Season 1, Episode 3

Every cop in L.A. hated warrant sweep day and Ronnie was not an example. It didn't improve matters that the Strike Team had gotten more warrants than the other teams since they were four instead of the usual two cops per team. When Vic looked through the papers, Ronnie scanned the names from over his shoulder. He knew a lot of the bastards, either because they were just scumbags or because the Strike Team had taken them out before. Some days he wondered if he'd ended up like one of them if he'd grown up poor. But then again, so had Lem and he had become a cop. Maybe it was just L.A. that turned people bad.

When Vic walked over to Danny to flirt with her or whatever he would call it, he watched Shane talk to Paula, wondering if he was still trying to hit on her. He came back just in time to follow Vic over to his visitor. Looking through the window, Ronnie recognized Connie. She looked quite beaten and covered her neck with her shaking right hand. Worried, Ronnie followed the others. Before he could get very far, Lem turned around, aimed his gun at the unis shouting "Police! Freeze, sucker!" and gave Danny a second shower. Laughing Ronnie watched her chase Lem throughout half the Barn. Maybe this day wasn't all that bad, after all.

.-~-.-~-.

And really, things seemed to start improving. When they arrested Virgil Lewis and his boys and actually stumbled across Derrick Tripp, Ronnie knew by the look on Vic's face, things would turn interesting soon. First, though, he was sent back to the Barn with Lem to drop the shitheads off. He only hoped the dope they'd smoked was good shit; he'd hate to clean the seats if they started puking on the ride.

As he sat next to Lem in the front of the car he wondered what Vic and Shane were up to now. They'd probably come up with an idea to make some profit out of the whole thing. Vic was great at making plans and as far as Ronnie was concerned, it was all about the money anyway. And if that meant he had to endure a car ride with two dumb pieces of shit who were too stoned to actually have a proper conversation or try to defend themselves, he could live with it.

Back at the Barn, he stood in line in front of the cage to wait for the two to be locked away while Lem was talking to Shane on the phone. Ronnie had long since noticed that Lem's body language and facial expressions were like an open book to him. The man just didn't really know how to hide his emotions, or maybe he wasn't trying. He was so unlike Ronnie in this regard that he couldn't help but watch his teammate curiously. The way Lem talked to Shane looked very intimate. He knew the two of them were really close, closer than Ronnie was to any of them. Shane was Lem's best friend and sometimes Ronnie wondered if there wasn't something else between them.

Why would he think such a thing? Because he secretly felt that way for the blonde. He would never act out on that, but when he let his mind wander in the quiet hours of night when he actually got to think, all his thoughts seemed to circle around Lem. It wasn't obsessive or anything, but there were just certain things about the blonde Ronnie loved. Mostly his character since it was hard to find a guy physically attractive when you were actually straight.

When it was his turn after what seemed like ages – Lem spent the whole time talking to Shane – Ronnie could finally drop his load off and motion to Lem to get back to Vic.

"Hey man, Vic's got a plan to make some money! C'mon, I wanna drop by Big 5 before we head back." Lem clapped Ronnie on the back and rubbed his hands in anticipation.

.-~-.-~-.

With all the work they had to put into the whole thing, Ronnie was glad to finish his day. He'd also earned quite some money today, so he knew he probably shouldn't complain.

Getting out of the club house he put on his jacket and dug around in his pockets for his keys. Claudette passed him on the way and smiled to him. He smiled back, still looking for his keys. When he got out on the parking lot, he still hadn't found them. He pulled his jacket off again, going through all his pockets again while walking in the direction of his car. When he looked up to see where he was walking, he saw a figure standing by his car, leaning against it. Getting closer, he realized it was Lem. He looked up when Ronnie reached him.

"Hey man. Hope you don't mind me waiting on ya." The flash of his teeth was bright in the darkness, as was the light reflecting off the keys Lem waved in his direction.

"You stole my keys?" Ronnie chuckled. Leave it to Lem to play pranks on his friends. Lem grinned and walked to the door, opened it and got in the driver's seat. Shaking his head, Ronnie followed.

"First you steal my keys, then you hijack my car? What's next? You gonna tie me up and take me home?"

"If you want me to." Lem said laughing while pulling out of the parking space.

"Kinky bastard." Ronnie replied, imagining what it would be like to get tied up by Lem. Could anyone blame him for liking that idea?

"Ha, you'd like that!" Lem passed the gate and turned left.

"Hell yeah!" Ronnie couldn't help but laugh at the weirdness of the situation. He didn't even need to lie, Lem wouldn't take him serious anyway. "So what's the plan?"

" Dunno, I thought I'd just steal you and your car, take you to my place and have a couple beers or something. I feel like celebrating since we both made a lot of money today." Ronnie realized he'd never been to Lem's place before. He knew the man didn't have any more money than he did, so it was probably just as run down as his place was.

"So I was right! Except for the tying up part." Ronnie chuckled.

"So what, you coming?" Was it just Ronnie's imagination or did Lem sound hopeful?

"Do I have a choice? You already kidnapped me!" Lem hummed in agreement and sped up a little.

.-~-.-~-.

Ronnie couldn't really recall the exact circumstances that had gotten him in this situation. He was sitting on Lem's couch with his fifth beer in hand and talking mostly to the wall across from his position because in his state of slight drunkenness it wasn't such a good idea to look down all the time. He would have had to do that if he'd wanted to talk to Lem face to face, though. Because the blonde was stretched out on the couch with his head resting in Ronnie's lap. Which was a little weird. Not that he minded, hell no. But he felt like he couldn't really concentrate on what he was saying as well as he usually could, even in a state like this. He also found this a bad idea because he'd noticed his hand moving over Lem's t-shirt tracing the seam at Lem's arms a while ago. Lem didn't seem to mind – he probably didn't even feel it – but something about practically stroking your best friend had a strange taste to it.

