Title: L.A. Confidential, What If?
Author: P’al Kwai
Rating: NC-17 for language and explicit m/m slash
Pairings: B White/ E Exley
Disclaimer: I don't own LAC characters. Characters are owned by James Ellroy, with contributions from Brian Hegeland and Curtis Hanson. No infringement intended.
Summary: What If White wasn't seriously wounded in the Victory Motel shoot-up?
Feedback: PLEASE, I’d love to hear from you.
Author's Notes: My intent with this fic was to write a short PWP, but when I got Ed and Bud in the bedroom together, I realized that it there was no way that either character would jump into a sexual situation after everything that had transpired. So I rewrote the bedroom scene, changed the rating to PG-13 (my apologies for that), and decided to make this a two parter. The second part of this fic will take place some weeks later, and by then I think our two heroes will be ready for a more *in-depth* relationship.
Dedication: To Rachel A who e-mailed me looking for my And Again series and ended up being talked into betaing this fic for me. <g> Thank you.
Surveying the perimeter, Bud slowly made his way to an injured Exley. "You ok?"
Panting and gasping in pain, Ed managed to spit out a, "Yeah."
Still cautious, White kept checking the area as he backed up to a seated Exley. Bending down he offered an arm. "Come on. Easy now. Come on." Gently he helped the wounded Lieutenant to his feet.
Back to the door, Ed didn't see the tall figure of Captain Smith entering the room, but Bud did as threw Exley down while raising the shotgun. Captain and Sergeant faced each other down. It was a standoff.
"Going to shoot me, Wendell. . .or try to arrest me?"
Bud hesitated, torn. Dudley Smith had gotten him reinstated after the 'Bloody Christmas' fiasco. Had him transferred to homicide. Tutored him. Mentored him.
Dudley read the indecision in his eyes. Waited just another split second and then knew he had won. "Good lad. Starting to become a politician. Let me do the talking. After I'm done, you might have a shot at becoming a Lieutenant. Then you won't have to take orders from Exley there." He motioned to the young detective who was struggling to get to his knees. "Take your badges out and hold them up. . .so they know you're policemen."
Turning, the police captain headed out the door with an unsure Bud following him slowly.
One arm immobile because of a bullet through his shoulder, Ed awkwardly scrambled around, looking for his gun. Finding it, he painfully got to his feet and followed the other two men out of the Victory Motel.
The police cars were arriving with sirens sounding and lights flashing. Captain Smith stood tall, some feet ahead of White, holding his badge up. He was an easy target as Ed raised his gun and fired.
Sitting at his kitchen table, Exley's head pounded, his shoulder throbbed, and tiredness filled him to the point where he wondered if he could just slide down on the kitchen floor and pass out.
They had grilled him for hours. Internal Affairs officers. The district attorney. Chief Parker. He initially told them the truth, but they weren't happy with the truth. The truth made the department look bad. Corrupt police officers taking over Mickey Cohen's businesses. Unacceptable. So Ed had to find a truth that would make them happy. Make them all happy.
During the hours he had spent being interrogated, thoughts of Bud White kept flashing in his head. The two had been immediately separated. Driven from the Victory Motel in separate patrol cars, and questioned in different rooms.
Which truth was Bud telling them? What would he think of Ed's new version of what had happened? And what did he think of his boss and mentor being shot in the back by Lieutenant Exley, a man he distrusted, hated?
Overloaded, Ed put his head down on the kitchen table. Arm in a sling, another thought occurred to him. How the hell was he going to get undressed? Too tired to figure out what to do, but uncomfortable at the table, he stumbled out of the kitchen. Heading for the couch, when the doorbell sounded. Ignoring it, he threw himself down, hoping that whoever it was would go away. Minutes later, the doorbell was still ringing, and was now accompanied by a loud pounding.
"No one's home." Pillow over his face, Ed muttered into it. "Haven't you figured that out yet?"
"EXLEY!" Now the doorbell and pounding was replaced by someone shouting through the door. "OPEN THIS FUCKING DOOR, OR I'LL KICK IT IN."
