Cut & Run, page 36part #1 of Cut & Run Series
“I think it’s the concussion thing,” Ty murmured as he unbuckled his seat belt and opened the door with a slight lurch. “I been fighting it all morning,” he muttered. “And no more drugs!” he called as he got out of the car and pushed the door shut.
Sliding his way out of the seat belt and getting out of the truck, Zane met Ty at the back bumper, reaching forward to catch the other man when he staggered. “Christ,” Zane hissed below his breath. He slid an arm under Ty’s and helped him walk.
“Told you I should’ve stayed in the fucking hospital,” Ty grumbled as he held to Zane tightly. “Jesus. At least I didn’t do this in front of the kid,” he muttered as he tried and failed to walk a straight line. “Maybe I need to go back,” he said doubtfully.
“It wasn’t safe at the hospital,” Zane answered. He tightened his arm around Ty when they stopped at the elevator and he reached out to hit the button. “Anyone can walk into those rooms. You’re better off here. But this time you’re taking some Tylenol to help with the swelling and fever,” he chastised. Zane could feel the heat radiating off his partner.
“Fever,” Ty huffed dubiously, closing his eyes and staving off another wave of nausea. “I’ve never had a concussion before,” he added in a distant voice.
“Never?” Zane said in disbelief as he helped Ty into the elevator.
“You were Recon in the Marines and undercover for the FBI, and you’ve never had a concussion? How the hell did you manage that?”
“I ducked,” Ty answered in a childishly honest voice.
“You ducked,” Zane muttered. “Smartass. ” He shifted Ty closer against him as he made sure he had the other man on his feet when the door opened. “Think you can make it under your own power to the main elevator?”
he asked, looking out into the corridor.
“Uh huh,” Ty answered with a nod that made him wince. He swallowed heavily and straightened up, closing his eyes and trying to use sheer willpower to force his head to stop spinning. “Maybe,” he amended.
Zane looked over him doubtfully, but led the way out of the elevator, hovering right next to Ty as they strolled slowly down the hall to the main bank of elevators. Luckily, being the middle of the afternoon, people were sparse. He hit the up button.
Ty didn’t know what was worse, keeping his eyes open and seeing the room spin or closing them and feeling it. He placed his palm against the wall and leaned heavily against it, going whiter as he tried to plow through it.
“Which hotel was this?” he asked Zane as he finally closed his eyes again.
Zane’s eyes flashed to Ty, seeing him pale. “The Tribeca Grand,” he murmured, moving closer to slide his arm around Ty’s lower back.
“So I can crash?” Ty ventured hopefully, leaning into Zane again as the elevator doors opened.
“Yeah, you can,” Zane agreed, not letting go of him as they stepped into the elevator. Five minutes later they were in the room, and Zane helped Ty to the bed. “Here we are again,” he said with a sigh. “Can you sit up long enough for me to get the Tylenol?”
“Yeah,” Ty answered with a deep blush of embarrassment.
Zane crouched in front of him and cupped his cheek. “Hey. It’s not you, okay? It’s the crack on the head. Nothing to be ashamed of, feeling like shit. Believe me, I’ve been there. ”
Ty merely nodded, barely meeting Zane’s eyes.
Zane lifted Ty’s chin. “Stubborn jarhead,” he muttered, a smidgen of fondness in his voice. Then he stood up and walked to the bathroom.
Ty lowered his head and licked his lips slowly, sighing in relief as the dizziness began to ebb. He hated not having control over his body. He hated being hurt at all, but head injuries had always been one of his greater fears.
He’d seen what they could do to even the strongest of men, days, even months after the initial injury.
Walking back with two pills and a glass of water, Zane crouched down again. “Real Tylenol, see? Only two,” he joked quietly, offering them palm up. “Bottoms up, then bottom down. You need to sleep. ”
“Ugh,” Ty commented quietly as he took the pills and downed them.
“Just a few minutes,” he insisted stubbornly.
“What for?” Zane asked.
“We’ve gone AWOL,” Ty said with difficulty, using the wrong terminology and not even realizing it. “Gotta get something done. ”
Zane frowned. “What is it? Something I can do?”