After a while, talk turned towards Shane and his freak-out today. It wasn't like Ronnie wanted to hear Lem talking about the southerner since he still suspected Lem to have secret feelings for the man. Downing the rest of his beer didn't help at all so he decided to just listen to the way Lem was talking about him.

He seemed cautious with his wording, more than Ronnie knew him to. Usually Lem would just say whatever came to mind. Now Ronnie could hear him stumble over his words and stop to think for a second. It did nothing to improve his mood since he took it as an affirmation for Lem actually having feelings for his best friend. Sighing loudly he lifted his bottle to see if there was anything left in it; there wasn't. He could get up and get a new one. But Lem was still lying in his lap.

"Want me to get you a new one?" Lem offered, having looked up, too. Ronnie shook his head.

"You'd have to get up for that."

"And what's the problem with that? Believe me, I'm not drunk enough to fall over the moment my feet hit the ground." Lem joked, moving to push himself up. Ronnie moved his hand to Lem's chest, pressing down slightly to hinder Lem in his plans.

"It's fine. I don't really want you to move, is all." He passed Lem his empty bottle so he could put it on the floor where the other empty bottles lay.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Lem wondered aloud. Judging by the movement of his head, Lem had turned his head to look up to Ronnie. Throwing all caution in the wind – which was pretty easy thanks to his best friend: alcohol – he decided to just ask.

"Have you ever felt more than friendship for a guy? Like Shane for example?" He asked straightforwardly, slowly bowing his head to look down at Lem's confused face, making sure he didn't start puking from any sudden movement.

"… what? You got any specific reason why you're asking this? And just for protocol: No, I do not have any romantic feelings for Shane. Why'd you think that?" If Ronnie didn't know Lem completely sucked at lying, he wouldn't have believed his friend. After all, it was pretty obvious, right? But if Lem wasn't in love with Shane, what had the two been whispering about all the time?

"Oh, I just thought you and him looked pretty intimate. You know, standing together and whispering about something or the other, having phone calls all day and the way you talk about him is pretty suspicious, too." He tried not to sound jealous although he truly was. Just imagining the two together made his blood boil. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been this possessive about someone. It must've been way back in high school – which was over twenty years ago.

"C'mon man, he's my best friend, of course we're pretty intimate with each other, but not in the way you think. And about those phone calls: We were actually discussing your first question. Since we're already being honest with each other I can just as well tell you: Yes, I have felt more than friendship for a guy. And yes, you know him, before you ask." Lem pouted and turned his head towards his beer that stood on the couch table at arm's reach. If Ronnie wasn't totally mistaken, Lem had gotten nervous now. He tried to mask it with feigned anger and hurt, but the brunette could just read him too well. Interesting.

"What, you mean Vic? C'mon buddy, he's great and all, but seriously?" Ronnie laughed, trying to lift the mood a little.

"Vic? You kiddin' me?" Lem punched his arm laughing. Still grinning Ronnie stole Lem's beer from him, took a swig and handed it back, ignoring Lem's look of discontent. They fell silent for a while, listening to the neighbors fighting about something they couldn't really understand. Ronnie let his thoughts wander once more, wondering who the guy was - or had been - for whom Lem had fallen. Wondering what kind of guys Lem liked. Wondering if he could ever become one of them. His hand started playing with Lem's t-shirt again unconsciously.

When Lem had finished his beer, he dropped the bottle to the floor where it kicked over a couple of the others with a loud crash Lem didn't seem to notice at all. Putting both hands on the couch he slowly began to sit up, even though Ronnie tried to keep him down. He then moved a little backwards to sit next to Ronnie again. Looking up, Lem met his eyes. There was a kind of sadness deep within the ocean blue, melancholy lingering just beneath the surface.

"You know, I don't like mustaches, but…" Lem trailed off, leaning forward towards Ronnie, putting a hand on his shoulder for balance. He got closer still, his breath smelling of beer ghosted over Ronnie's cheek who could only sit and stare at Lem in surprise, unable to command his body to get a move and fucking kiss him!

Where Ronnie lacked control over his body, Lem obviously pulled through with his intentions against better judgment. He could see the struggle going on in his mind mirrored in Lem's eyes, he could feel it when Lem stopped breathing, he could sense it when Lem hesitated just an inch from Ronnie's lips. Ronnie had never seen Lem's eyes shining with emotion so brightly; the man had never been so beautiful. Breaking free from the chains that seemed to hold him back from taking what he really wanted, Ronnie leaned forward to cross the line Lem couldn't seem to bring himself to breach.

Lem didn't have to tell him, didn't have to voice it, say "I love you" or paraphrase it, because Ronnie could feel it quite clearly in Lem's slow, tender kisses that got him through the night.

.-~-.-~-.

The next morning, Ronnie found himself in yet another weird situation. He got to work early since he still had some paperwork left from yesterday. Lem had been too lazy to get up with him, so he arrived even later than the rest of the team. When he greeted the others, Ronnie could see Shane looking at Lem expectantly, but Lem obviously ignored him in favor of putting his private gun in his locker. He then collapsed on the couch, sighing loudly.

"Why didn't you just kick me outta bed, Ronnie? I fell asleep again!" Lem groaned, throwing an arm over his eyes. The rest of the team stopped in their tracks, looked over to Lem, then to Ronnie who just quirked an eyebrow, then back to Lem. Before anyone could voice any questions, Shane burst into laughter.

"About time, buddy!" The southerner jumped up and tackled Lem on the couch, messing with his hair and laughing like mad. Although the other two seemed to get what was going on, they chose not to comment and just grinned in silence. Shaking his head, Ronnie went back to his paperwork.