if we were living with them at the time or not, he was always there for me. Taught me how to ride, how to shoot, how to play football... taught me what was important. What wasn't."

"He sounds like a great guy."

"He was one of the best cops in Texas."

After a moment Joe realised Levon wasn't going to say anything more. Before he pushed again, he thought about what his partner had finally told him. He felt that maybe he was finally starting to get a handle on what Levon was feeling. "Levon, you didn't let him down by losing your gun."

"When he handed me that gun, he told me it had never been fired for the wrong reasons. Not in 20 years. Til now, I--" Levon stopped. All the anger had long gone from his voice, and now Joe could hear only the hurting.

Responding to that pain, he reached over grasped his partner's arm tightly. He couldn't think of anything to say so when Levon looked over at him, he tried to let his eyes do the talking for him.

"I'm gonna get that gun back," Levon said softly.

"*We'll* get it back," Joe corrected. "I'm your partner. Don't shut me out okay?" This time there was no reply. His partner simply stared out the window. "Lundy." This time Joe accompanied his words with a little shake of the arm he still had a hold of. "We do this together right?"

He got a glance, but no answer.

Joe's frustration level was reaching new heights. He hated it when Levon shut him out. And, before this incident with the gun, he would've sworn that they'd moved past that. He sighed and withdrew his hand. Maybe he had been just kidding himself.


One month later, Levon parked the truck at the Lansen Park. Ignoring his partner's curious look, he picked up his grandfather's Colt and climbed out of the Jimmy. Joe started to get out as well but a glance at his partner's expression stopped him. It most clearly said he wanted to be alone. Things were still awkward enough between them that Joe wasn't about to push.

At least the way it stood now, he had Lundy back as his partner at work, even if all the rest had fallen by the wayside. Joe wasn't about to risk the little they did still seem to have, Though it was a pale reflection of what had been before this had happened.

He watched in confusion as Lundy walked over to the water's edge, took out his grandfather's gun, and threw it into the water. His jaw dropped in disbelief. After all they'd been through, tracking the gun after Levon had lost it in the jewelry store robbery, wasting so much time trailing Odelle when the gun had been stolen from *him*... finally finding the kid who'd used it in several armed robberies, killing one man and injuring two others.... *Now* Levon throws the gun away?

Joe shook his head. Maybe his partner had lost his mind. That might be the only logical explanation. He watched as Levon stood and stared out at the water for long moments, wondering what he should say, if anything, when the man returned to the truck. He wanted to ask why but Levon hadn't exactly been forthcoming with personal information recently.

When Levon climbed into the truck he expected them to leave -- expected his partner to say nothing about what he'd just done. He was, therefore, shocked again when Levon made no move to start the truck and instead spoke quietly. "I'm sorry about the way I treated you, LaFiamma." His accent was still strong but he had pronounced Joe's name correctly.

Joe blinked. He hadn't been expecting an apology. He opened his mouth to reply but found himself with nothing to say.

"I know you kept trying to help, kept trying to tell me you wanted to help and I just kept pushing you out of the way.... All I could think about was what my grandfather would think of me. That'd I'd let his gun be used to murder a man...." Levon looked over at him. "He was the only man in the world who'd ever been proud of me. I couldn't bear to let him down."

Heart twisting in sympathy at Levon's words, Joe reached out a hand and laid it on his partner's shoulder in a wordless gesture of comfort. Levon reached up and touched Joe's hand hesitantly, as if wondering if that gesture meant he'd been forgiven.

Joe tugged gently, pulling Levon to him to hug him tightly. "He'd still be proud," he told his partner. "You didn't let him down." A slight pause. "Or me either. Not when it counted. Partner."

Levon returned the embrace, holding on even tighter as Joe spoke. "I screwed up, Joe. Let Odelle walk, nearly got you killed... only thing I've done right with this whole mess is get rid of that gun."

"Yeah, you screwed up," Joe affirmed, sliding one hand up to stroke Levon's hair. "But we got Odelle in the end. And I'm still here."

"I'm sorry, Joe," Levon whispered again.

"S'alright," Joe told him. They sat like that for several long moments before Joe's curiosity got the best of him. "Levon?"

"Yeah?" Levon stayed in his partner's hold.

"Answer me something will you? Why did you throw the gun away? After all we'd been through to get it back..."

At this Levon moved away. But he answered. "Had to. If I'd ever tried to use it again.. hell if I'd even just held it, all I'd be able to think about would be that boy. There's no way I'd be able to forget."

