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My King is Sick

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Armie is in a baseball cap, pulled low, with sunglasses on, inside, which should really draw attention in a posh London hotel—but doesn’t. The ensemble renders all six-foot-five of him magically invisible. He learned the trick from Timmy.

Timmy, who he’s supposed to be meeting for brunch.

Timmy, who is currently fifteen minutes late and not answering his cell phone.

Armie tries calling again, more annoyed with every ring that vibrates his eardrum. Then, Timmy’s chipper voice tells him to leave a voicemail. Voicemail isn’t Armie’s style, particularly when he and Timmy only have a few precious hours to spend together.

He pushes himself up from the cushy couch in the lobby corner and strides with purpose for the elevators. He of course knows Timmy’s room number because of course he does. Christ, they practically have a psychic connection at this point. Armie should have just met Timmy up in his room in the first place, but Timmy said, “No, in the lobby! I want you to show me London, and if you come to my room, we’ll just cuddle and talk, and I’ll never see your version of the city!” 

Truth.

Armie impatiently rides up eight floors, checking his phone every two seconds even though it’s not on silent. If Timmy calls him back, he’ll know, but Timmy is not calling him back. It’s strange. Timmy always answers, always calls him back unless …

A sudden lump of dread rises in Armie’s throat when he remembers February.

No, Timmy. You said you wouldn’t do that again.

Heart now bashing against his ribs, Armie springs into the hall when the elevator finally (finally) opens on Timmy’s floor. He doesn’t quite run to room 814, but he moves with speed, only just averting a full on collision with a cleaning lady’s cart. He hears her vacuum humming in a nearby room as he knocks on Timmy’s door.

“Timmy! Let me in.”

He knocks again, louder this time.

“Tim! Seriously.”

Nothing.

Armie is sweating under his baseball cap. He rips the sunglasses off his face, pushes his ear against the hotel room door, and is met with nothing but silence. He feels panic creeping like a sharp claw up his esophagus.

Not again. Not again.

Quickly, he follows the vacuum sound. The cleaning lady startles and turns off the machine when his giant frame steps into the door. “Hey, sorry,” he says. “I need to get into my room. I lost my key.”

She hesitates, her eyes studying the way his chest heaves with breath and the way his fingers cling, white-knuckled, to the doorframe. “I’m sorry, sir.” Her coy British accent would be adorable if Armie wasn’t seeing spots. “We’re not permitted. You’ll have to go down to the lobby.”

He blows air out through his nose. “Look, you know who I am.”

She smiles, blushes, and looks away. “Yes, sir.”

“Room 814 is Timothee Chalamet’s room, and if you know me, you probably know we’re friends, and I’m worried something has happened to him.” He puts his hands together in the shape of a church steeple. “Please, I am begging you.”

She sighs and bites her bottom lip before ultimately nodding and reaching for the magical keycard in her uniform pocket—the keycard that probably opens every room in the hotel. 

Armie tries not to, like, hover over her shoulder while she holds the card to Timmy’s door, but he doesn’t actually care. As soon as the little light on the handle glows green, Armie grabs it and turns. He pauses just a moment to say, “Could you please not tell anyone about this?”

“Charmie for life, darling.” She winks before sauntering away, and Armie notices she’s probably a saucy siren when not decked out in a severe bun, no makeup, and an unflattering old fashioned maid’s uniform.

Armie cusses and barrels into Timmy’s room.

It’s pitch black. The heavy drapes block out the gray London sky, and there’s not a light in sight. Armie’s eyes haven’t adjusted at all, but he sees the red glow of a hotel alarm clock and assumes the bed has to be right next to it. He stumbles forward, saying a silent prayer that he won’t find …

He can’t even think it. 

He uses his cell phone screen for meek illumination. “Tim?” He holds his phone above the bed, and Timmy’s pale face is like the moon reflecting the sun’s light.

He’s tangled in sheets and a heavy comforter, and his dark hair is plastered to his forehead, soaking wet. His sleep-breath is a shaky rattle.

