Don't Play With Fire
Written by spinner

"He said what?"

Frank laughed a little and leaned closer to Meldrick, holding his drink up to his mouth.

"Tim said, 'You don't know what it is like, Frank, to have to work with Lewis. That man is a demon from another dimension'," Pembleton snickered. "So, you really knocked him out cold by driving the cavalier into the back of Scheiner's meat wagon? Stitches in the head and everything? Blood gushing everywhere?"

"Yeah, whatever," Meldrick fumed. "I'm sure he whined to you about all the details. Now Fleet Safety is gunning for me. If I so much as cross the center line, my ass is in a sling. Tim said that about me, huh? 'Demon from another dimension'?? He's such a bonehead."

"Actually, he didn't tell me a thing about the accident. I was wondering why he had a bandage on his forehead for a couple days though," Frank mumbled and then sipped from his glass. Heavy feet approached. Bayliss's voice lit up the area between Lewis and Pembleton as Tim poked his head into their conversation, thereby ending it.

"What are you two whispering about?" Tim questioned.

"Nothing," Lewis said pointedly, whacking Tim's shoulder. "Get your behind back here and take over. I gotta whizz. I've been standing here waiting for you forever."

"I was busy," Tim said, casting a longing glance back across the Waterfront. Frank followed Tim's eyes, and found a woman at the other end of the gaze-- a redhead in a tight, leather skirt that didn't begin to cover her impossibly long legs. Pembleton turned back around and shook his head at Bayliss. "What?" Tim whispered to Frank, working up half a smile. He slid his slender belly up to the counter to let Meldrick step away from bartending. Then Bayliss ducked behind the dark wood himself.

"Nothing," Frank replied, annoyed.

"So, Frank? What were you and Lewis talking about?" Tim asked the second Meldrick was out of earshot.

"Fill my drink and stop your yapping," Frank said, thrusting the glass at Tim. Bayliss poured more cream soda over the cubes, returning it to Frank.

"What? No tip?" he teased when Frank snatched it from him.

"Don't play with fire. You might get burned," Frank supplied helpfully.

"Mmm," Tim whispered, putting his elbows on the counter and leaning close to Frank even as his roving eyes found the redhead again in the crowd. "I hope so, partner. I certainly hope so."


"Are you sure you can't stay longer?" Tim said. Her soft mouth warmed up his ear and the melody of her voice burrowed inside his chest.

"Timothy, no...." Her lips travelled over his neck and under his chin, up his other cheek. "I have to be in front of twenty Sunday school children in five hours."

"Wearing that skirt?" Tim teased as she dotted a kiss on his nose and sat up in bed. He ran a hand down her shoulder and arm, sitting up beside her.

"You never can tell, hmm?" she laughed, relinquishing another intense kiss. Tim nuzzled between her breasts, sucking one nipple and then the other. Her fingers slid through his hair as she held tightly to him. "That's very persuasive, honey. You make it difficult to say no," she sighed in his ear. Tim chuckled in the darkness and traced his tongue up to her throat. She sucked on his bottom lip, digging her nails down his back. She circled her legs around his hips, stroking the nape of his neck to watch him shiver.

"I wanna give you something worth confessing," Tim breathed He nipped at her neck, sliding deep inside her once more. Their shadows melted together as one on the wall behind the bed. The sheets slid down over Tim's legs as they wound up horizontal again. Long limbs encircled him, clinging tightly. A little scratching and a good deal of biting followed, as well as several invocations of at least two higher powers.


Tim tossed in his sleep and stretched out a leg. Damn, it sure was stifling in his bedroom. He rolled onto his stomach and squirmed around under the sheets and blankets. It was hotter than the hubs of hell in here. Tim partially pushed off the blankets, moved around the pillows, and searched for a comfy spot.

