A Well Kept Man 2: Armani Weekend, Monday

by Mice

(Disclaimers in Chapter 1)

ROOM 1246
4:00 AM

Byers was groggy when the alarm went off. He thought they might have managed three and a half hours of sleep, but wasn't sure. Actually, he didn't even want to know. What he wanted was to go back to sleep with Doggett's arms around him, but the man was stirring next to him.

With a huge yawn, Doggett stretched. "Mornin'," he mumbled.

"It can't be morning yet," Byers complained, "the birds aren't awake." He yawned as well, stretching, then wrapped himself back around Doggett's solid body.

Doggett's arms curled around him, holding him close. "No, but anybody who wants to be on our flight back to D.C. has to be. You can sleep on the plane." He nuzzled his nose into Byers' hair and sucked on his ear.

Byers sighed. He moved his head and looked into Doggett's tired eyes. "We don't have time."

"I know." There was regret in Doggett's voice. "Doesn't mean I can't want to."

Byers nodded. "I guess we'll have to settle for saving water."

Doggett chuckled quietly. "I guess."

Byers reached up and caressed Doggett's cheek. "Thank you." He kissed Doggett softly.

"I'm glad you came," Doggett said. "It was a good weekend."

Byers smiled and lowered his eyes. "I really did enjoy it. I can't believe you actually did all this for me. It must have cost a fortune."

"Only a little one," Doggett said, returning the smile. "I think it was well spent." He slid a hand along Byers' back, over the curve of his cheek, and around to his hip. "But we gotta get out of bed and get ready to go."

Byers groaned and rolled over, tossing the light covers back. He sat and slid his feet to the floor. "I get the bathroom first," he said.

"What is this, a competition?" Doggett asked, looking up at him.

Byers chuckled. "Years of habit. You live with Langly long enough, you learn you have to get to the bathroom before he does, or he uses all the hot water washing his hair."

Doggett laughed. "I thought we were gonna share the shower?"

Byers looked down at him, arms crossed over his chest. "That doesn't mean I want you in the bathroom while I'm taking a piss." That was something Byers honestly found embarrassing. He was far too shy to relieve himself in front of anyone under anything approaching normal circumstances. He may have spent more time than he ever wanted to in city and county jails over the years, forced to do his duty in public, but it didn't mean he had to let anyone violate his privacy when he had any choice in the matter.

Doggett shook his head, still laughing. "Okay, not a problem. You go first."

It wasn't long before they were in the shower together. Byers found himself moving a little more slowly than usual, despite their deadline. It was his last chance to see Doggett like this, nude and relaxed, muscles rippling powerfully under his skin. His last chance to touch him with nothing between them. He didn't know if they'd be together again, no matter what Doggett had said. There had been too many broken promises in his life, too many disappointments. He would cherish this for what it had been, and drink in the last moments of it, because the future was uncertain and words were never sure.

He wanted to believe Doggett, still wanted to trust him, but the paranoid cables knotting his guts wouldn't let him. Last night had been reassuring though, particularly when Doggett had listened when he'd asked to slow things down. He was genuinely beginning to believe that Doggett actually respected him. If respect was all that came with the pleasures he'd had, it was still a good thing, and more than he had really hoped for. It was more than he got from most people.

After they washed, they stood under the hot water, holding each other, sharing a deep kiss. When they were dry, before they dressed, they did again. As they packed, their bodies brushed against each other, and before they stepped out the door of their room, after the final check of all the drawers and tables and closets, one last embrace and a hard, sensual kiss. They would have no more privacy, no more opportunity.

"When we have time," Doggett said, "I do want to see you again. We won't be able to do anything like this again for a long time, but I still want to spend time with you. I mean it. More than just coffee or lunch." He looked into Byers' doubting eyes. The doubt bothered him. "Maybe you could come to my place for the night sometimes when we're not both buried in work."

"I'd like that," Byers said quietly. That tiny smile of his appeared again, and Doggett felt something in himself lighten. Seeing it meant something to him.

They checked out and left the hotel, grabbing a cab to the airport. Doggett watched Byers during the trip. Both of them were tired, not saying much. He was pretty sure Byers would sleep on the plane. The bearded man looked exhausted. In fact, he spent most of the cab ride leaning on Doggett's shoulder, half asleep.

Doggett slid an arm around Byers as he leaned, knowing the cab driver didn't give a shit. Byers was too tired to protest, and just lay his head against Doggett and rested.

As Doggett paid the driver at the airport and he and Byers hauled their luggage out of the trunk, something in the crowd caught his eye. He blinked and looked more closely, not sure of what he'd seen -- not wanting it to be what he'd thought.

It was.

Knowle Rohrer was standing down the concourse. There was a newspaper in his hands. Doggett was sure he'd seen Rohrer looking their way before he'd looked back down at the paper.


Cold fear gripped Doggett's gut. If his suspicions were correct, and Rohrer was one of the supersoldiers, they could be in over their heads in a bad way. He wondered how long Rohrer had been shadowing them, and if the man had identified Byers. The last thing he wanted was to endanger his companion.