Armie places his hat and sunglasses by the alarm clock, and then puts a hand on Timmy’s cheek. The guy feels about two hundred degrees. “Shit.” Armie doesn’t want to turn on the lamp right by Timmy’s face and scare him, so he pushes the curtains back a bit, letting in some light, before sitting on the edge of Timmy’s bed. “Timmy.” He gives Timmy’s shoulder a little shake. The panic has dwindled, but Armie is still worried as fuck. “I need you to wake up for me.” He shakes Timmy’s shoulder again.

The obviously sick Oscar nominee whimpers, followed by what Armie can only describe as a question mark noise. 

“Tim,” he says with a bit more force, and finally, Timmy’s eyelids shudder and dance. His eyes squeeze shut in two identical wrinkles before opening slowly.

“Armie?” he croaks. His eyes immediately start closing again.

Armie grabs Timmy’s upper arm and squeezes. “Stay with me for a second, okay?” 

Timmy looks around like he has no clue where he is, then shivers. “Fuck, I feel awful. Is it cold in here?”

“Not particularly.” Armie pushes wet hair off Timmy’s forehead. “You have a fever.”

“When’d that happen?”

Armie chuckles. “I don’t know, sweetie. Probably sometime during the night.”

“Oh,” Timmy says. He rolls onto his side and pulls the blankets up so high, Armie can only see his forehead and riotous curls. He’s snoring in seconds.

Chapter Text

Armie calls Brian who, thankfully, is just two floors down in the same hotel. As soon as Armie opens the door, he puts a finger to his lips in the universal sign for “shh” and ushers Brian inside. Brian is already dressed for the day in a white shirt and navy blue suit looking perfect, as usual.

More light has started pouring into the windows, so Timmy’s room now glows with a blue-gray hue. Brian steps to Armie’s side and notices the lump of fabric that is Timmy’s burrow. “What’s going on?” he asks.

“Your golden goose is a bit under the weather.”

Brian looks up at Armie and to the bed before moving in the bed’s direction. “Tim?” he asks quietly but receives no response. He lifts the top edge of the comforter and puts his hand on Timmy’s forehead. “Timothee.” 

Looming over Brian’s shoulder, Armie sees one of Timmy’s eyes open. “Why is everyone in my room?” he whines. “And would you please turn off the fucking air conditioning?”

The air conditioning is definitely not on.

Armie snorts at Timmy’s uncharacteristic bitchiness, and Brian glares up at him—which only makes Armie laugh more. Now that he knows Timmy is safe, Armie feels the familiar giddiness that occurs whenever his Sweet T is close. “What?” He gestures to Tim. “He’s adorable like this.”

Brian sighs and stands. “He was supposed to be on the Graham Norton podcast today.”

Armie crosses his arms, prepped for a fight. “Well, that’s not happening.”

“Obviously.”

“How did you not see this coming?” Which sounds more accusatory than Armie intended. 

But then, Brian makes … a face. It’s a nervous face, and Armie momentarily sees red.

“What?” he growls.

“Timmy said he felt tired yesterday.”

Armie gawks. “Timmy is never tired.”

“Yeah, well, even the great Armie Hammer couldn’t keep Timothee Chalamet off a red carpet.”

Armie is about to start yelling when Brian squeezes his forearm.

“Armie, I don’t want to argue with you, and I need to call a doctor. Then, I’m telling Graham that Timmy has to cancel. This is no one’s fault. People get sick.”

Armie’s shoulders relax. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

He pats Armie’s shoulder. “I love him, too. You know that.”

“I know,” Armie replies as Brian walks past him to the privacy of Timmy’s bathroom. The light turns on, adding gold to the blue-gray, and soon, Armie hears the rumble of Brian’s voice on the phone.

Armie returns to Timmy’s bed and sits on the edge. Above the fabric, he puts his hand on Timmy’s shoulder just so Timmy knows he’s there.

Twenty minutes later, Timmy is very annoyed to be bothered by a white-haired doctor carrying a brown leather bag. Technically, Timmy is barely coherent; he’s in a grumpy dream state. Again, it’s adorable, the way he frowns around the thermometer and whines when the doctor puts the stethoscope to his chest.

Brian shakes his head and grins. “Jesus, this kid.”

Armie nudges him in the shoulder.