A burst of adrenaline shot through Ed as he sat up straight. "White!" He knew the voice. Mind fuzzy, he tried to remember where his gun was. Where a baseball bat was. Where any kind of weapon was.
"EXLEY!" True to his word, White started kicking the front door in.
Having no idea where his gun was and not wanting his door smashed in, Ed finally just gave in and went to open it. He got as far as unlocking it when Bud shoved his way into the house.
"Well, Exley." Seething, Bud could hardly control himself as he paced back and forth like a caged animal. "I see that you worked out everything to your advantage. Got rid of Dudley Smith, and then bullshitted your way out of it. Guess the next step will be for you to talk the higher-ups into promoting you to the now vacant captain's position."
"White." Speaking in soft, calming tones. "Smith murdered those people at the Nite Owl Cafe. He murdered Jack Vincennes. He murdered your ex-partner, Stensland. If we had let him walk out of the Victory Motel alive, he would have talked his way out of it, despite what we said. And I wasn't going to allow him to become another Rollo Tomasi."
"WHO?" Stopping his pacing for a moment, Bud eyed Exley intently.
"Rollo Tomasi. The one who gets a way with it."
There was a part of White, which couldn't disagree with Exley. Smith had been guilty of coercion, extortion, drug dealing, murder, and murder of fellow police officers.
"But. . .but you shot him in the back! That's. . .that's. . . ."
"That's what? You shot a naked, unarmed man and called it justice. What makes what I did so much more terrible?"
"I don't know." Running his hand over his short hair, Bud could feel his anger abating. "I just couldn't help thinking that it's another Edmund Exley scheme because it's working out so perfect for you. Dudley's out of the picture. You'll get rewarded another Medal of Valor, and perhaps a promotion."
"You'll be rewarded too, White."
"For what, helping to cover up the truth?" Cynicism and bitterness colored his voice.
"Yes, they're using us." Ed admitted. "So we need to use them to get what we want."
"And what do we want?" Temper now in control, White heard Ed's sincerity. The same sincerity which had been in Exley's voice when he had asked Bud for his help in resolving the Nite Owl case, 'help me swing the wrecking ball.'
Waking up in his own room, Ed lay there confused. He didn't remember putting himself to bed. A split second passed and then the awareness of another in the room passed through him. Asleep, head resting on top of the chair, legs stretched out in front of him, Bud did not look comfortable.
"White!" Struggling to roll over and swing his legs out of bed, a sharp pain struck him. A harsh reminder that he needed to move slowly.
"Exley." Waking up, Bud straightened up, rolling his head to get rid of the crick in his neck. "Stay put. You shouldn't get out of bed."
Lying back, Ed couldn't figure out for the life of him what Bud White was doing in his bedroom. "What's going on? And why are you here? Didn't I. . . ." Racking his brain. Hadn't he seen White to the door?
"I was on my way out, when your eyes went glassy, and you started to keel over. Lucky for you I was here. Caught you before you could hit the floor."
Brow furrowed, Ed tried to remember. "Well, I guess I owe you a thank you, but. . . ." Heat spread throughout his body, as he suddenly realized that he was naked, and that it was White who had undressed him. "But. . .you didn't have to stay."
"Didn't want to leave you here alone. Even thought about taking you to the hospital." Giving Exley a searching look. "Do you think you need to go to. . .?"
"NO." Ed just wanted so peace and quiet. " Just overdid it. I was patched up, and then they had to know everything. . .immediately. Well, you know. You were there. Didn't they interrogate you for hours?"
"Yeah. Wish I could have seen their faces though. Wonder if the Chief's face cracked from trying not show any emotion?" Bud grinned at that thought, as he looked again at Exley.
A small laugh escaped before Ed could stop it. Grinning back, he suddenly felt better. Lighter. A weight that had been smothering him had been lifted. He and Wendell White. Enemies no more.
Showering first at Bud's insistence, Ed moved slowly through the house, heading for the kitchen. He needed coffee. Making enough for two, he put the coffeepot on the stove, and then began searching the kitchen to find his pain medicine.
"What ya looking for?" Fresh out of the shower, Bud was shirtless, towel draped around his neck.
"My pills." Finding the medicine vial, Ed popped two in his mouth while filling a glass with water from the tap.