Suddenly, he realized that Byers had been right. They hadn't been paranoid enough. He saw the shy man's insistence on keeping their expressions of affection private in a very different light. Blackmail, Byers had said, was only a minor worry -- it was being used against his friends or murdered that were his real fears. Doggett's understanding of the hacker's paranoia, and his wisdom, deepened.

Nervous, he hurried Byers through the crowd to the security checkpoint. He wondered if he should tell the man what he'd seen. He spotted Rohrer once more as they passed through security, but lost track of him in the crowd. Why was Rohrer here? Why was he in New York at all, and how long had he been here? It might be a big city, but his presence was too unnerving for Doggett to consider it a coincidence.

If he didn't tell Byers, and the man found out, he'd never earn his trust. He knew he couldn't keep this disturbing fact from him. Unfortunately, Byers was probably his best bet for finding out why Rohrer had been in New York, and for how long.

At the gate, he looked around again, scanning the crowd.

"Is everything okay?" Byers asked, looking sleepy but puzzled. "You've been rushing us to the gate, and you look like you're looking for someone.

Doggett sighed. "We've got trouble. We're being tailed."

Byers stiffened, still exhausted, but alert. He scanned the crowd as well. "By whom?"

"Guy named Knowle Rohrer. Used to be a buddy of mine back in the Marines. He's the one who set me and Mulder up, tried to get us killed, when you guys were trying to hack the Census Bureau records a while back. I'm not sure, but..." Doggett paused, nervous.

"But what?"

"I think he may be one of the supersoldiers."

Byers' eyes widened. "What do you think he wants?"

Doggett shook his head. "No idea. Maybe it has something to do with those files you guys got for me last month."

"Damn. Maybe there's something here in the City, and he thinks you're on to it? Do you think he knows we're here together?" Byers asked softly. He shuddered.

Doggett grimaced. "I'm pretty sure he saw us getting out of the cab together, and I saw him when we were passing through security, so yeah, he knows we're traveling together at least. I don't know if he knows who you are, though. I sure as hell hope not." The thought of Rohrer identifying Byers twisted Doggett's gut.

"God, I'm glad we're going home," Byers said, tense and anxious.

Doggett laid a hand on his shoulder. "When we get back to DC, we'll need to find out what we can about what he's doing here and why."

Byers nodded. "I know."

"But there's nothin' we can do until we get home anyway except keep an eye out for him until we get on the plane. I know you're still really tired. I want you to at least try to sleep once we're off the ground," Doggett said.

Byers sighed, still scanning the crowd. "I may have to. I've been having trouble keeping my eyes open since we got out of the shower. I don't like it, though. This bothers me. A lot."

"You're not the only one."

As soon as their row was called for boarding, they hurried to the plane, Doggett staying a few steps behind Byers to keep watch. He hadn't seen Rohrer again, much to his relief. It was vaguely possible that Rohrer's presence was a coincidence, but Byers didn't seem to believe in any such thing.

"Once may be chance, twice might be a coincidence, but three times is definitely a conspiracy," Byers observed as they climbed the stairs into the small plane.

"This time, I don't think it's your paranoia talking," Doggett conceded as they sat and buckled themselves into their seats. "But let's at least try to leave it for now. He's not on the plane with us, and he's really unlikely to make it back to DC before we get there."

Byers nodded. "That's a relief, at least."

When the plane was in the air, Doggett saw Byers relax, the tension sliding slowly away. The drone of the engines covered the conversations around them, and they had some feeling of privacy, at least to talk.

For a little while, Byers looked uneasy, as though he wanted to say something, but couldn't find a way to approach it.

"Did you want to talk about something, Johnny?" Doggett asked.

Byers looked over at him and blushed. "Uh... actually, yes I did." He turned his eyes down to his hands, folded in his lap.

"It's okay to talk to me, you know."

"It's more of a question, really."

Doggett touched his arm gently then drew his hand away. "What's on your mind?"

Byers shifted uncomfortably, clearly struggling with whatever it was. "It's... well, I kinda wanted to ask you something about when we were... at the club Friday."

Doggett leaned back into his seat. "Something about Sergio?" His curiosity was definitely piqued.

Byers shook his head. "No, actually. Something else entirely. It's... I guess there are things about the whole idea that I don't understand. Maybe this'll sound like a really weird question." Byers paused again.

"Well, I won't know until you ask."

"There was a man there, at the club," Byers said uneasily, "when we first went in. He was lying there on the floor, wearing a collar and a leash, and nothing else. It was like he was being a dog, lying at this guy's feet. I guess... I guess I don't get that. I mean, why would somebody want to be treated like a dog? What would he get out of that? It doesn't even seem like it would be about sex, you know?"

Doggett looked at Byers and sighed, thinking for a minute. "Well, I guess the best way to answer that would be to ask you why you want what you want? Why do you want to let me do the things to you that you let me do? You know it doesn't make sense to other people. You told me that your ex didn't understand at all. So why do you want it?"

