Welcome back, dear readers, to Heading Down The Long Road.

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Please now enjoy chapter 3.


The alarm rang, waking Greg out of a sound sleep, the best he'd had in a long time. As he became aware of his surroundings, he realized that he was naked and spooned up against an equally naked man, his morning erection nestled snuggly between the man's butt-cheeks. Okay, I must have gotten really shitfaced last night. Where the hell am I and who am I in bed with? When the alarm was finally silenced, he sat up and looked over at the man lying next to him and memories of the previous night came flooding back. Holy shit! I just spent the night with the Deputy Mayor. I'm really in a world of shit now with that dickhead captain of mine. As if those thoughts were projected directly into his brain, Dave stirred and rolled over to face Greg.


"Good morning, baby. Sleep well?"


"Better than I have in a very long time." He bent down and gave Dave a kiss then laid back down with his head on Dave's shoulder. "You know, I'm going to be in a world of shit when my captain finds out about my transfer, and that I went to you instead of him."


"You have nothing to worry about. I came to you, remember? Actually, as I recall, I didn't give you any choice. Besides, you don't even have to go back to your former" he paused to allow the word `former' to sink in "precinct. You have to go to the Commissioner's office to get your transfer paperwork, and if I know him, he already has a new partner lined up for you, someone who will more than make up for your last partner. The Commissioner's secretary will forward the transfer papers to your old precinct."


"I still have to go back and clean out my locker."


You can do that anytime, and if you want, I'll go with you." He started giggling. "Can you imagine the look on that asshole Jenkins' face if you and I walked into his office to hand-deliver your transfer paperwork holding hands? He'd shit his pants for sure."


Greg was silent for a few moments then started laughing. "Let's do it. Let's walk into Jenkins' office with my transfer paperwork holding hands."


"Are you sure that's what you want to do? You'll be outing yourself to everybody there. Everyone already knows that I'm gay."


"Absolutely! I could give two shits what they all think about me. I want, no, I need to come out of the closet. I'm so sick of living a double life, of watching every word I say and having to remember to switch pronouns even in the most basic of conversations. I'm tired of being alone. I want to find a man that I can spend the rest of my life with, and I can't do that if I'm in the closet, constantly looking over my shoulder."


Dave was silent as he digested what Greg had said. Finally, he spoke quietly. "And where do I fit into the equation?"


"What do you mean, where do you fit into the equation?"


"Exactly what I just said."


"I thought this was just a one-night thing."


"Is that all you want, just a one-night stand with me?"


"Hell no" was Greg's immediate, vehement reply "but you're the Deputy Mayor. You can do so much better than a lowly beat cop."


"First of all, you are not a lowly beat cop. I looked up your record after Kyle was raped, yours and Kenson's. You're an outstanding police officer, so don't ever refer to yourself as a `lowly beat cop' in my presence again. Second, I've been in love with you since the first time I saw you at Kyle's. There was just no way I could think of to meet and get to know you without someone screaming impropriety. That could put your career at risk."


"What about your career?" Greg interjected.


"My career in politics is basically over. I've decided that I've had enough of petty politics and am taking a job at the LGBT Center doing public policy work. Next week is my last week as Deputy Mayor."


"So what are you saying?"


"I'm saying that I want us to be a couple. Last night was wonderful. I can't even begin to tell you when the last time someone made love to me like you did was. I don't want last night to be a one-night stand. I want it to be the beginning of something special."


"But why me?"


"Why not you?"


"I don't know. It's all happening so fast. It's a little overwhelming."


"Meaning you don't want a relationship with me?"


"I do, very much. I just can't believe you picked me of all the guys you could have."


"Again, why not? You're incredibly handsome and that southern accent of yours makes me melt into a huge puddle every time you open your mouth. I could listen to you talk all day. Plus, you're an incredibly caring person."


"What would you know about that?"


"Plenty. Like I said, I've seen your file. I've read about how you've gone out of your way to help the victims of crimes and the needy. I know all about your volunteer work with the Special Olympics and at the homeless shelter. And look at what you did for Kyle. You didn't have to go see him in the hospital and apologize for that ass-wipe ex-partner of yours, nor did you have to sneak Tommy in to see him. That's going way above and beyond. These are the acts of a deeply compassionate and caring person. Tell me something. Why did you become a cop?"


