"No roughhousing near the takeaway," says Jack, moving a pizza box with his foot. Charlie only pays enough attention to lean left instead of right as he gets Tom's head under his arm.
"Don't break him," says Jess. "We need TomTom's brain."
"You can break his legs," says Jack. "We don't need those."
"I need those!" says Tom, his voice muffled, and that's the moment when he tries to twist away and catches the edge of a box and sends the last piece of pepperoni, extra cheese, hurtling through the air. They all watch its impressive progress until it hits cheese-side-forward against the wall.
"All right, you lot," says Jack, pointing across the room. "Banished."
"He did it!" says Tom, his own finger pointing squarely at Charlie.
"That's not what the evidence says."
"And you asked me to show you some moves," says Charlie. For a certain value of 'asked' that includes the topic coming up over drinks at the pub; he's pretty sure Tom can hold his own, but it would probably involve kicking and biting and there are better ways. "Are you giving up?"
Tom strikes a defiant pose. "I'll never surrender to you, copper!"
"Really?" says Jack. "Because I seem to recall that's exactly what you did the last time you were nicked."
"Come on," says Charlie before Tom tries to bluster out some kind of an excuse. "I'll show you how to do it properly."
"There's a proper lad," says Jack at their backs as they go. "Bring him back house trained, would you, Charlie?"
"No promises," says Charlie, waving a hand at him whilst Tom makes a much ruder gesture in their wake.
They don't even make it up the stairs before Charlie gets Tom's head in the crook of his arm again, and they nearly take a tumble back down when Tom twists in his grasp.
"Don't go breaking your necks, either!" Jack calls after them.
Charlie'd never let that happen, not on purpose, but then Tom's too unpredictable to make that promise so he lets go and puts his arm behind to give Tom a little shove forward and then they're up and out onto the street, door slamming behind them. He immediately gets a lungful of old exhaust fumes, coughing out a his strangled breath, and Tom tries to press his perceived advantage, grabbing hold of Charlie's arm and twisting it behind his back.
"That's so adorable," says Charlie, smirking as he gets out of the hold easily and slams Tom up against the brick. There's a pause that for a moment feels like surrender, then Tom is squirming again but Charlie's got him solidly by the shoulder, his own feet braced against the ground and keeping his centre of gravity low. Tom hasn't got a chance, he just hasn't figured that out yet.
"Maybe I really should teach you how to do this properly one of these days."
"This isn't properly?" says Tom. "Love to see it when you're trying, then."
"How's this for trying?" says Charlie, grabbing Tom's other shoulder and effectively immobilizing him. "If you knew what you were doing, you'd be able to get out of this."
Charlie feels Tom still again as he meets his eyes, hears him take a couple of hard, sharp breaths, and is anticipating full surrender when instead Tom surges up and kisses him square on the lips. He's so startled he lets go, and Tom throws his arms in the air in triumph.
Charlie's brain processes information very quickly. So Tom's arms are still in the air when the pieces start linking: the momentary surrender of Tom's body, the jut of his chin, the catch of his breath, the scrappy push and pull that followed.
The kiss might have been a ploy to get free, but it wasn't just that.
He tests his theory by pushing Tom up against the wall again, hears his little gasp, feels the reaction of his body, and then leans in to kiss him. Properly, like he said he would. Properly, like he's wanted to.
It's funny how Tom can go from still to fussy and back again so suddenly. When Charlie pushes him against the wall and leans in close he freezes, just for a moment, but as soon as Charlie starts kissing him Tom suddenly kisses him back, furiously; Charlie would have stopped if he hadn't, backed away and never mentioned that failed experiment again.
But no, he was bang on with his theory. No doubt about that.
"We should get out here," he says as he pulls away without letting go, the cool night air making his heated, wet lips tingle.
"I don't know if—"
"Come with me," he tries instead, without missing a beat. A statement, not a request.
Tom swallows. "Okay."