Everything smelled of the sweet perfume of recent sex. He smiled a bit, trying to remember the redhead's name. Amber? Amy? Damn. He'd have to ask her when he saw her again. If he were lucky enough to see her again! Mmmm. He wished she had stayed longer. The mental image of her in front of a Sunday school class intrigued him though. He blinked in the darkness and wondered what she might be wearing. Something demure and appropriate?

Was it his imagination, or was the corner of his room glowing faintly with throbbing red lights?


Tim sat up in alarm, wide awake and horrified. He threw off his covers completely and stumbled towards the redness to investigate.....and collided with a body. Deep, soft laughter rumbled. Eyes took shape, gazing back at him.

"Timmy, Timmy, Timmy. Oh, you lucky son of a bitch. She must have really worn you out. You were sleeping heavy when I came in. I've been here like THREE HOURS waiting for you to wake your ass up."

"M....M....Meldrick? Is that you?" Tim stammered.

"You recognize me? I'm touched. I always said you was smarter than the average bear, Boo Boo."

Tim sat down on the floor with a thump, having been aiming for the bed but missing by a couple feet. He leaned back against the side of the mattresses and gazed slowly up the form before him. Cloven hooves? Tight leather pants? A dark, long-sleeved, silk shirt? A full black cloak that flowed to the floor and pooled around like liquid as Meldrick knelt down to Tim's level? What the hell was going on here? As Tim studied the apparition before him, a long finger and razor-sharp nail grabbed his chin, bringing his inspection farther north. Meldrick scooped his index finger under the soft curve, and bent down within inches to be heard clearly.

"We need to talk, Tim Bayliss," Meldrick began, his voice getting deeper. His glowing red eyes punctuated each syllable of Tim's name by intensifying in brightness. "How did you know?"

"Know what?" Tim blinked. The nail under his chin traced up his left cheek. It pushed tousled bangs back off of his forehead, and then rested on the tip of his nose.

" 'That man is a demon from another dimension', you said to Frank. How the fuck did you know?"

"I.....I.....I- what are you talking about?"

"That's not an answer, Timmy Boy. How did you see through my disguise? I had it on very good authority that Meldrick Lewis was a perfect cover. Not too good, not too bad. Not too soft, but not unfeeling. A nice mix of different cultures and colors. How the fuck did you see through my cover, man??"

Tim closed his eyes and gulped audibly. He shook his head quickly back and forth.

"I'm drunk. I'm dreaming. This is my imagination playing overtime. No more vodka and oj. Have to give up the screwdrivers. Gonna tear that recipe right out of the bartender's manual."

"Tim," the menacing one said as he moved even closer into Bayliss's personal space. "Oh, you lucky bastard. You even smell like her still. Timmy, I'm not mad at you. Tell me how you knew. That's all I want. Did you sense something "other worldly" about me? Was it the face? The eyes? The beard? The hair? Is it the dialect, cause I can work on that. How could you tell I wasn't from around here??"

" was a joke. I was using a metaphor. I don't know anything."

"A joke! This is a joke to you? Do you know how damned hard I've worked to be promoted to the corporeal plane, to spend my time keeping an eye on you all up here? They don't let just anybody run around up here, you know? We have to be discreet. If you've blown my cover, bunkie, I have only two choices. Either make you one of us, or kill you."

"Kill? Me?" Tim questioned, closing his eyes again. "No, no, no, no, no."

"But if you haven't blown it all for me, Timmy, you got nothing to worry about."

"Frank knows I was joking," Tim insisted.

"Who else have you told?"

"Told? NOBODY!!" Tim yelped.

"You keep that little mouth of yours shut. You hear me?"

"Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh," Tim nodded.

"You don't tell anyone what you know."

"I won't," Tim promised.

"You behave yourself, and you keep your mouth shut," Meldrick warned, tucking a finger under Tim's chin again. He raised Tim's head, running a thumb over his bottom lip. "Keep it shut."