Joe nodded slowly, knowing he'd probably have felt the same way. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.

Levon looked at him, a startled expression on his face. "Sorry? What for?"

"That I didn't understand what it meant to you sooner. That I let you push me away. That something that meant so much to you was tainted." Joe shrugged. "I don't know. I'm just sorry."

The startled look faded into an expression Joe recognised -- and had not seen in a long time. Exasperation. Levon smiled slowly and it was a real, affectionate smile. Joe found himself smiling back. "Come on, cowboy," he said, shaking his head. "We better get to work."

Levon reached down and gave the key a turn, still looking at Joe. For a moment his expression changed, and though he said nothing Joe could see the words in his eyes.


"Hey Lundy, feel like coming over for a bite tonight?"

It was a week after Levon had thrown his grandfather's gun away and apologized. Time enough for Joe to think over what Levon had said about the Colt and what it had meant to him. Time enough to come up with something that might help ease the ache he still caught sometimes in his partner's eyes. Tonight was the night he put his plan into action.

His partner looked over the desks at him, his grin a welcome sight. "Suppose so. You planning on making barbecued lasagne?"

Joe gave him the expected glare. "Better watch it cowboy, or I'll just grab some Indonesian takeout." Levon laughed, and went back to the report he was completing. All was well.

'Cept by the time their shift was over and they left for the day, Joe was beginning to have second thoughts. What if he had misjudged? What if Levon thought he was mocking him with his gift? It had seemed like such a simple idea at the time but now he wasn't so sure. It could so easily backfire if he hadn't read his partner correctly. Reading Lundy was a full time job, and he freely admitted he often time didn't have a clue.

Levon's mood didn't seem to reflect any sign that he'd noticed Joe's silence. He smiled as they'd headed down to the garage, even asked carefully if they should share a ride, or meet at Joe's apartment.

"I'll catch a ride with you if that's okay," Joe said, firmly telling himself to think positively. If all went well that wouldn't leave him stranded in the morning because Levon would still be there to drive him back to work.

"Fine with me." Levon said it casually, but Joe didn't miss the eager look in his eyes. "We need to stop by the store for anything?"

"Nah. I've got everything I need at the apartment already."

"Does that include decent beer?"

Joe smiled. "Bought a couple of six packs yesterday." That much, at least, he had gotten right. It remained to be seen about the rest.

"Oh yeah?" Levon glanced over at him. "You been planning this?"

"Planning what?" Joe asked, playing innocent. "I just thought you'd might like to come over for dinner tonight. That's all." As Levon continued to stare at him, he amended, almost shyly, "Well I was hoping you might want to stay the night as well..."

"Joe, you coulda just asked."

Feeling himself blushing he glanced at Levon then looked away. "I'm asking," he said in a soft voice.

He felt a touch at his hand, fingers brushed lightly then Levon's hand closed over his. "I'd love to."

Joe had to clear his throat a few times before he was able to speak again. "Then what are you waiting for?" he asked, his voice more husky than normal.

By way of replying, Levon got them to Joe's apartment in nearly record time. Once they had entered the apartment, Joe headed for the stairs to his bedroom. "Beer's in the fridge," he tossed over his shoulder. "I just need to grab something and I'll be right back down."

He heard Levon go into the kitchen, heard the clanking of bottles. "You want anything?" Levon called up.

'You,' Joe thought. Aloud he said, "Nah, I'll grab something when I come down."

"You will, huh? Should I be undressed then?"

Joe stopped moving. "Don't say things like that if you're not prepared to be jumped," he called back down.

"Who says I ain't prepared?" Came the lazy, amused drawl.

Again Joe stopped. "Just drink your beer cowboy," he yelled down. "We'll get to that in good time." Opening his closet, he pulled out the package he had brought home yesterday. He looked down at it, considering. He could still back out, put it back in the closet and go downstairs, cook dinner and jump his partner. No. This was going to work.

Taking a deep breath, he closed the closet and started back down the stairs with the package. Levon was standing in the living room, grinning up at him. He looked surprised as he saw the package in Joe's hands, but only said, "You think we'll make it through dinner?"

Joe didn't say anything. Now that the moment was here he found he didn't know what to say. So, instead he just shoved the package into his partner's hands. "What's this?" Levon took the package, turning it slightly as he looked at it.

