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Title: Philophobia
Fandom: Romani Detective Original Fiction
Pairing: Andrej Zeklos/James Rosewood/Zayne Reyes
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1,737
Summary: When Andrej’s injured chasing a suspect, Zayne contemplates the possibility of live without Zeklos.
Author’s Note: Written for round 8 at hc_bingo. This fulfills the ‘forced to face a fear’ square. My card is here.

There was a time when his greatest worry was not having a date for Friday night. Then, he’d become a cop and his fears began to coalesce around his mortality. Suddenly, bullets and crazy serial killers were more frightening than eating take out and watching some cheesy movie on television alone ever had been. But now, even a bullet headed towards his face wasn’t as terrifying as what he was facing right that second.

**

Zayne paced the floor of the emergency room, pissed that this had even happened in the first place. They’d had the guy, there hadn’t been any way he was going to get past them until he did exactly that. It still wasn’t clear in Zayne’s head how the suspect had gotten through their defenses. And where the hell had he pulled that knife from?

He could still feel the sticky hot blood as it gushed from the gash in Zeklos’ leg. Zayne had pulled his shirt over his head, wadding it into a ball so he could press it against Zek’s wound, hoping, praying, that his partner survived until the paramedics arrived. In all of his life, Zayne couldn’t remember ever being as terrified as he was then, not even that time he’d stared down an angry bull, waiting for the rodeo clowns to do their job so he didn’t get gored. The clowns had distracted the bull in the nick of time, just as the paramedics had arrived without a second to spare tonight.

To make things worse, Rosewood wasn’t answering his damn phone, which was pissing Zayne off more than it should. Didn’t he know that Zayne needed him? That his presence was fucking required in this dingy, empty, horrifying emergency room? And what if something happened to Zek and Zayne made the wrong choice, the wrong decision? Rosewood would be on his ass for the rest of his life. Not that it’d be much of a life without Zek in it.

Shit, but what if something horrible did happen? He had no way of getting in touch with Zeklos’ family in Romania. Zayne knew that he spoke with his sister via letters and occasionally on the phone, but she spoke absolutely no English and the only romaneste that he knew wasn’t the kind of thing you told your lover’s sister.

Fuck.

Zayne raked his hands through his hair, desperate for someone, anyone to call out his name. Even the tiniest bit of news would be enough to get him through. Frustrated, he pulled out his phone and dialed the ginger again. Still no answer.

His first instinct upon not being able to reach Rosewood had been to call Hilary, just hearing her voice would calm his nerves. She’d always been his voice of reason, his shoulder to cry on. But he couldn’t call her tonight, not when Rollins had let it slip that she was out on a date with someone new. He had to admit, he’d thought it would hurt a hell of a lot more than it did to hear those words, but surprisingly enough, Zayne found himself happy for Hil. Pleased that she’d given up on his stupid, wishy washy ass. But even with his delight for her there was a tinge of sadness. Now who was he going to lean on when he’d fucked things up with Zek? Because god only knew, he’d done it before and was prone to do it again.

There was no talking to the redheaded terror, either. Trish was an amazing woman, an excellent detective, and probably the best friend Hilary had ever had. But she had no time for Zayne’s bullshit and therefore never gave him an opportunity to say five words before she cut him off and shut him down. She was only nice to him because of Zeklos.

Double fuck.

If something happened to his partner tonight, if the doctors failed and – and something went south, he was literally going to be on his own. There was zero chance of the narco hanging around if Zek wasn’t in the picture. He was the glue that held Zayne and James together in this fragile, persnickety relationship-like thing they had.

Zayne stopped pacing and collapsed into the nearest chair, something breaking inside his chest at the thought of losing both Zek and the narco. What would he do? Go home to Texas? He sure as hell couldn’t stay here, not with every damn thing he saw, heard, and felt reminding him of everything he’d lost. Nah, he couldn’t go home either, because his parents would expect him to find some woman, settle down and start having babies. Not that he’d ever been opposed to that whole white picket fence and two point three children thing, but his entire world had changed in the last year. How on earth could he ever explain that to his parents? Would they even want to believe that their womanizing son had found love with another man? Men, even?

“Stop crying.”