"Pills? Pills from the doctor? For what? Infection. . . ?"
"Pain?" Narrowing his eyes, Bud gave the other man a searching look. "You in pain, Ed?"
"I'll live." Forgetting himself, Exley shrugged, causing him to wince. "That is. . .if I don't have to report for duty today."
"Heroes get a day off at least, don't they? Isn't that written in the police officer's handbook?" Moving over by Ed, Bud took the coffee mugs from him. "Sit down, before you fall down again." He motioned toward the kitchen chairs and then turned to the stove. "I'll take care of this."
"Thanks." Grateful, Exley awkwardly sat down. "Oh, and by the way, thanks for the push."
A coffee mug in each hand, Bud's eyes met Ed's. "My pleasure."
Sitting down, White set a mug in front of Exley. The two men sat in silence for a few moments, remembering all that had transpired, beginning from Bloody Christmas and ending at the shoot-out at the Victory Motel.
"Exley." Bud was the first to break the silence. "I want a favor from you. Consider it payment for the push I gave you."
Surprised, Ed looked up. He hadn't expected White to want payback. "Favor?"
"When they make you the new homicide captain, I want you to take me on as your. . . assistant."
Exley couldn't help it, as a snort of laughter escaped him. "Ok, Bud. Whatever you say. In five years from now, *IF* I am given the position of homicide captain, I solemnly swear that I will. . . ."
Reaching across the table, White had Ed by the front of the shirt. "I'm not joking around here, Exley! NOW. . .give me your word."
Knowing what it was like to be on the receiving end of Bud's bad temper, Edmund Exley immediately backed down. After all, what harm would it do to appease the slightly 'mad' Wendell White. Chances are he would never become the captain of homicide, and if he did, it would be years in the future. By then he and White will have gone their separate ways. He saw no harm in making a meaningless promise. "Okay, White. You have my word."
Author's Notes: Sakana, who betaed the second part of this fic (and I thank her) had a concern for some of the sketchiness of certain parts. I agree that I should have had more detail, more explanation for certain facts that I presented, but as I said before this fic was supposed to be just a simple au pwp. This story kind of slipped out of my control, and I don't want to invest any more time in it. Consequently, this is probably not one of my better efforts, but I'm going to post it anywhere so Mega can have her Bud/Ed slash fix. <g>
Dedication: To Deirde who e-mailed me requesting a LAC fic before the end of March when she will be going to Russia. Her fb motivated me to finish this fic.
One Month Later
Sweat flowing, teeth gritted in pain, Ed forced himself to continue his exercises. "Five more. Just five more." He muttered as the doorbell rang. Sighing with relief at the unexpected interruption from the grind of his daily therapy workout, he looked around quickly for a shirt to hide his half nakedness.
"EXLEY!" Perpetually impatient, Bud shouted through the door while pressing hard on the doorbell.
"For Christ's sake, White." Ed yanked the door open. "Going to bust my doorbell like you did my door?"
"Lieutenant Exley." Tone changing quickly to total deference. "Need to see you. I was told you were at home today."
Stepping aside to let the other man in, Ed looked around for a towel to clean the sweat of his face. "This couldn't have waited until tomorrow?"
"No." A man not prone to explain himself, Bud said no more. Hands in pants pocket, he surveyed the room briefly before turning to stare at Exley.
Wiping his face, Ed found himself irrationally embarrassed by the other man's intent look. "So, what can I do for you, Officer White?"
"Heard that you're to become the acting commander of homicide."
"Yeah. . .well it's just temporary. They're rotating me through all the divisions for a short period. Homicide is my next stop."
"They're grooming their 'golden boy'."
Suspecting sarcasm, Exley stopped wiping his face and gave Bud a searching glare, but he felt no hostility emanating from the other man. "Perhaps, but I'm assuming that as soon as I'm back to normal, I'll be reassigned to active duty."
"Active duty? Not going to lobby for a permanent commander's position?"
Ed smiled every so slightly. "Not sure. You know it's not what I envisioned. Half of it is playing the political angles, and the other half is paperwork. Not sure where I'm helping to 'protect the innocent' and 'catch the bad guys'."