"Just open it, will you?" Levon glanced at him, then proceeded to do as told. The white butcher paper came off easily; Joe hadn't wrapped it tight, just enough to keep Levon from recognising the present too early. Letting the paper drop, Levon held the wooden box in his hands. Another curious glance at his partner, then he opened the lid. He stared.

He said nothing. Joe suddenly found himself explaining as fast as he could. "I thought maybe, since you lost the old one that this might help make up for it. I mean I know it can't replace what the other one was, what it meant but I thought..." He trail off, swallowing hard. Levon still hadn't said anything, hadn't even looked up. "I guess it was a stupid idea. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have--"

Levon snapped the box closed, and reached forward immediately. Grabbing Joe by the neck, he pulled his partner in... and kissed him. Opening his mouth he kissed him long, hard, and deeply. Joe gasped, swaying forward, hands automatically grabbing onto Levon's shoulders for balance as a wave of relief and happiness flooded over him.

When his partner finally released his mouth he smiled shyly and asked, "This mean you like it?"

"Like it? Joe..." Again the man was speechless. He opened the box again, and removed the brand new Colt from the the box' formed interior. Absently handing the box over, Levon stared at the gun. Finally he looked up. "Thank you."

Joe's smile widened. "You're welcome."

"Joe, it's beautiful.. you didn't have to do this." Levon had gone back to staring at the gun, turning it over in his hands, checking out every detail.

"I know. But I thought it might help..." He shrugged, embarrassed.

"Help?" Levon's confused look was overlain with pleasure.

Joe shifted uncomfortably. "Help make up for losing your grandfather's Colt."

"Joe..." Levon set the gun down carefully on the table next to them, and then hesitated, as if unsure where to place his hand. He finally rested it lightly on Joe's arm. "This means a lot to me. I really..." He stopped, looked down at the gun, and the back to his partner. It was apparent he'd run out of things that he wasn't too embarrassed to say.

Levon's embarrassment paradoxically seemed to lessen Joe's own. He smiled, reaching out a hand and caressing his partner's cheek, and then leaned in and kissed him tenderly. When he released Levon's mouth, he smiled and said softly, "You're welcome."

Levon's hands now rested easily on Joe's waist, and the man smiled. "We gonna have that barbeque you were offered me? Or we gonna skip dinner for better things?"

"I never offered you barbeque!"

Levon laughed. "Damn, I was hoping that'd distracted you. Have to try it again." And he leaned back in for a longer kiss, using his tongue to gently caress Joe's mouth.

Joe responded whole-heartedly, one hand reaching up to tangle in Levon's hair, holding him in the kiss, while the other slid around Levon's back, pulling him even closer.

When they finally let each other go, Levon whispered, "Bed?"

"Yeah." Joe's voice was a bit breathless and huskier than usual.

"Then barbeque?"

Joe grinned. "Only if you cook," he retorted. He would do a lot of things for his partner but cooking barbecue wasn't one of them.

Levon returned the grin, and then nudged him back towards the stairs. "I ain't hungry yet anyway." As Joe turned around, he heard his partner add, "Though Italian looks *real* good right about now."

He stopped dead in his tracks, feeling a rush of heat run through his body at the words, pooling at his groin. Spinning around, he grabbed his partner in a tight embrace, devouring his mouth in a heated kiss, as he pressed up against the other man as close as possible. Hands clung to him, legs spread just enough to let them mold themselves together as tight as God would allow. Well, as tight as He'd allow while they were still wearing clothes.

"Upstairs," he heard an insistent whisper. He nodded. Somewhere he found the strength to pull away and head upstairs.

Levon was right behind him the whole way -- he could tell by the way his partner's hands were on his back, touching and pushing just a little. As soon as he stepped off the stairs he removed his holsters, setting them carefully aside. Levon's revolver joined them, nestled in beside the automatics as if they had been made to fit together.

Then Joe was turning and pulling Levon back into his arms again, kissing him like his life depended on it. At that moment it felt like it just might. Levon went with him easily, not holding back as Joe pulled him closer. He felt Levon's hands touch his face, first ever-so lightly, then holding him carefully and firmly.

He could hear his lover moan softly, as if it were far back in his throat, not yet verbalised, only felt. Joe could feel Levon's hard length pressed against him, feel exactly how close his partner was already, as close as he himself was. Fast and frenzied. It was always like this between them. As soon as the fire was lit it was raging out of control.