Their twosome is soon made three when the doctor approaches. “It’s the flu,” he says. “I’ve seen it a lot this week. With any luck, he’ll be tip top in twenty-four hours.”

Brian’s sigh makes a very audible noise. “He has to fly to South Korea tomorrow.”

The doctor shrugs. “The young man has been quite busy.”

It’s not surprising anymore that everyone in London knows Timothee Chalamet.

Armie feels the need to clarify. “He’s not usually …” A pouty baby? A needy nightmare?

The doctor must understand. “I know,” he says. “He seems lovely when he doesn’t have a hundred-and-two fever.” 

“A hundred-and …” Armie rocks back on his heels. “Jesus.”

“Keep him hydrated. Give him ibuprofen. Get him out of those soaking wet clothes. And a lukewarm bath could help.”

Brian reaches his hand out to shake, and the doctor returns the gesture. “Thank you for getting here so quickly.”

“No problem.” He glances over his shoulder, back toward Timmy. “I saw the trailers. Tell him his British accent is impeccable.”

Brian nods, and Armie smiles, proud of Timmy. He’s always been proud.

Once the doctor leaves, Brian says, “I assume you don’t need me.”

Armie turns around and gives him a hug. “Hey, we always need you.”

He pulls away and smirks. “Not when you haven’t seen each other in months.”

Armie rolls his eyes. He might even blush a little. Before Brian can leave, though, he realizes he actually does need help. “Can you have one of your minions go out and buy ibuprofen and Gatorade? Like, a shit ton of Gatorade? Timmy likes the—”

“Orange kind,” Brian says.

“Yeah, as if you don’t know that.” He rubs his head.

“Armie, are you okay?”

He plasters on a tight-lipped smile because Brian doesn’t know about that one time in Timmy’s bathroom in February. No one but Armie knows about that.

Brian asks no more questions. He’s excellent at knowing when to shut up and leave. He has, after all, been keeping Armie and Timmy’s secret for the last year. “I’ll put one of my minions to work then.” 

“Thanks.” Armie pats him on the back and leads Brian to the door. Armie closes the door behind him and leans against it. For the first time, he notices the smell of Timmy’s sleep sweat. It’s familiar, obviously, but he’d been too panicked to notice it before. Now, he takes a big breath, which he knows is sort of gross, but he and Timmy can be gross sometimes. They’ve never hit Elio and Oliver levels, but they’re used to being intimate.

Armie presses away from the door and approaches the bed. He just knows the next few minutes are going to be hilarious.

Chapter Text

“Timmy.” Armie shakes his shoulder.

Timmy just says, “No.”

“We need to get you out of those clothes.”

“We are so not fucking right now,” he replies, although his words are muffled due to his face being half-shoved into his soaking wet pillow.

“No shit. We need to get you into dry clothes because swimming in your own sweat is not ideal for recovery.” Armie tugs at the comforter, and Timmy moans before tugging back. “I’m going to win this argument,” Armie says. He tries to sound stern while fighting a smile.

Timmy flops onto his back and spreads his arms. “I hate you.”

Armie pulls the blankets away, revealing Timmy’s white t-shirt and black boxer briefs. “I’ve never seen you this sick. It’s fucking hilarious.”

“Ha ha ha,” Timmy says with zero amusement.

Timmy is light, but he’s all long limbs, sharp elbows, and knobby knees. His clothes are so wet, Armie would have thought the guy jumped in a pool if Armie didn’t know better. 

Getting Timmy out of his clothes is like taking thigh highs off an octopus. Armie cusses a few times before breaking down in mad giggles with Timmy’s t-shirt half off and hiding his face.

“Do you find this amusing?” Timmy mutters through fabric.

“I do actually.” Armie finally gets Timmy’s t-shirt off, and Timmy flops back onto the bed. Armie face plants right into his chest and lingers there until he feels one of Timmy’s hands in his hair.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Timmy says.

“Me, too.” He presses a kiss to Timmy’s sternum and sits up straight.

The boxers are easier to remove, only because Timmy’s legs are limp. Before Armie can even admire his nudity (as Armie often does), Timmy shivers. His teeth clatter in his head.

Armie reaches to pull the blankets back over him, and his hand sinks into the wetness of Timmy’s sheets. He cusses. “Timmy, you need to get out of this bed.”