"Give it time. You're still learning."
Exley's head reared up in surprise at Bud's wise, supportive words. Lynn and Pinker had been right with their assessments of White. There was a brain under all that muscle.
"Anyway, Lieutenant. . .or should I say soon-to-be-Captain." Bud grinned. His smile gave him a boyish air. "You do remember the promise you made to me? The promise of making me your assistant when you became. . . ."
"I'm not the homicide commander. Only. . . ."
"They just want to test you first. See how you perform. If you pass muster, then you'll be promoted to Captain, and be made the permanent commander." White said this with confidence.
"Okay, Bud." Sighing, Ed decided to stop arguing and let White have his delusions. "And what exactly do you think you'll do as my 'assistant'? Commanding officers don't have personal assistants."
"Dudley did." Amusement tinged Bud's voice. He had the air of a man who was trying to explain the obvious to a three-year-old.
Sighing again, Exley wasn't used to be patronized, especially by the likes of Wendell White. "Yeah, Smith had his assistants, all right. Flunkeys he needed for his dirty wor. . . ." Breaking off as he remembered that Bud had been one of Dudley's assistants.
"That's right." Sitting on the arm of the couch, half smile on his face, Bud knew what Ed had been about to say. "You're getting a man with previous experience."
"And what kind of dirty work do you think I'll have?" Exasperation filled Ed's voice. "You think I'm going to follow in Smith's footsteps, and . . . ?"
"It never crossed my mind that you would do what Dudley did. But trust me, Exley. You'll find a lot of uses for me. You're a smart man, but sometimes brains alone won't get the job done. You need muscle too. And as you know, I've got plenty of muscle."
"So-o, as my assistant, you'll be backing me up. . . ." Ed was thoughtful. "Like the time we played good cop, bad cop with District Attorney Loew?"
"That's one good example." Bud nodded his agreement. "One of many." He added.
"White!" Ed was finding the other man's vagueness, unsettling. "Will you stop talking in riddles, and just say what you have on your mind?"
"Are you going to keep your promise?" Standing up, Bud faced Ed down. All traces of his earlier good humor gone, he now had a cold, determined look on his face.
Remembering that he did indeed make such a promise, Ed could only nod his head in agreement.
"Good." White was appeased, as he turned and headed for the front door. "See you tomorrow. . .Boss."
Hands on hips, Ed watched Bud go out his front door. His rational side told him that spending a lot of time in the company of an officer who was unstable and dangerous was not a good idea, but a small part of him was excited by the opportunity to work side-by-side with White again. Dangerous thinking. So what the hell did he just get himself into?
Two Weeks Later
Seven o'clock in the evening and Ed could only stare at the pile of paperwork on his desk. Half a day spent in meetings, and the other half in supervision. Now he needed another three hours to do the paperwork that didn't get done.
"Lieutenant." Opening the door, Bud stuck his head in. "You ready to go? Got the car warmed up."
"No, that's okay, Officer White." Answering with a cool, professional decorum, Ed looked up from his paperwork. For unknown reasons, Bud made him feel uncomfortable, and formality was the only defense he had. "I'll be here for some hours yet. I'll catch a ride with a patrol car later."
Stepping into the office, White closed the door carefully. Standing up against the door, he eyed Exley closely. "When was the last time you ate?"
Eyes lowered, studying the papers on his desk, Ed wasn't sure he had heard the question right.
"Or didn't you eat at all today?"
Biting back a laugh, Exley was trying to decide if Bud was serious or not. "No, I ate. . . ." Racking his brain trying to remember if the sandwich he had eaten at his desk had happened today or yesterday. "Ate a. . .and why are you asking me such a question, Sergeant? I'm too busy for foolish. . . ."
"You don't eat enough." White interrupted. "You've lost weight, Lieutenant. You're too thin."
Now Ed was sure that Bud was joking, as he allowed himself a chuckle. "I'm touched by your concern, but this whole motherly image is really not you."
Deadly serious, White didn't laugh back. "What's wrong, Lieutenant? Pressure getting to you?"
Taken aback by the directness and the veracity of his subordinate's questions, Exley had no answer. A few moments of silence, as the two men stared at each other.