"I became a cop because I wanted to help people and to make a difference in their lives."


"And why do you want to do that?"


"I don't know. I guess I just care about people."


"You've just made my point. Now, we need to get up and get some breakfast. You have to be at the Commissioner's office in an hour."


"I don't understand why the Commissioner is transferring me just-like-that, especially to patrol around the LGBT Center, which I didn't even know existed. How did he know I was gay?"


"I told him on the phone when we were at Kyle's, remember?"


"What if he remembers that I was Kenson's partner? He might think I have some of the same attitudes as he does and that I want to stir up trouble for the LGBT Center."


"The paramedics wrote out statements as to what had happened that day at Kyle's, and they both made mention of how you tried to protect him from Kenson. Tommy basically said the same thing in his statement, as did Kyle. That really impressed the Commissioner. It's not every day a cop threatens to kick his partner's ass in order to protect a crime victim from another cop."


"The poor guy was going through enough without that prick making things worse. He automatically made the assumption that Kyle was gay. Straight men get raped. What if Kyle was straight? Being raped is bad enough, but being accused of being gay just adds insult to injury. He might start questioning his sexuality, which could have damaging consequences, especially if the guy was married, or if he became involuntarily aroused due to the massaging of his prostate, which could be devastating. Rape victims need to be handled with as much compassion as possible. I don't think Kenson has a compassionate bone in his body! Would you believe he threatened to take Kyle to the prison and allow the inmates to rape him because he said the rapist was an FBI agent? Apparently he believes it's impossible for an FBI agent to be gay." Dave doubled over with laughter when he heard that. "What's so funny?"


"Kyle's boyfriend is an FBI agent."


Greg laughed. "He told me. I'd so love to rub that in Kenson's face!"


"So would I. You need to hurry up and get ready. You have to be at the Commissioner's Office in less than an hour."


"SHIT! I have to run home and get cleaned up. Can I call you later?"


"Of course you can." Dave wrote down his number as Greg got dressed. "Here's my number. Call me later. I want to hear all about your day."


"Okay, bye, Dave." He gave Dave a quick kiss and rushed out the door.


Shortly before eight a very nervous Officer Greg Peters walked into the Police Commissioner's office.


"Good morning, Officer. How may I help you?" the Secretary asked cheerfully.


"I'm Officer Gregory Peters. I was told to report here to the Commissioner this morning for reassignment."


"Why don't you take a seat while I see if the Commissioner can see you? This will just take a moment." She picked up the phone and dialed a couple of numbers "Commissioner, there's an Officer Peters here who says he was told to report to you this morning for reassignment."


"Thank you, Carol. I've been expecting him. He's a little early, but send him in, please."


"Yes Commissioner." She hung up the phone. "The Commissioner is expecting you. Go right on in."


Greg walked over to the closed door and knocked hesitantly. "Come in."


He marched smartly up to the Commissioner's desk and snapped a sharp salute. "Officer Gregory Peters reporting to the Commissioner as ordered."


"Relax, Peters. Sit down." The Commissioner looked at some paperwork in front of him. "May I call you Greg?"


"Of course, Commissioner." Greg replied as he sat down.


"Yesterday I received a phone call from the Deputy Mayor stating that you are having problems over at your precinct. May I ask why you didn't come to me or your captain about it? I have an open door policy. Anyone in this Police Department can come to me at any time for any reason."


"I was at a friend's house yesterday talking with him about it and I didn't know he was a close personal friend of the Deputy Mayor's until he called him and told him about it. He asked to speak to me. I told him that I was having some problems, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. He ordered me to stay where I was and he came to my friend's house to talk with me directly. He guessed at the reason why I'm having problems and couldn't go to the captain. You may have an open door policy, but he doesn't when it involves people like me."


The Commissioner closed his eyes and sat back in his chair momentarily before nodding his comprehension of the situation. "I understand. Unfortunately, the only evidence I have of his bigotry is word-of-mouth, nothing concrete. But one day I will and I assure you he will be dealt with severely as I did with your ex-partner." He signed a piece of paper in front of him. "As of now, you are assigned to the LGBT Anti-Violence Task Force operating out of the fifteenth precinct." He handed the transfer papers to the visibly relieved officer. "Now that you are officially away from your old precinct, would you care to explain the nature of the problems you had to deal with?"


"It was nothing out of the ordinary for the new guy."