“No, just … something. Anything,” Ty clarified.
Shaking his head, Zane settled a hand on Ty’s arm. “What you need to do is sleep,” he insisted. “Then we can do something. But we can’t if you can’t even walk. ”
“Point,” Ty allowed as he let himself slowly curl on his side.
Zane nodded and tugged off Ty’s boots before pushing his legs up onto the bed and pulling up the sheet. “Yell if you need me,” he murmured, sliding his hand through Ty’s hair gently. Ty grunted in answer, already drifting off.
Getting to his feet, Zane rubbed his face with one hand and sighed, looking around aimlessly. If he left the room, Ty would smack the shit out of him when he woke up. Zane was certain of that. So with a sigh he pulled off the leather jacket and walked out to the front of the suite to wait.
HOURS later, Ty awoke with a gasp, reaching for a knife he hadn’t slept with in almost seven years. Zane glanced up from where he sat at a small table in the corner of the bedroom, writing notes on a hotel notepad. “Ty?” he said quietly.
Ty looked over at him, wild-eyed and tense for a brief moment before he seemed to calm himself. His breathing was still labored, though, and he was still taut as a bowstring.
Cautiously, Zane laid down the pen and kept both hands above the table, moving as little as possible. The man looked really spooked. And a spooked Force Recon Marine with a head injury was not someone to fool around with. “How are you feeling?” he asked.
Ty watched Zane for a long time before lowering his eyes, as if looking for the answer to the question. He glanced at the window with its heavy drapes drawn, and he looked down at the toes of his socks briefly before licking his lips and nodding. “Okay,” he answered cautiously.
“Need some more Tylenol? Something to drink?” Zane asked, watching closely. He thought that the other man did look better. Not pale, not sweating, steadiness back in his eyes. Sort of. But no sign of any recognition on Ty’s part sent a cold slice of worry through him.
“No,” Ty answered in the same cautious tone. He reached out slowly and patted his left calf, not finding what he was looking for and frowning as he looked around the bed for whatever was missing.
“What are you looking for?” Zane asked, brow furrowing.
Ty glanced back up at Zane as if he wasn’t sure he was real. “My knife,” he answered dubiously. He licked his lips and watched Zane for another second before clearing his throat and muttering, “I didn’t have my knife, did I?”
Zane pressed his lips together. “No,” he said, shaking his head.
Ty looked slightly stricken as he stared at Zane. He watched him warily, then finally nodded in acceptance.
“You know who I am?” Zane asked evenly.
Ty nodded again, rolling his shoulders to try to ease some of the tension invested in them.
“How about some water?” Zane asked, scooting his chair back from the table.
“Okay,” Ty answered cautiously, still scowling at Zane and watching him warily.
“You know who you are, right?” Zane ventured, stopping at the foot of the bed.
“Yes,” Ty muttered grumpily. “Jackass,” he added to let Zane know he really did remember him.
Zane grinned and leaned over. “Hmmm. I’d kiss you to welcome you back from la-la land, but it’s against the rules. ”
Ty blinked at him, eyes widening slowly at the highly unusual pronouncement. “Rules?” he as
Biting his lip, Zane shook his head. “Well,” he muttered, “despite what you think, I never was one for rules. ” He reached forward to hold Ty’s chin and kissed him firmly, a little bit of relief easing the tension in Zane’s body.
Ty tensed and returned the kiss as if he was merely too surprised not to do so, but then he relaxed slowly and leaned forward into it. “I hope to hell I can remember where that came from,” he murmured with a small smile.
Zane hummed against Ty’s lips lowly. “Good,” he said, voice a little rough. Just one kiss and he was aroused. Zane closed his eyes for a moment, taking a steadying breath and pushing himself away from the bed.
“That … that’s pretty damn nice,” Ty said softly as Zane moved away from him. Zane paused, looking back at Ty with darkened eyes before he sank to sit facing him on the bed, waiting to see what he would do. Was this the real Ty? The one who stayed hidden under layers of Marine training and forced sarcasm? Or was it just the conk on the head?