"I will, I will," Tim whispered. Tim caught his breath as Meldrick's nose slid briefly down the side of his neck. Teeth scraped his jugular veins, first one side and then the other. A fire-hot tongue danced over his skin. Sounds somewhere between purring and rumbles of despair whispered in Meldrick's chest.

"You taste like her too. I miss sex as a mortal so much....." Meldrick mourned. Tim panted in faintly panicked puzzlement. "I'd forgotten how good mortals taste and feel. How wonderful you smell. So alive and full of...... je ne sais quoi.....what is that?" he murmured, sniffing at Tim's hair. Bayliss gave an awkward attempt at shoving Meldrick back. Lewis seemed to remember himself then. "You keep your mouth shut about my cover," he warned again, patting Tim's cheek with a rough hand. "You got me?"

"I won't tell a soul," Tim promised.

"If you do, you won't have a soul to worry about," Meldrick warned before rising up again and disappearing into the night.


"Late night?" Frank asked. Tim jolted back from the mirror in the men's room, and stopped inspecting his neck. He had already been over every inch of his body at least twice and hadn't found any bite marks or scratches. A dream. He had been dreaming. He must have been dreaming. Tim sighed and smiled at Frank.

"I had the strangest night last night," he said, shaking his head. "This morning."

"I do NOT wanna hear what happened with you and the harlot you went home with," Frank muttered. "You gonna stand there and admire yourself all day, or are you going to come out here and show me what you did with my notes on that art coed's murder?" Pembleton asked dryly.

"I.....I....." Tim stammered, still stuck on the harlot part. Was that jealousy he was hearing in Frank's voice?

"Arg! Don't start that. Come on," Frank said impatiently. Meldrick shoved the door inward, and nearly took off Frank's back heel. Pembleton dodged forward, practically standing on top of Tim. In order to keep Frank from falling over into the porcelain sinks, Tim wrapped his arms around his partner's waist and held him upright.

"Might have known I'd find you two in here," Lewis joked, undoing his belt and heading for a stall. "Giving him another dancing lesson? Well, don't let me interrupt. I have a purpose for being here."

Frank stood a couple inches away from Tim and jabbed Meldrick in the back of the head.

"Business or pleasure?" Frank mused.

"What are you two really doing in here?" Lewis asked.

"We were talking about Tim's bad dreams from last night," Frank answered.

"Oh you were?" Meldrick questioned, his voice dripping with dark amusement. "What did you dream about, Timmy Boy?"


"Whatever it was, he was looking at his neck when I came in," Frank supplied.

"Didn't you go home with that long legged transvestite?"

"Trust me," Tim laughed quickly. "That was all woman."

"Are you sure? You were pretty smashed."

"Yes, I'm quite sure."

"So what were your dreams about?" Lewis wanted to know.

"Ummmm," Tim repeated.

"Vampires? Whips? Chains?" Lewis drove on. Frank studied Tim with a penetrating stare. An all knowing smile crossed Pembleton's face.

"Demons?" he whispered. Tim caught his breath and shook Frank's arm.

"No!" he insisted anxiously.

"You were dreaming about demons??" Meldrick laughed. "What kinda of demons? Incubi? Succubi? Devils that roam the nights?"

"Or were you visited by Old Scratch himself?" Frank wondered.

"No," Tim repeated, laughing uncomfortably. "Shut up, Frank."

Meldrick emerged from the stall, and took a hard look at Tim. His eyes narrowed slowly, and he started shaking his head.

"You were dreaming about me, weren't you? 'That man is a demon from another dimension'?" he accused. Tim glared at Frank and simultaneously went totally pink.

"Oh, Timmy," Frank mused.

"I don't even wanna know what this dream involved, okay?," Meldrick sighed, washing his hands. "I don't even wanna know."

Frank waited a beat and then smiled warmly.

"Well I do. Meldrick, leave, so he'll tell me."

"When Hell freezes over!" Tim barked, stomping out the bathroom door.

*the end*