"Not buying it. Spill. That's an order."


Greg took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. Reluctantly, he began. "Okay. Most of it came from my ex-partner. He kept calling me `thweetie' and would mock everything I said and did, and he went out of his way to undermine my authority as a cop every chance he got. He also forced me to give him a blowjob on more than one occasion. He even went so far as to threaten to sodomize me with his nightstick if I said anything to anyone about it. I don't know how he found out I was gay, but he threatened to go to Captain Jenkins and out me unless I sucked him off. He would also insist on cumming all over my uniform shirt. I had to do what he wanted or else my career as a cop would be over. I'd never make detective, which is something I've wanted for as far back as I can remember."


The proverbial light bulb went on over the Commissioner's head. "You were Ted Kenson's partner, weren't you?" Greg nodded. "And you were at that male rape victim's house a few weeks back if I recall correctly."


"Yes, he was the friend I was talking with yesterday."


"I see. Okay, so we can add sexual harassment, sexual assault, threatening bodily injury, conduct unbecoming and slander to the charges against Kenson." The Commissioner made a couple of notes on a pad. "Between you and me, son, the Deputy Mayor couldn't keep his eyes off you.


"Actually sir, he wants me to be his boyfriend now that he's not going to be Deputy Mayor." Greg didn't know why he told the Commissioner that, but he felt comfortable in his presence.


"That's going to be a sad day for this city. I was hoping he'd run for mayor next election. He's done an awesome job, especially when Mayor Jones had a heart attack and he had to be acting mayor."


"I didn't know that. How is the Mayor doing?"


"He's fine. It was a mild attack, more like a warning of what would happen if he didn't slow down. How has your new partner been treating you?"


"New partner? I don't have a new partner."


"Have you been on the streets by yourself?" The Commissioner asked, ready to take Captain Jenkins to task for violating standard patrol safety procedures.


"No Commissioner. Ever since the incident with my ex-partner, I've been assigned to the gun cage."


"WHAT?" The Commissioner shouted, causing Greg to sink back into the chair. That fucking dickwad Jenkins! We need cops of Peters' caliber on the streets, not in the gun cage. If I find out it's some form of retribution for what happened to Kenson... The intercom buzzed. The Commissioner waited a moment to calm down. "Yes Carol?"


"Commissioner, Captain Jenkins is on line one."


The Commissioner groaned. "Okay, thank you. Tell him I'll be right with him, please." He hung the phone up. "I'm going to take this call from your former captain on speakerphone. You are not to say a word no matter what is said. You have nothing to be worried about. He can't do anything to you. Understood?" Greg nodded. He activated the speakerphone. "What can I do for you, Captain Jenkins?"


"I'm sending over some termination paperwork I need you to sign off on."


"Really, who is it and why is this person being terminated?"


"Officer Gregory Peters." Greg looked in horror at the Commissioner who waved him off and sent him a reassuring smile. "The little faggot is being fired for conduct unbecoming, insubordination and dereliction of duty."


"Those are serious charges. Please explain."


"He was a disruptive force with his conduct, all limp-wristed and sashaying around the station house. I was recently informed that he attempted to perform oral sex on his former partner, who incidentally was the best officer to ever serve under me."


"I see." He shot Greg another reassuring smile. "Where does dereliction of duty come in?"


"He didn't show up for roll call this morning, nor did he call in. I sent a squad car over to his apartment and he wasn't there. The little Mary is a disgrace to the uniform."


"Hmm...I see. We will discuss these charges individually for a moment, starting with conduct unbecoming. By a strange coincidence, I happen to have his file right here in front of me. It seems that he was given the Meritorious Service medal for busting up a huge drug trafficking ring in Boston, which almost cost him his life." Greg visibly paled and shuddered at the memories that the Commissioner's statement invoked. "Apparently, after being shot several times he still managed to save the life of his partner and two civilian bystanders who were caught in the crossfire. The two bystanders sent letters of appreciation to the Commissioner there, copies of which are in his file here. He was hospitalized for several months and it took over a year for him to be able to walk again. He's received numerous commendations from both the Mayor and the Commissioner. This doesn't sound to me like someone who is a disgrace to the uniform. As far as the oral sex allegation goes, I have it from a very reliable witness that he was forced to actually perform oral sex on his former partner multiple times and was threatened to be sodomized with a police baton if he said anything to anyone. I also happen to have former Officer Kenson's file here in front of me. Please explain to me why, if he was the best officer to ever serve under you, that the stack of complaints against him in his file is almost six inches thick?" There was dead silence. "Captain Jenkins, I believe I asked you a question."