“Don’t be a dick.” Timmy turns onto his side and curls into a tiny … well, as tiny as a six-foot-tall man can be ... ball of trembling flesh. 

Armie cusses again when someone knocks at the hotel room door. No way is it one of Brian’s minions back already unless he or she traveled via rocket pack. With the door still closed, Armie ask, “Who is it?”

“Housekeeping.”

He’s about to tell the nice lady to go away but changes his mind. He unlocks the door but only opens it an inch. It’s the same nice Charmie fan from earlier. “Hey.”

“Is he all right?” she asks. She worries her bottom lip with her teeth.

“He’s got the flu. Um.” Armie closes his eyes for a second. “Could you give me, like, five minutes and then come in here and change his sheets? He has a fever, and he’s been sweating all night. Doctor said giving him a lukewarm bath might help.”

“Of course.” She nods. Her smile is friendly and soft.

“Thank you.” He goes to close the door but stops. “You’re not going to sell the sheets on eBay, are you?" 

She chuckles before covering her mouth with her hand. “No, Mr. Hammer.”

“Sorry,” he says. “Chalamania and shit.”

She laughs again. “I’ll be very discreet.”

“Five minutes.”

“Yes, sir.” 

This time, he closes the door and returns to the bed where Timmy is already sleeping—and shivering—and sleeping. “Jesus, can’t you stay awake for five seconds?” 

Timmy startles and blinks up at Armie. “Huh?”

“You need to take a bath.”

He flops around like a fish out of water. “Why are you torturing me?”

Armie sighs and counts to five in his head like he does when one of his kids is misbehaving. He doesn’t mind the age difference between him and Timmy, but sometimes it’s more obvious than not.

Without warning, Armie leans forward and scoops Timmy up off the bed with one arm beneath his knees and the other around his upper back. Timmy gasps and clings to the front of Armie’s shirt before pressing his burning forehead against Armie’s cheek. “Fucking fuck, room spinning.”

“Are you gonna hurl?” Armie moves quickly for the bathroom.

“Dunno,” Timmy mewls.

Once in the very spacious bathroom, decorated all in white and black, Armie sets a bleary-eyed Timmy on the edge of the massive bathtub. Under different circumstances, the ambience would be sensual and sleek. With a naked, pouting, shivering Timmy, though, the ambience takes a backseat to functionality.

Armie reaches around Timmy—who’s slightly weaving back and forth—and turns the water to hot then warm. He watches the tub fill while keeping one hand on Timmy’s shoulder, and Timmy leans his forehead against Armie’s hip. He wraps his long arms around Armie’s upper thigh.

Armie runs fingers through Timmy’s tangled hair. “Doing okay, babe?”

Timmy just sighs in response.

It’s not long before the water is high enough. Armie takes Timmy’s hand and leads him carefully into the tub. Timmy sinks into the water, completely silent, and a silent Timmy really freaks Armie out. He kneels on the floor and pushes curls behind Timmy’s ears. The curls uncharacteristically stay in place due to their dampness.

“How the fuck are you going to fly tomorrow?”

“Twenty-four hours,” Timmy mutters.

“You actually heard the doctor earlier? I thought you were catatonic.”

He breathes loudly through his mouth before his lips curl up at the edges. “And you got mad at Brian. That was funny. Like he injected me with the flu or something.”

Armie runs his thumb over Timmy’s eyebrows. “I think he works you too hard sometimes.”

Timmy sniffs. “It’s not him, Arms. It’s me. You know it’s me.”

Armie can’t argue. Timmy was a constant ball of energy in those early days during the Call Me By Your Name tour. Then, during Beautiful Boy

Christ, Armie is not going back there. He can’t go back there right now, not to those troubling months, not to February.

A quiet knock rescues Armie from an emotional downward spiral. “Don’t drown,” he tells Timmy and kisses him on the head.

Again, he opens the door but an inch. The cleaning lady smiles up at him. “All better,” she says.

Armie reaches for the wallet in the back of his jeans. He thinks he might have a fifty in there, but before he can offer her cash, she just waves her hand between them. 

“I don’t need a tip. Just promise me one thing?”