"It's harder than I thought it would be." Hating to appear incapable, Ed found the admission difficult.
Remaining silent, Bud continued to eye the Lieutenant from under half-closed eyelids.
"But I can't fail! The men sneer at me behind my back as it is. Always have. The youngest man ever to become detective lieutenant, and then acting commander. But according to Them, I didn't really earn it. I was favored because of my father, and I knew how to. . .sweet talk my superiors. If I fail now, the men will really have something to sneer about. I can just hear them, 'the punk kid couldn't make it. Didn't have what it takes. All talk and no action'."
"That isn't true. You've proven yourself already. You single-handedly killed those
Negroes. . . ." Stopping, White realized that was a poor illustration. "The shoot-out at the Victory Motel." He tried another example.
Ed smiled cynically. "The talk is that I only made it out of there because of you. And they're right. You saved me at the Victory Motel, and have been saving my ass ever since. You knew, didn't you? Knew that the only way I could survive is by having you back me up. The men respect you, and not one of them dares to say anything when you're in the room with me. And the higher-ups, they too are waiting for me to fail especially the District Attorney."
"Loew." Arms now folded across his chest, Bud couldn't help but smirk. "The inventor of the good-cop-bad-cop. Don't worry about him. If he gives you any trouble, I'll have a talk with him. He'll do what I tell him. He's so scared of me that he pisses in his pants any time I'm near him."
Crude words that shocked Ed for a moment, but then made him laugh. "Yeah, he always gets this sick look on his face as soon as he sees you enter the room with me."
Ridiculing Loew broke Exley's tension. Reflecting a moment, he realized how pathetic he sounded, whining and crying about his situation. Making a conscious decision to put on a better face, he redirected the conversation. "You know Sergeant, you're right. I am hungry and haven't eaten yet. How about we go and grab something? My treat."
Nodding his head, Bud opened the door for Ed. "And I know just the place, Lieutenant."
"What restaurant is here?" Looking through the passenger side window, Ed saw they were driving through a residential area.
"Bud's Place." Giving the other man a smile, White pulled into the driveway.
"Bud's place? Your house? You can cook?" Bemused, Exley had never imagined himself eating at Wendell White's home.
"Yeah, this is my house, and I can do three things in the kitchen: boil water, fry an egg, and make chili." Getting out of the car, Bud lead the way into his home.
"Chili?" Typically, chili wasn't something Ed ate, but not having had a decent meal in a while, his stomach rumbled in hunger. Following White into the house, he couldn't help but look around in interest. The furnishings were plain and sparse, not revealing any of the owner's personality.
Bud headed straight for the kitchen, opening the refrigerator and grabbing two beers. Opening both bottles, he pushed the kitchen door ajar, handing one to Exley who was still giving the house an inspection. "Here, Ed. Drink it. And I don't wish to hear anything about you wanting some kind of fancy wine. You're going to be eating chili and with chili you drink beer."
Taking the beer, Exley didn't protest. "How long have you lived here?" He asked curiously.
"Not long." Bud answered vaguely, as he took a swig of beer. "Gonna go and change my clothes. Make yourself comfortable." He offered this hospitality, while loosening his tie and walking toward the bedroom. "I'll bring you a change of clothes too. Don't want to mess up that expensive suit of yours with chili."
Looking down at his clothes, again, Ed was struck by the fact that he didn't know what to make of Bud's words. Teasing? Taunting? Mocking?
Sitting back on the couch, stomach full, Ed felt sated and tired. There would be no way that he'd go back to his office tonight anymore. "Guess I'll have to impose on you to take me home now." He looked over at Bud, seated to his left on a chair.
"Just stay here tonight, Exley."
"Here?" Surprised at the invitation, but strangely pleased by it. "You have an extra bed? Or were you thinking. . . ." He looked down at the couch he was sitting on. "I'd bunk here?"
"Neither." Voice and face impassive, as Bud stared at Ed through narrowed eyes.