Ty watched him quietly, eyes unusually calm and thankfully clear once more. “I remember wanting you pretty bad,” he finally admitted.
Zane stayed quiet for several heartbeats. “Wanting … then?” he asked quietly.
Ty just shook his head and gave a small, embarrassed half-smile.
“Just … in general. ”
A smile slowly pulled at Zane’s mouth. “The feeling’s mutual. ”
Ty licked his lips and grinned slowly. “I’m going to deny saying that when my head stops hurting,” he told Zane gruffly.
“I wouldn’t expect any less. Can’t have you threatening my pansy-ass status in this relationship,” Zane quipped.
Ty raised an eyebrow and jerked his chin to the side at the word.
“Relationship?” he asked with a small laugh. He remembered screwing around with the man. He didn’t remember any “relationship,” so to speak.
Zane rolled his eyes despite the jump in his pulse at Ty’s reaction.
“Don’t read into it. We are partners, after all. ” He shifted his weight to stand back up. Ty’s hand shot out with surprising speed and grabbed him. Zane stopped in place, turning dark, questioning eyes on Ty. Ty inclined his head in a beckoning gesture and gave Zane’s hand a slight tug.
Sliding over onto his thigh, Zane shifted closer, interested, but also somewhat suspicious. Ty was a devious little fucker. Zane could hope for a kiss … but he figured it was about sixty-forty Ty would shove him to the floor. All in jest, of course.
“Are we doing the right thing?” Ty asked breathlessly as he looked up at Zane.
Zane looked down at the hand that still grasped his wrist, then up at Ty, the desire written all over him. “I don’t know,” he admitted in a rasp, facing the quandary of the two of them together head-on. “But it sure as hell feels right. ”
Ty just shook his head and licked his lips, attention rapt on Zane’s eyes. “I don’t mean us. I mean the case. Should we even still be here?” he asked in a rough voice.
Cheeks reddening, Zane blinked rapidly at him. “The case. I don’t know anymore,” he said quietly.
A moment passed in silence, not even the sound of their breathing breaking the moment. Finally, Ty tugged Zane closer and kissed him passionately.
“Goddamn, Ty,” Zane rasped once they separated to breathe.
“I think maybe a shower is in order,” Ty muttered with one final kiss.
He felt himself searching for any reason not to go through with what he had started. It felt too much like spinning out of control for him to be comfortable.
He kissed Zane again impulsively and then pushed him away to crawl off the bed and start for the bathroom carefully. He felt like he might fall over if he moved too quickly.
Rolling to his side, Zane watched Ty walk away. “Yeah,” he whispered. Christ, what a view. He squeezed his eyes shut for a few seconds.
What would he do when Ty went back to being … Ty? As much as he found this Ty endearing and sexy as hell, it was disconcerting to have him be so totally different from the man Zane had come to know, sex and all. It was like meeting a new partner all over again, one that was easy to work with and actually friendly and affectionate, and Zane just didn’t know what to think of it. Even worse, he could feel the dangerous allure of it, threatening to drag him under with wanting it.
Ty clanked around in the bathroom for a few moments before the shower started, and soon he was out again, a towel around his shoulders and running it through his short hair carefully as he watched Zane and moved closer. His entire right side was covered with nasty purpling bruises, and he walked with a slight hitch to his step. “What day is it?” he finally asked with a wince.
“Friday,” Zane murmured. He was on his back again, arm thrown over his eyes.
Ty frowned but said nothing in response, instead walking closer to the bed and flopping the towel down on Zane’s thighs. “You okay?” he asked.
Zane lifted his arm. His brow was furrowed as he looked at Ty.
“Yeah?” What was Ty asking about? His state of mind? Zane moved his hand to grasp the towel as he looked up at Ty, who was towering over him. God, he was incredible-looking like this—even all beaten up—flushed and soft after a hot shower.
“You sure?” Ty asked. “I feel like I’m becoming more a hindrance than a help,” he admitted.
“Not to me,” Zane answered evenly.
Ty nodded and lowered his head, retrieving his towel from Zane’s grasp without another word.
Zane sat up and peered up at his partner. “How fuzzy are you, still?
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