“Sure,” he says.

“Be honest someday.” She tilts her head. “You two.”

Armie opens his mouth to clarify, refute, deny, but stops. Instead, he nods. “We will.”

He swears her eyes twinkle. She turns away with a grin and disappears from his line of sight. He waits until he hears the hotel room door close before returning to Timmy. 

“Your bed awaits, my king.”

Timmy, eyes shut, snorts. “Do you have any idea how many crowns I own now thanks to fans? Hmm, maybe it could be your new kink.”

Armie grabs a couple towels. “I have enough kinks.”

“Can’t have too many,” Timmy mumbles.

Armie kisses the top of his head. “Fuck, I love you.”

Together, they somehow manage to get Timmy out of the tub, dry, and into a huge, fluffy robe. He makes it to the clean bed with Armie’s hand on his lower back and tumbles into it.

Armie pulls the thick comforter up to Timmy’s chin and is about to climb under the sheets with him, watch some TV on low volume, when someone else knocks at the hotel room door.

“Christ,” Timmy says to the ceiling. “It’s like the fucking London Underground in here.”

Armie is so shocked by Timmy’s ire that he busts out laughing and answers the door still snickering. He recognizes one of Brian’s minions—a short dude with glasses—who lifts up a big grocery bag, hands it to Armie, and promptly leaves. Armie loves the efficiency of Brian’s minions. 

He carries the bottle of Ibuprofen and two Gatorades to the bed and finally slides in at Timmy’s side. Timmy rolls over and buries his face against Armie’s chest.

“Eh, eh, wait, sleepy beauty, you need to take meds and drink some fluids.”

Timmy flails his hand around, almost whacking Armie in the face, until Armie hands him two little red pills and an opened bottle of Gatorade. Orange flavor, of course. He takes the pills and chugs half the bottle. He blinks up at Armie. “Can I sleep now, please?” 

“Yeah.”

“Mmph.” Timmy melts across Armie’s body, clinging to him like a life raft. Armie kisses Timmy’s head once, twice, three times and wraps an arm around him to keep him snug against his body.

Armie does watch television for a while—BBC News—and Timmy doesn’t move. The only indication of life is the rattle of his hot breath across Armie’s collarbone. Armie is fine with this. When it comes to the two of them, they don’t need to have long, meaningful conversations. They don’t even need to fuck (although they’re both quite fond of that activity). They can just be close to be happy, to be at peace.

It’s not like those first few months after Timmy blurted out, "I love you for real," and changed everything. No, during those first few scalding months, Armie swears they barely left the bed. If they couldn’t find a bed, they found a closet. A pool table. A bathroom stall. Jesus, they fucked like bunnies those first few miraculous months. He smiles at the memory.

Armie thinks Timmy might sleep the entire day away, wrapped around him like a sexy boa constrictor, but no.

Timmy is most definitely not asleep when he whispers, “You thought I was going to hurt myself again, didn’t you?”

Chapter Text

February 23, 2019

No one could have foreseen the Academy’s snubbing of Timothee Chalamet for Beautiful Boy. Nobody. When the news first spread—or more like demolished social media—Armie had sat there, staring at his phone in a state of shock.

How?

But, really, how the fuck had the Academy snubbed Timmy for the role that almost killed him, physically and mentally? Timmy had thrown everything into that role. He had worked so hard, not to mention that he’d been nominated for every other award in the damn universe that year. 

Except the Oscars.

When Armie called the morning of January 22 from LA, Timmy kept his voice steady, nonchalant, but Armie could hear the pain beneath his playful pronouncements of “maybe next time!” And more: “Wasn’t like I was going to win anyway. Now, I can stay home that weekend, order pizza, and wear pajamas for two days straight.”

Yeah, Timmy tried to make it sound so simple, but Armie could sense the disappointment crouching behind Timmy’s paper-thin facade.

When Armie had offered to fly to New York that very January afternoon, Timmy had refused, said he had work to do for Dune. When Armie had pressed, Timmy had actually yelled at him—“I fucking said no!”—which was how Armie knew things were absolutely not okay with the young man he’d loved for years but had only been fucking since November. They were still best friends, but they were now also navigating a hush-hush sexual relationship as both their careers skyrocketed and Armie’s marriage quietly fell apart.