But this time Joe wanted more. He wanted them to take their time and really get to explore each other, love each other. For that to happen they were going to have to slow down.

Now if he could only convince his body of that. Levon was already pulling at their clothing, opening buttons and unzipping flies. His mouth was alternating between Joe's neck, nibbling down his collarbone, and coming back up for more kisses. Making a supreme effort, Joe forced himself to push Levon away. "Wait..." he panted, even as his libido was demanding to know what the hell he thought he was doing.

"For what?" Levon looked at him, already breathless and flushed. He looked gorgeous.

"Can we slow down? I want..." Joe hesitated not knowing how to articulate what it was exactly that he did want.

The smile that appeared was all the answer he needed. His partner's hands stopped their frantic movements, coming to rest on Joe's hips. Levon gave him a slow, easy kiss and asked, "What do you want, Joe?"

'I want to love you,' he thought. But he couldn't bring himself to say it out loud. Levon continued to kiss him softly and slowly as he resumed undressing them. Now, though, he took his time, pausing as he opened Joe's shirt to caress each inch of skin.

Joe gasped and shivered at the light caresses, his own hands coming up and slowly undoing Levon's shirt. Then his fingers wandered over the revealed skin, taking the time to explore his lover's body in a way he never had before. He felt goosebumps under his fingertips, and knew Levon was no doubt finding some, himself. As they touched, he felt Levon gently easing them backwards, towards the bed.

He moved willingly, hands sliding up under Levon's shirt, pushing it off, letting it fall to the floor as they did. His partner followed him closely, easing Joe's shirt off as well. He paused at the waist of his pants, already partly undone. Levon skimmed his thumbs into the waistband of Joe's shorts.

Joe couldn't restrain the low moan the action caused, his hands coming up and gripping Levon's arms for balance. He lifted his gaze to his partner's face and nearly moaned again at the expression he saw there -- aroused, intent, loving. Levon kissed him again, and brushed his thumbs over Joe's hips slowly, almost tormenting him. When he brought his hands to Joe's backside, he pulled Joe towards him, fingers splayed flat across the tops of his buttocks as he held him for a kiss.

Closing his eyes, Joe gave himself wholly up to the kiss. When Levon finally released his mouth he found himself trembling. He felt his pants being pulled down; hands touched his legs, caressing as if by touch his partner was telling him how much he wanted. Who caressed a man's knees? But Levon's hands were all over him, touching everywhere as the clothes came off.

God, he'd asked for this, asked for slow and easy this time, and Levon was certainly giving him what he asked for. Now if he could only be sure he'd survive the experience. He shivered and moaned and wondered how much longer he would be able to remain standing.

Fortunately Levon chose that moment to nudge him again, and he fell back onto the bed. He discovered that somewhere along the way his partner had stripped him bare and was now finishing the job of undressing, himself.

Bemused, he stared up, watching as Levon quickly stripped out of the last of his clothes. He knew he should be moving, should be sitting up and reaching for the man, returning the caresses he'd been gifted with. He'd never been this passive with a lover, not even with Levon before, he wasn't sure why he was now.

Maybe it was the way Levon was staring at him. Almost measuring, as if he was planning were he was going next, what sorts of touches he would place. It was a hungry look, one which made Joe shiver again. Then Levon was laying down beside him, hands running gently over Joe's body, and Joe moaned again. He reached out, pulling his lover against him, desperate for as much contact as possible.

The press of his lover's body on his was nearly overwhelming. Levon began to move, up and down, letting the motion drive them both insane. Finally Joe couldn't take it, couldn't wait.

His tremors intensified, his breath coming in gasps, he tumbled over the edge, his lover's name on his lips. Levon grabbed him, held him close as he continued his tender assault. He felt his lover's mouth everywhere: neck, shoulders, chest, stomach... stopping shy of going any farther. Then he felt Levon move back up, and heard his whisper. "What do you want, Joe?"

Joe looked up at him, eyes wild. "You," he answered in a voice he hardly recognized as his own. "Your mouth."

Levon answered him by placing that mouth on his own. First the kiss, then Levon began moving down again. Caressing Joe with his lips, he kissed his way down the line of Joe's jawbone. A single line of kisses down his neck, along the collarbone. Joe was ready to scream again, as much at the sensations as at the realisation that his partner was going to do as he'd asked....

