This is a very short story, and so there isn’t much room for background information. The why’s and how’s of Pete’s assignment and the shooting are all done during the first few paragraphs, so lapidary that I had to read some sentences twice in order to get all the info that was squeezed into. But once this was out of the way, the story had some very intense and deeply emotional scenes, both within and outside the context of sex scenes. I found the connection between the two men very well done, the tension and attraction between them came alive on the pages even though there’s only one narrative perspective, Pete’s.There’s also not a whole lot of characterization; most facts about the characters are told in inner thoughts or just stated rather than shown through actions.Pete, the first-person narrator, is obviously more elaborated; he’s your typical hardboiled, world-weary tough guy who has his heart wrapped with a triple layer of barbed wire. Reaching out a hand of friendship to a stranger is so out of character for him that it surprises himself as much as it does Joe. He certainly didn’t mean to get attached–for one, his time in Indiana is limited, and for another, Pete may be bisexual, but he keeps his sex life carefully free of emotions. So developing feelings towards Joe definitely wasn’t on Pete’s agenda.Joe, on the other hand, is a wholesome small-town cop, volunteer Little League baseball coach and generally good guy. He may have experimented with guys at some time, but mostly, he’s straight, as this is what a cop is supposed to be in his eyes. The awful snap-decision he had to make in order to save his and other people’s lives has thrown him off the rails, but meeting with understanding and compassion from such an unexpected source well and truely shatters him. After Pete helps him put himself back together, Joe’s view of life has shifted, to a point where he not only can see the inevitability of fate, but where he also reconsiders his picture of himself–which includes his sexuality.By the end of the story,though, it isn't clear whether they might end up as friends, lovers, or even just as each other’s fond memory. It’s a true HFN ending that comes somewhat rushed and makes this short novella feel like a teaser or at least, like the beginning of something more–which I’d definitely like to read.