Armie had left Timmy alone the rest of that day in January—no more calls, no texts. He sensed Timmy needed a moment. Or several.

However, Timmy had said nothing about Armie coming to visit the weekend of the Oscars, which Timmy apparently intended to spend in pajamas, eating pizza, and probably smoking way too much weed. Nope, Timmy had not forbid Armie from taking a quick flight to New York the morning of Saturday, February 23, to join his lover in a couple days of glutinous lethargy … and sex. Armie planned to have so much sex and doubted Timmy would object. 

In Timmy’s apartment complex, Armie rode the elevator up to Timmy’s floor, whistling to himself with a duffle bag slung over his shoulder. On the fifth floor, Armie crept down the hall like a cat burglar and pulled the key from his pocket because of course Armie had a key to Timmy’s place. 

He unlocked the door and snuck inside, relieved to hear rap music coming from the bathroom. Armie grinned and set his bag down silently. Timmy was going to flip when he realized Armie was there. As Armie crept ever closer to the bathroom door, open a few inches, he could already visualize Timmy’s goofy grin. Honestly, Armie just wanted to hold the guy. It had been over a month since they’d been physically together. A month was too long.

Armie lingered outside the door and didn’t hear any water running—just some random rap tune that Armie didn’t recognize because, in Timmy’s words, Armie was “fucking old.” Then, he pushed the door open and beamed into the brightly lit bathroom.

“Fuck!” Tim shouted. Blood suddenly gushed from the inside of his upper left forearm, and a kitchen knife clattered to the linoleum tile. Red droplets flew like confetti from the knife’s edge as Timmy covered his now dripping wound with the palm of his hand—but blood squeezed through his fingers and drip-dropped onto the floor. “Shit, Armie.” His bloody right hand fumbled for a towel to cover the wound when Armie finally made his feet move.

He grabbed Timmy’s left wrist and dragged Timmy forward. “What the fuck are you doing?” Armie didn’t recognize the high-pitched tone of his own voice.

Timmy tried pulling his arm back to no avail. “I don’t usually cut through the skin! Jesus, you just fucking scared me! Armie, let go!”

Armie only squeezed Timmy’s wrist tighter as the cut kept on bleeding, leaking red onto Timmy’s grey sweatpants and white socks.

Armie couldn’t feel his own body. It was as if his physical presence had left the room. He was just a pulse, beating loudly, loudly, and eyes that saw nothing but Timmy’s dark red blood.

Timmy tried pulling away again before a single whimper turned into a sob. “Armie, you’re hurting me. Please … I didn’t mean to.” 

By now, Timmy’s blood ran down his wrist and onto Armie’s fingers, which was when Armie let go—and almost fell over. 

“Arms!” Timmy caught him by the shoulders and pushed him against the bathroom wall.

He swore Timmy’s blood burned his skin. Also, Armie’s vision was gone, replaced by dancing white spots. His heart was a percussive instrument in his chest, covering the loud rap music until the music suddenly stopped. He thought he heard Timmy’s voice saying his name. Or maybe not. Maybe this was just a nightmare.

Then, Timmy smacked him gently but with enough force to get his attention.

Armie blinked back to the brightly lit bathroom, painted in drops of red, to find Timmy standing in front of him with a small pink pill in his hand. A towel was now wrapped around his forearm, but there was still blood all over his hands and even a swipe of red across his cheek.

Timmy gripped Armie’s chin. His fingertips felt sticky with drying blood. “Take this.” He held the pill up and forced it between Armie’s lips. “Swallow, Armie.”

Armie was no stranger to taking pills without water, so he did as instructed.

Timmy leaned back and ran visibly shaking hands through his shorter than usual hair. “What are you doing here?”

“What are you doing?” At least Armie had regained the use of his tongue.

Timmy looked at the floor. “It’s nothing.”

Although his beating heart still abused his ribcage, Armie’s vision had returned. He picked up the bloody knife from the tile and held it between them. “This is not nothing!”

“It would have been nothing,” Timmy screamed, “if you hadn’t come barging in here!”

“Since when do you cut? I’ve never seen marks on you!” 