When Levon's mouth finally closed around his erection, Joe didn't scream. He was far beyond screaming; all he could manage was a strange little squeak, so intense was what he was feeling. He could barely make out the touch of Levon's hands on his stomach, pressing and rubbing; mostly what he felt was the warmth, the licks alternating with sucking, as his lover pushed him closer and closer to no longer being able to breathe it felt so good. His climax, when it finally came, was so overwhelming that he blacked out.

When he finally came to, he found Levon curled on top of him, kissing his face and whispering his name. Joe opened his eyes and smiled at him, raising a hand that felt like it weighed several tons to caress his lover's hair.

Levon grinned, and it was like nothing he'd ever seen. Like sunlight, shining down on him. Hard sunlight, he amended, as he felt his lover's erection pressed against his leg.

Well, that he was going to do something about. The thought lent him an extra burst of energy and he pushed on Levon's shoulders, rolling them over until Levon was lying flat on his back with Joe looming over him. Grinning down at the surprised look on his partner's face he said, "My turn."

The surprise changed quickly to an eager grin. Levon lay still, wantonly inviting Joe to do whatever he liked. Joe began with by lowering his head and kissing Levon's lips, teasing them open with his tongue, tasting the slightly bitter saltiness of his climax that seemed to linger in his lover's mouth. Levon's response was immediate and encouraging; he took Joe's embrace even as his hips seemed to thrust upwards of their own accord.

Joe released Levon's mouth, his lips trailing kisses and nips down his lover's throat and chest, doing his best to not leave a single inch of skin untouched. His lover writhed beneath him, gasping for air. It sounded like he was trying to speak, but unable to form recognisable syllables.

'Must be doing something right,' he thought, mouth closing over one peaked nipple, hands stroking at the soft skin of Levon's stomach. The muscles rippled, feeling almost like they were shaking from laughter. Joe knew better, knew from the way Levon was slowly being reduced to incoherency that his touch was doing wonderful things. It was good to know, this first time he'd made love to a man, instead of merely having mind-blowing sex. Levon raised one leg slightly, setting his foot on the bed and pushing himself closer to Joe.

Joe continued his slow oral exploration of his lover's body, mouth getting gradually lower and lower until he finally reached Levon's cock. He hesitated for only a second before giving licking at the head tentatively.

The resulting moan was low and drawn out, ending with a slight 'hiss'. Joe grinned, and repeated the action to see if he could get the same response. This time the moan was louder, the hiss more apparent. Grinning even wider, Joe continued to run his tongue along his lover's length, mapping out which points were the most sensitive by listening to Levon's reactions.

Pretty soon it was difficult to tell -- either that, or his lover's cock was so sensitised that merely breathing on it was arousing. Joe grinned, and tried it.

Yup. A definite groan.

There was only one thing left that he wanted to try. Gripping Levon's hips with hands to keep him from bucking, Joe slowly closed his mouth over Levon's cock, sliding his lips down as far as he could go with gagging. Then him hummed.

The response was astounding. If he hadn't been holding Levon down he would have choked; his lover's body jerked violently, and he heard a harsh shout. The noise disappeared abruptly, and the jerks suddenly became familiar. Levon's thrusts and trembling were all the warning he got, before his lover hit orgasm. Joe swallowed reflexively, managing not to choke, finding the salty liquid a little bitter but not too unpleasant.

When he raised himself to look at his lover, he found Levon lying in a boneless sprawl, eyes closed. That was when Joe noticed that, despite having gone slow, they'd ended up sideways on the bed again.

'Maybe I should just move the damned bed,' Joe thought as he crawled up Levon's body. He kissed the man lightly.

Levon opened his eyes and smiled lazily at him. He looked half asleep already, or maybe he was just more relaxed than Joe had ever seen him before. Levon nudged him with one hand, indicating Joe should join him, lying down.

Joe complied, after grabbing the comforter at the end of the bed and throwing it over them. He snuggled close against Levon's side, throwing an arm and a leg over his partner as if to hold him in place. Then he relaxed with a sigh. Levon wiggled closer, turning his head to tuck it under Joe's chin. Joe felt his breathing deepen, and relaxed. A moment later he heard a distinct mumble, "Call me when dinner's ready."

Joe chuckled, and briefly considered getting up and going downstairs to make something. But he was comfortable and warm with his dozing partner snuggled up against him. To hell with it, he decided. He wasn't very hungry anyway. It didn't take long for them to drift off to sleep, cuddled tightly together.

The next day, as they dressed for work, Joe saw Levon put his holster on... and slip his new gun into place.


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