"I can't answer that, Commissioner, without reading the complaints. Perhaps I can come by sometime and review them, then I will be better prepared to answer your question. However, I suspect that they were filed by a bunch of candy-assed lowlife faggots wanting attention. That's what they all want, next to having dicks shoved up their asses or down their throats. The best thing to happen to this city would be for all of them to be rounded up, locked up in a mental hospital and given shock treatments until they change their ways. Fucking faggots are enough to make a real man sick.


Greg noticed the Commissioner's face getting redder and redder. "May I remind you, Captain that my late son was gay and a far better man than you will ever be?" He said in a tightly controlled voice. "I want to see you in my office in one hour with a letter of resignation signed and dated. If you refuse, you will be terminated, which I'm sorely tempted to do anyway, now that I have witnessed your bigotry first hand, which absolutely will not be tolerated in this department. Oh, and by the way, the reason why Officer Peters missed roll call this morning is because at this very moment he's right here in my office by my orders with signed paperwork transferring him to a different precinct where I'm sure his record will continue to be exemplary, effective immediately." A smug smile of satisfaction lit up the Commissioner's face. "As a matter of fact, he's heard this entire phone conversation. One hour, Jenkins." He hung up. He looked up and noticed the stricken expression on Greg's face. "I'm so sorry for what you had to go through at your former precinct. If I had known, I would have put a stop to it. If there's any way I can make it up to you, please do not hesitate to let me know. Do you know of any other gay officers in that, or any other, precinct?"


"I'm not aware of any, Commissioner. I'm so very sorry. I never meant for Captain Jenkins to lose his job."


"No apologies, Greg. You had nothing to do with that. It was all him. I've heard stories about his bigotry and abusiveness and that's something that I absolutely will not tolerate. Unfortunately, up until now, I didn't have any concrete proof of his conduct to give me grounds to fire him. You, son, have done this department, and indeed this city, a great service. I deeply regret that the cost getting rid of both him and your former partner has been so high. It took a great deal of courage and guts to stick it out for so long and not just quit. This department can't afford to lose dedicated officers of your caliber and integrity. I'm very impressed with you, son. So much so that, based on your service record and the high marks you received on your Sergeant's exam, I'm promoting you to Sergeant, effective immediately." He took out a form, quickly filled it out and affixed his signature to it.


Greg looked at the Commissioner in complete shock. "I don't know what to say."


"You don't need to say anything." He held up Greg's file. "This tells me that it's well deserved, and somewhat overdue. I've very proud to have you in my department." The intercom buzzed again. "Yes, Carol?"


"Sergeant Jordan is here to see you. She says she was told to report to you."


"Good, her timing couldn't be more perfect. Send her in, please. Thanks Carol."


Sergeant Jordan knocked on the door. "Come on in, Gwen. Gwen, this is Greg Peters. He's just been promoted to Sergeant and transferred to your precinct to serve on the LGBT Anti-Violence task force."


They shook hands. "Congratulations on your promotion, Greg, and welcome to the task force."


"Thank you Sergeant."


"Greg, may I remind you that you are now also a Sergeant." The Commissioner quipped.


"Sorry, sir, it's going to take me a bit to get used to it."


"No worries. Gwen, sit down. There's something I would like to discuss with the two of you." He explained what had happened to Greg in his former precinct and the phone conversation with his former captain. Neither man missed the looks of shock and outrage that crossed Gwen's face. "I'm concerned that this might not be an isolated incident. I want lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered officers to be able to serve openly without the fear of reprisals or harassment of any kind because of their sexuality. I would like the two of you to form some kind of outside fellowship organization or support group for LGBT officers. I've spoken with Bridget Ross over at the LGBT Center and she would be more than happy to help you get it going."


"I'd be honored to, Commissioner." Sergeant Jordan replied enthusiastically.


"Good. Why don't you head over there now and speak to her?"


"Will do."


"What do you want me to do, Commissioner?" Greg asked, barely able to contain his excitement at such an assignment.