The last thing Charlie wants to do now is stop to talk about this, but it would also be weird to talk about anything else, so they don't say anything at all as Charlie hauls him up to where he's parked, Tom compliant but every once in a while forcing Charlie to give his arm a tug. Charlie tries not to smile as he does it. Tom doesn't even pretend.
"We can't go back to mine," Charlie says, finally. "My nan's home."
"I've got a place," says Tom. "I haven't even got flatmates anymore, not since...you know."
"No," says Tom. "Since I started working with the police. Hard to explain, that."
"Right," says Charlie, and keeps his eyes on the road and his hands on the wheel as Tom gives him directions.
This really is all it takes. A little roughhousing and an accidental kiss and suddenly he's going back to Tom's place to get up to things with him he's only ever thought about in the privacy of his shower and definitely not back at HQ under Jack's sharp, no-fraternizing eye no matter how many times Tom touched him.
"Don't mind the mess," says Tom once they're safely up another flight of stairs, this time to the scratched wooden door of his flat. He kicks a couple of t-shirts out of their way but it's not terrible; Charlie was expecting much worse.
"I don't care," he says, because there's Tom and there's a wall and that's all they need right now.
"I can just—" Tom says, and Charlie suddenly realises that Tom wants to impress him, that's what this is about.
"I don't care," he says again, and he takes Tom's wrist and pins it to the wall by the door so he stops trying to pick up. "It doesn't matter. I'm already a sure thing."
Tom surges up to kiss him again and this time it's nothing but exactly what it is. Charlie doesn't mean to increase his grip on Tom's wrist, he just gets caught up in the moment, but when he does Tom lets out a soft moan against his mouth, a sound unlike anything Charlie has ever heard out of him before.
"I never would've guessed you—" he starts, his lips still nearly against Tom's, his fingers tight, and Tom darts his tongue out which silences Charlie immediately.
"Yeah, me either," Tom murmurs, barely audible but Charlie's about as close as can be and nobody's making any other noise. "But there it is."
Charlie grins and takes his other hand too, thumb pressing the inside of his wrist as he holds him to the wall. "This is how you subdue someone," he says, and Tom licks his lips.
"Consider me subdued," he says, but just when Charlie is taking him at his word and letting go he makes a break for it, ducking under Charlie's arm and heading straight for the bedroom. Charlie makes chase, tackling him onto the bed; he hears something crack but the frame still feels solid underneath them. Tom is squirming but he's not squirming to get away, he's squirming to get out of his shirt.
"Subdued, yeah?" Charlie says, scrambling to help him.
"I can't believe you fell for that," says Tom. "Who believes that?"
"I know better now," says Charlie, and this time when he takes Tom's wrists, both of them shirtless and pressed up against one another, he holds on tight. "I won't make that mistake again."
There's something about Tom that looks a little fierce now, his eyes a little brighter. The way they look when he's right on the brink of discovering something on a job, fingers moving furiously and a smile right behind his lips, fighting to get out. Tom wants to keep pushing buttons.
There's something about that look that brings Charlie's professional side to the forefront too, which he knows is exactly what Tom wants but he also can't help it. He's flipping Tom over before he lets himself think about it, twisting one of his arms behind his back and holding it there.
"What are you going to do, arrest me?"
"Would you like that?"
They both still this time, breathing harder already, and Charlie realises he's so hard. So hard for this.
He doesn't dare let go of Tom for even a moment—though dare is not the word, really; if he lets him go, no doubt Tom would let himself be caught again—but his jacket is still within arm's reach if he stretches, and that's where he keeps his cuffs these days, still carrying but not, strictly speaking, officially.
He has one cuff snapped around Tom's right wrist before he stops to consider it, then when Tom starts to twist his head around he makes an instantaneous decision and snaps the other one on, binding his arms behind his back.
Only then does he let go, but he's straddling Tom's legs now, Tom's face pressed sideways into his pillow.
"Can you do it like that?"