They looked at each other for a moment, silent.

Byers looked down at his hands again, deep in thought. He started to say something several times, but stopped himself, thinking about it more. Eventually, he looked up at Doggett. "I'm not sure I can really explain it," he said. "I don't think I have the words to articulate what I feel. It's like... it's sort of like how the moon pulls the ocean into tides. There's this force inside me. It's deeper than just wanting something, deeper than a need. There's something... primal about it."

He took a deep breath and looked away from Doggett. When he spoke, his voice was quieter, barely audible over the engine noise. "After Doreen, I wondered if I should want, or need, or be... drawn to something like that. Her attitude was that a man shouldn't want to be tied up or dominated or penetrated. That a man should want power, want to be in control. I've run into that attitude in a lot of places. I guess it left me wondering if I really was much of a man."

Doggett reached out and touched Byers' cheek gently. "You are, Johnny. Believe me. I've got no question at all about your manhood. It takes an incredible amount of courage to do the things you do in your work. You're not a coward, and you're sure as hell not a wuss. What you want to do for your pleasure has nothing to do with bein' a man or not. The scene's not that simple, and it never has been. A lot of really powerful, in control guys are subs when they're not in the office."

Byers looked over at Doggett again. "Well, what about you? Is it different, being a Dom?"

Doggett shook his head. "I've been a sub, Johnny. It's the same for me, whether I'm the top or the bottom. It's not something I can really talk about rationally. They're things you understand with your body, not your mind. It's about gut feelings. It's about what makes your blood hot and your dick stand up and what makes you scream when you come. That's stuff from before we were even human, about territory and animal instincts and hormones."

"I always preferred answers with words," Byers said. "I need to have definitions, Jack. I mean, I get what you're saying, but I still wish I could explain it."

"I don't think anybody can explain it anymore than they can explain why some of us aren't 'just' gay or straight," Doggett said. He chuckled. "All this 'gay gene' stuff, it doesn't leave any room for you or me, does it?"

Byers snorted. "No, not really." He pulled the arm rest up from between their seats and tucked it between the seat backs, then leaned into Doggett. Shifting his weight for a moment, he found a comfortable position. "And that's another thing I have no answer for, but I guess I was more comfortable contemplating that question because it didn't bother me as much."

Doggett slid his arm around Byers. "When you get right down to it, it's really just about what turns you on. All of it, whether you're talking about kinks or who you sleep with."

Byers yawned and settled against him. "God, I'm so tired."

"So sleep." The words were gentle and indulgent. Doggett leaned his cheek against Byers' head.

Byers sighed. It was probably a good idea. By the time he got home, the guys would be up and working on the upcoming issue. He was sure he'd have to give them some kind of trip report about his weekend. He hadn't really been ready to tell them he was going away with Doggett, but he couldn't exactly keep it hidden from them either. It wasn't like they wouldn't be able to figure it out on their own, so he'd told them as he headed out the door on Friday. There would be teasing and questions and explanations, and the inevitable questions from Jimmy that would probably require a sports analogy and single syllable words to answer. He needed to be in a condition at least vaguely resembling alertness to deal with it.

And Rohrer. He'd have to tell the guys about Rohrer, and they would need to start looking into him fast. He yawned again. It was comfortable, leaning on Doggett's broad chest, resting his head against the man's shoulder. He was too tired to care that people could see Doggett had his arm around him, and too comfortable in the warmth of that embrace to fret. He'd worry later.

Doggett raised his head and looked down at Byers as the slender man fell asleep. The weekend had been eye-opening in so many ways. Rohrer's appearance, and his reaction to it, his desire to keep Byers out of harm's way, had gotten him thinking about what Brentali had said at breakfast Saturday.

Talking to Brentali had left him questioning his own motives about Byers, about what he'd offered the man. Being with Byers had made Doggett think more about his needs and desires than he had in years, and not just because Byers had been questioning his own. There was much more going on here than he'd thought when he first suggested that they play together.

He'd been in and out of brief relationships for a long time, before and after his marriage. Most of them hadn't meant too much. Doggett had always been hesitant to get too involved outside of the game. It was mostly about satisfying his sexual needs, about mutual pleasure, and sometimes, if a guy seemed okay, about trying to stay together for a while. He really had tried, a few times.

With Byers, though, he thought about so much more. Yeah, the sex was good -- really good. But so many times over the weekend he found himself thinking about other things, wondering what was going on in the man's head, finding himself wanting Byers' trust more than he'd wanted it from other men. It felt different; important. Little things took on a life of their own. Byers was a man he could respect, a man he could trust; he was an honorable and decent man, even if he was a little odd. Doggett realized that he cared.

Maybe... maybe Brentali was right. He sighed and stroked the face of the shy, nervous man sleeping in his arms.

Maybe this thing with Byers was a lot more serious than he thought.

~~end chapter 4 of 4~~


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