"The first thing you need to do Sergeant Peters is get into proper uniform. Task force members are plain-clothes officers with the same authority, privileges and responsibilities of detectives. Jeans, t-shirts, that sort of thing. You'll only need your uniform for formal affairs. Then take this paperwork to Human Resources. It will take a couple of weeks for your new shield to arrive as they are custom made. This paperwork take to Captain James over at the fifteenth precinct, then take the rest of the day to get familiar with the LGBT center and the task force. Sergeant Jordan will show you the ropes."


Greg nodded his understanding and took the paperwork. "Thank you, Commissioner, for everything." He stood at attention and snapped a salute before leaving, then shook the Commissioner's hand. After dropping the paperwork off at Human Resources, he called Dave. "Greg Peters for the Deputy Mayor, if he's available, please."


Dave came on the line almost immediately. "Greg, how'd your meeting with the Commissioner go?"


"You're not going to believe this. I got to hear him ream Jenkins a new one on the phone and demand his resignation."


"Cool. That must have been very enjoyable. Wish I'd been there to hear it. I'm glad that they're finally getting rid of that asshole. He and Kenson are two of a kind, the wrong kind.


"I'll tell you all about it when I see you. The only downside to that is that we won't be able to present him with my transfer paperwork in person. However, I'm not assigned to the fifteenth precinct. I've been assigned to the LGBT Anti-Violence task force which operates out of the fifteenth. It's a plain-clothes unit and get this. I've been tasked with helping set up a support group for LGBT officers. I've always wanted to be a Special Victims Unit detective, but this is even better, because I have all of the authority and stuff that detectives do, and its jeans and t-shirt-type plain-clothes!"


"Greg that's so awesome!"


"Wait, there's more."


"More?" Dave interrupted with a note of incredulity in his voice.


"Yep, I saved the best for last. He promoted me to Sergeant on the spot. I'm on my way to the uniform shop to get my Sergeant strips sewn on."


"Oh, baby, I'm so very happy for you. This calls for a celebration. I'm taking you out to dinner at Houlihans tonight."


"Houlihans? Never heard of it."


"You'll love it. Their food is beyond fabulous."


"Sounds great. I gotta run. I'm here at the uniform shop."


"See you tonight. I'll pick you up around six. Pack a bag and plan on spending the weekend. I love you."


"I love you too, Dave, and thanks for everything. None of this would have happened if it hadn't been for you."


"Don't thank me, thank Kyle. If he hadn't called me, I never would have known about what you were going through, and I wouldn't have been able to help."


"True. I'll have to find some way of thanking him. I owe him a huge debt."


"And I know just want to do. Stop by Ruby Tuesday's and get him a gift card. He goes ape-shit over their salad bar. He does serious damage to it whenever he's there."


"That's a great idea. Thanks. See you tonight."


"Bye, baby."


"Bye, honey."


Later that evening...


"Welcome to Houlihans, Deputy Mayor. Your usual table?"


"Thanks, but could we have an alcove booth instead?"


"Of course. Right this way." The hostess led them to a private alcove.


"Wow, this is really nice." Greg commented as he seated himself and browsed the menu.


"It's one of my favorite places."


"Gee, I never would have guessed." He mimicked the hostess "Welcome to Houlihans, Deputy Mayor. Your usual table?"


Dave smacked him playfully on the top of his head with his menu. "All right, shithead." He said, giggling. "Anything strike your fancy?"


After a few moments he responded. "Yep, deluxe grilled cheese with fries."


Dave looked at him for a moment before taking one of his hands in his. "Baby, I said I was taking you out to celebrate. I did not say you had to order the cheapest thing on the menu. If you want a filet mignon or a lobster tail, order it."


"Thanks, baby, but I'd really like a grilled cheese sandwich. I love them and I haven't had one in a long time."


"Are you sure that's what you want?"


"Actually, I think I'd like to have a grilled ham and cheese. I've never had one before."


"Whatever you want."


They placed their order and spent an enjoyable evening in easy, light conversation, each getting to know the other. They were both pleasantly surprised to find out how much they had in common. They had the same tastes in music and sports, but their interests diverged when it came to television and movies. Greg was a huge sci-fi action buff, whereas Dave liked police and medical dramas. Neither of them really cared for television sitcoms. They both considered them extremely lame, with the exception of M*A*S*H. They both decided to give the others' genres a try.