"I have no fucking idea," says Tom. "Let's find out."
Charlie couldn't have got a clearer sign if he was on his knees in front of a burning bush, so he pushes Tom's hips up and undoes his trousers, yanking them all the way down. Because if he doesn't, Tom can't, and no way is anything staying on, not anymore. If at any point he thought this was going to end before it went all the way, those thoughts are long gone now.
"You too," says Tom, his voice muffled; he isn't even looking back now, just trying to draw his knees up without being able to brace himself on his hands and Charlie can hardly take the time to undo his buttons before he's pulling his own trousers off, hearing something like a thread pop but not even looking to see what he's done.
"You don't get to tell me what to do," he says, as though he hasn't just stripped at Tom's request.
"Yes, sir," says Tom, and it's not what he says but the way he says it that has Charlie back on the bed, one hand grasping where Tom's wrists are crossed and the other roughly spreading his legs like he's about to do a search and not something else entirely.
He's not in his own room so he doesn't know where the hell to find anything (not that his room is a hotbed of sexual paraphernalia, not with his nan sleeping next door), but instead of asking he takes liberties instead.
"Don't move," he says, reaching for the bedside table (not a table, more a stack of cannibalized electronic equipment with a lamp on top) and rummaging through what he finds there. Tom does move, but only to turn his head to watch; his arms and legs stay exactly where Charlie put them.
"It's under the magazine on the floor," he says after a moment, sounding just the tiniest bit embarrassed, and Charlie snorts and doesn't even need to look at the contents of the magazine; the cover tells the whole story.
"Easier than taking an iPhone to bed?" he says as he fishes the almost empty bottle of lube off the floor.
"Less likely to short out."
"Impressive," says Charlie. "That's a pretty small target. Or are you just a bit of a mess?"
"Why don't you come here and find out?"
"Oh, I think I will," says Charlie. "If you can behave."
"Do you really want me to?"
Charlie lays his hands on Tom's back, slides them upwards till they hit his shoulders, then settles in so his mouth is nearly against Tom's ear for a moment. "Not anymore, no," he says, and Tom huffs out a laugh and arches his back beneath him and Charlie knows exactly where he's going with this next.
Tom's a bloke who spends most of his time in front of a computer, but his body's harder than Charlie was expecting, pale from lack of sunlight but with enough muscle that he definitely spends time doing something other than sitting. Running from the cops, he thinks to himself, and tinks his fingertip against the chain of the cuffs, and almost laughs to himself because cybercriminals don't spend a lot of time actually running, in his experience.
He's pliable, too, his legs moving easily when Charlie pushes them apart again, pushes his knees up which Tom scrambles to help with now that he has a bit of leverage with the resistance of Charlie's hands.
Charlie hesitates for just a moment, after spilling out some lube onto his palm. "You can stop me any time," he says.
"I know that," says Tom impatiently, and Charlie grins and slicks his fingers and they slide into Tom's body so smoothly, two of them together. Tom gasps but he pushes back against him and Charlie's glad he read the situation right, that this is what Tom's been angling for, not just a quick fumble with his cock in the dark.
He turns his fingers, thrusts them, curls them forward in Tom's body, and watches keenly as he starts to come apart, as his scrappy resistance turns into total compliance with the things Charlie does to his body.
"Bloody hell," says Tom, "where've you been all my life?"
"On the other side of the law," says Charlie, leaning in to lay a kiss on his back, right between his arms. "More fun than you thought, isn't it?"
"Points to the faintly lighter side," says Tom, his voice stuttering as Charlie pushes deep inside. "Are you going to...?"
"Have you got any condoms around here anywhere?" says Charlie. He didn't spot anything when he was rummaging, and he's not in a position now to go looking.
"In my...in my trouser pocket," says Tom. Charlie can't help snorting. "What? A bloke can dream, can't he?"