"Neither?" Again, Exley was unsure of himself. He felt a warmth spread throughout his body, but not wanting to make a complete fool of himself by misunderstanding, he decided to play it safe. "You know if you're too tired to drive me home, I could call a cab. In fact. . . ." Standing up, he looked around for the telephone. "Why don't I just do. . . ."
Breaking off as White grabbed him by the arm. "Thought you were such a smart one, Ed. But you're just not getting it."
Warmth turning to a fire as Exley felt his groin hardening. "I. . .I. . . ." For once, the usually effusive lieutenant was at a loss for words.
Pulling the smaller man down on his lap, Bud buried his face in a warm neck. "Stay with me. I'll make you feel good. So good that you'll forget all your troubles for tonight."
Closing his eyes, Ed now understood why he had felt so awkward every time he was in Bud's presence. He now understood that unnamed feeling. Sexual lust.
"Lie back." Pushing a naked Ed down on the bed, Bud was frantically pulling off his own clothes.
Keeping himself in the sitting position, Exley was having second thoughts. Fear of the unknown clashed with sexual desire. "Bud. . .you know. . .I. . . ." Warm lips cut him off for a moment while strong hands pushed him down.
"Ed, don't talk. Just feel." Straddling the smaller man, Bud held Exley down with one hand in the middle of his chest, while he used the other to begin stroking Ed's hardness.
"Oh, fuck!" A rare curse as Ed couldn't deny the electrical sparks that were flowing from his stiff cock to all parts of his body, making them all but inoperable.
"Want to make you feel good." A quiet whisper before Bud lowered his head, taking Exley in his mouth.
Ed had never felt the sensation of a warm, wet mouth around him. Raising his arms above his head in an unconsciously, submissive position, he bucked his hips, trying to push more of himself in.
Letting the cock in his mouth slide over his tongue, Bud increased his suction while stroking himself with his right hand. Desire at such a peak, his hand rubbed lightly. Too hard and he'd be done before he started. Coating his fingers with his own precum, he used his left hand to push Ed's legs apart.
His first experience with oral sex, Ed savored the feeling. Within seconds he felt another whole new sensation. A finger massaging his perineum, his entrance, and then his prostate. Moaning, hips rising off the bed, he felt himself swell as his orgasm flowed through him.
Draining Ed dry, Bud continued to finger him. One finger became two, then three, as he gently stretched the opening, readying the other man. Wanting to take it slow, he struggled to focus on anything but his throbbing cock. Tried reciting the municipal codes and state statutes, but never known for his self-control, that exercise only lasted about twenty seconds. Giving into his lust, White positioned himself and slowly began to work his organ into Exley.
Now groaning in discomfort instead of pleasure, Exley couldn't help but try to push Bud away. "Can't. Won't. . . ." He grunted in pain.
"Relax. Just try to relax." Rubbing soothing hands over Ed's body, White could feel the head of his cock push through the sphincter ring, but the other man was extremely tight and Bud's thrust was stopped short. "Push against me." He ordered as his whole body pulsated with sexual need. The need to feel himself totally engulfed was overwhelming.
His lower body burning in pain, Exley gladly obeyed, as he pushed, trying to expel the foreign mass inside him. But pushing only served to loosed his internal muscles, letting the bigger man on top of him slide all the way in.
"Oh, Christ. You feel good!" Not moving, Bud wanted to give Ed's body time to adjust.
Panting heavily, Exley could feel the burning pain begin to dull. Began to feel his body adjusting, accommodating.
"You okay?" Seeing Ed nod his head slightly, Bud began moving. Short, shallow thrusts that soon became longer and deeper, as he felt his orgasm building. Lust overcoming rational thought, his movements sped up as he drove himself all the way in, body bucking as he completely emptied himself.
Chest heaving, head swimming, White collapsed on top of the slim body beneath him. "Jesus fucking Christ!" Gasping in breath, he gently pulled out, while rolling on his side. "I didn't hurt. . . ?"
"It's all right. I'm all right." Ed closed his eyes as he was pulled up tight against Bud's broad chest. Exhaustion overwhelmed him as he allowed himself to drift into a deep slumber. For the first time since the Victory Motel, body and mind were in a tranquil state, and problems were temporarily forgotten. Edmund Exley slept peacefully and untroubled.
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