The words, so gently spoken, barely registered before he felt the hand on his shoulder. He lifted his head and found the icy blue eyes of James Rosewood staring back at him. Rage filled the spaces where despair had sat for so long. “Took you long enough,” Zayne seethed, pushing the redhead’s hand away from his body. “Where the hell have you been? I’ve fucking called you over and over and you didn’t answer!”

Something passed across James’ face, resolving itself into a grimace. “Zayne, listen –”

“Shut up,” Zayne snarled, launching to his feet. “Just shut the hell up. I needed you, asshole. And you wouldn’t answer!”

James looked at his feet for a long moment. When his eyes again met Zayne’s they were softer, less whatever they’d been an instant before. “What happened, Zayne? Sit down and talk to me.”

Angrily, Zayne swiped at his leaking eyes. When the fuck had he started crying? He didn’t even know. God help him, but he couldn’t be bothered to care either. “I don’t have a fucking clue. One minute, we had the suspect dead to rights, the next, Zeklos was lying in the street, bleeding. I – I fucked up and I don’t have any idea how.”

This time, when the redhead reached out for him, Zayne leaned into the touch. Accepted the comfort of the man that he’d come to not only like, but also care about greatly. With a sigh, he let the whole story flow out of him. From the minute they’d gotten out of Zek’s car, to the chase, to his best friend in the world lying on the ground with his life draining from him. “I was so scared,” he whispered. “I still am.”

“It’s going to be okay,” James assured him, even though Zayne knew the ginger had to be freaked the hell out as well. “He has to be okay.”

When the doctor finally arrived, Zayne felt boneless. Like he couldn’t stand on his own. James slid an arm across Zayne’s shoulders and he gave the man a thankful half-smile. “What’s the verdict, doc,” Zayne asked, praying that his desperation didn’t show in his voice. “Is he – is Andrej – going to be okay?”

The doctor, dressed in a pristine white lab coat, stethoscope wrapped neatly around his neck, nodded. It was the last thing Zayne remembered until he found Rosewood, kneeling on the floor, nose to nose with him. “What the hell, gingerbread? Personal space, ever heard of it?”

James laughed. “God, you scared me. I’ve never seen a man your size faint before.”

Embarrassed, Zayne tried to pull out of the narco’s grip, those pale fingers biting sharply into his chin. “Let go.”

“Not until I’m sure I don’t have to call the doctor back here,” James said.

“I’m fine,” Zayne sighed. “I don’t know what happened but – well, shit.”

“That’s pretty much it,” James snorted, releasing his grip on Zayne’s face.

Rosewood moved from his knees onto his ass and sat beside Zayne on the floor of the emergency room. They both knew Zek would disapprove, but Zayne didn’t have the strength to stand or even find his way into a hard, plastic chair. “What did the doctor say?”

“That Andy’s going to be fine.” James took Zayne’s hand into his own and gave it a squeeze. “You were smart to use your shirt to help stop the bleeding.” At this, James looked at Zayne as if seeing him for the first time. “Speaking of which, where did this come from?” He plucked at the pastel orange shirt that Zayne wore.

“Bought it in the gift shop,” Zayne huffed. “Security said they’d toss my ass out if I didn’t put a shirt on.” He shrugged.

“It’s a good color on you,” James smiled. “They had to stitch Andy up and he’ll have to stay overnight, but he should be good to come home in the morning.”

It was like the weight of the world had been lifted from Zayne’s shoulders. He could breathe again, the world bloomed into bright colors from shades of grey. “Can we see him?”

James nodded. “The doc said to take our time, he didn’t want to risk you conking out again in some hallway or elevator. I have the room number if you’re up to visiting?”

“You damn well better believe it,” Zayne said, finding the ability to push to his feet restored. “I need to see my baby.”

“Well, come on then,” James said, standing and holding his hand out to Zayne. “Let’s go see our baby and make sure that he’s okay.”

**

He wasn’t sure if it was a sign of maturity or simply selfishness, but the older he got, the more he came to understand that there wasn’t anything scary in being alone or even in dying. It was not opening yourself up to the opportunity to love and be loved that was alarming. Zayne wanted to kick himself for never realizing the true love of his life had been by his side for so many years, patiently waiting for his day to come. It had taken Zeklos nearly losing his life for Zayne to figure it out. That, plus the guidance of the ginger now tugging on his hand, had helped him find everything he needed in this life. The kind of thing worth fighting for, the sort of life you fear losing, even temporarily.
**
End note: Philophobia is the fear of love.

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