"Then I guess your dreams just came true," says Charlie. He can do this one handed, drags them closer and finds the crumpled packet of a condom, in rough shape but still mercifully intact. It's been there a while.
He strokes his own cock a few times before putting it on, the bit of slick on his hand more than enough; he's been hard since long before they got here and it's only sheer stubbornness that kept him from doing something about it before now.
"You know your way around this," says Tom, bending his elbows as much as the cuffs will give and rolling his neck before collapsing back onto the pillow again.
"So do you," says Charlie, and hisses as he rolls the condom on and then doesn't waste any time replacing his fingers with his cock, beginning the long, slow slide.
Tom rolls up against him, the motion of his hips so smooth it pulls Charlie in deeper without him even having to try. He's surprised to realise he's shaking, just a little, his arms trembling as he tries to control himself when all he wants to do now is lose himself in this. He has to trust, at least a little, that Tom knows exactly what he's doing, the way he's been sure that Tom's known what he was doing all along.
Maybe he couldn't have predicted how they came to this moment, but here, now, Charlie is on familiar territory.
He plants a hand on the pillow by Tom's head and pushes his hips up further and then he's pulling out again, only to be able to drive back in at a slightly different angle. Tom gasps and Charlie grins and does it again, because surprising Tom is an unexpected delight and he wants to do it again and again until Tom is moaning and twisting beneath him.
It's been deliberate, not paying much attention to Tom's cock, being aware that it's there, hard and heavy between his legs, but physically ignored by both of them (Charlie by choice and Tom by necessity). He touches it now, wraps his free arm around Tom's body and grips it as he thrusts, and Tom lets out a sound that Charlie can't even describe, dark and needy and so unlike the Tom he knows that he almost stops.
Tom's growl when he tries to stop is much more comprehendible, and Charlie sighs and settles into a rhythm, thrusting and stroking and kissing where he can, his mouth the only part of his body available to give Tom the little caresses that Charlie so unexpectedly wants to.
"Mess alert," mumbles Tom and Charlie can't help laughing even as his hips work harder, even as he pushes as deep as he can go and cups Tom's balls and squeezes his cock and does everything he can to enable that mess.
Tom isn't quiet when he comes, but then there's nothing about him that made Charlie think he would be. Charlie is quieter, used to a lack of privacy, trying to hide even his panting, gasping breaths as Tom's body clenches around his and Tom turns his head and he can see that look on Tom's face, completely lost in the sensation the way Charlie wants to let himself.
He doesn't quite, this time, but at least he doesn't try to keep still, he lets the shudder go through him and doesn't hide from Tom that he's trembling, doesn't hide how much he wants this, wants him like this.
He pulls out as soon as he's actually able to, which isn't all that quickly, and rolls to the side, trying to find a tissue or something and finally just dropping the condom into an old takeaway bag. Then he just lies there, watching Tom's face as it relaxes, as his breathing slows.
"My arms are kind of cramping," says Tom after a few moments, reluctantly.
"Oh, shit, sorry," says Charlie, scrambling for the key and taking the cuffs off, and rubbing Tom's shoulders for good measure.
"Oh yeah," says Tom. "You can keep doing that just about forever."
"Maybe not forever," says Charlie, but he's settling in next to him now, pulling blankets up and over instead of leaving them tangled beneath them, and unless Tom kicks him out he's in for the night now. Neither one of them tries to pretend they won't be seeing each other again. They don't have to talk about it yet, but they can at least rob the moment of all potential awkwardness.
"We'll have to go out for breakfast," says Tom, as Charlie feels the knots in his shoulders and back begin to release. "I think even my butter's gone off."
Charlie reaches around to rub Tom's wrists, effectively pulling him into an embrace. Tom yawns and rests his cheek against Charlie's upper arm and it's more comfortable than it should be. Or maybe Charlie should just stop thinking about the way things should be altogether.
"Better?" he says, letting go of Tom's wrists.
"It's all good," says Tom, and as Charlie closes his eyes he thinks he actually means it.