“I don’t …” Timmy tore at his hair. The towel wrapped around his arm was turning progressively redder along one edge. “I don’t cut! Anymore.” He rubbed the front of his own neck—a nervous tell. “I used to when I was younger, but I don’t anymore. Sometimes, I just like to …” He growled. “I don’t know. It’s personal!”

“Personal? We’re personal, Timmy! This is the most personal relationship I’ve had in my entire life, and you are going to explain this to me!” He slammed the knife on the counter next to Timmy’s hip before invading Timmy’s space, boxing him in against the sink. “But first, we need to take care of your arm.” 

“I can do it,” Timmy whispered with his head turned away. He wouldn’t look Armie in the face.

Armie was about to argue, but his stomach lurched and his mouth dried when he realized of course Timmy could do it. If he was a cutter, Timmy knew damn well how to dress his own wounds.

“Fine.” Armie picked up the knife. “Don’t take long.”

Sitting on Timmy’s threadbare living room couch (a favorite from his parents’ place that he’d managed to steal), Armie watched the way Timmy’s blood still clung to the knife’s edge where it sat innocuously on the coffee table. Armie recognized it, the same knife he’d once used to chop vegetables in Timmy’s too-small kitchen, so Armie knew it was sharp. The thought would have made him sick if not for whatever pill Timmy has shoved down his throat. Xanax, based on the way Armie’s mind floated between panic and peace.

Ten minutes later, Timmy appeared standing at the end of the couch. He’d changed out of his bloody clothes into dark jeans and a blue hoodie. Armie couldn’t see the bandaged wound, but he trusted Timmy had taken care of it. 

“Sit down,” Armie said.

Timmy put his hands in his pockets and still wouldn’t make eye contact. “Why are you here?” he whispered.

“Jesus, fuck, Timmy, sit down!”

He didn’t sit on the couch with Armie. He sat in a chair next to the couch and folded his hands in his lap.

Armie leaned forward, elbow on knees. “Talk to me. Please.”

Timmy scratched the inside of his palm. His hair was too short to hide behind, so Armie had a perfect view of Timmy chewing the hell out of his bottom lip.

With apparently no answers forthcoming, Armie spoke. “I’m here because it’s Oscar weekend, and I don’t care what you keep saying; I know you’re devastated about not getting nominated. I wanted to spend all weekend wearing pajamas and eating pizza with you, and Jesus …” He gestured toward the bathroom. “This is what I find?”

“I told you, I wouldn’t have broken skin if you hadn’t startled me!”

With the help of Xanax, Armie was trying to stay calm. It wasn’t working. “So, what, you just like playing with knives?”

“Yes!” Timmy roared, finally looking at Armie. Angry eyes burned beneath furrowed brows.

“Why?”

“I can’t explain it to you!”

Armie matched Timmy’s volume with a resounding, “Try!”

Timmy hugged himself and shook his head.

Softening his tone, Armie begged, “Please?”

Timmy closed his eyes, maybe centering himself, maybe trying to hide. Ultimately, he was just trying to find the right words. “You remember when the Oscars snubbed you for Call Me By Your Name?”

He chuckled. “Yeah. Why do you think I’m here?”

“You got really drunk. I’ve never seen you that drunk before.” Timmy glanced up at him. “Why did you get drunk?”

“I don’t know. I guess I wanted to be numb.”

Timmy nodded. “Yeah.” He looked at Armie like he was expecting him to understand.

“I don’t get it,” Armie said.

Timmy shifted in his seat but made no move to come closer. “When I was younger, I was sad a lot. Like really sad. Then, one day, I tore my knee open during a soccer game, and it was like a fucking epiphany. I realized physical pain was better than emotional pain because I could control it—when it happened, when it stopped. The world got so quiet when I was cutting. All the pain in my head would go away for awhile. I would be numb.” He pressed his lips together. “Mom figured it out eventually. I went through therapy and found better coping mechanisms. Music mostly. Then, acting. Becoming other people. My new escape.” He sniffed and wiped his nose. “But sometimes, when things are really bad in my head, I just like to hold a knife to my skin, just to make things quiet for a second. To remember what it feels like to feel nothing.” His voice shook, but he clenched his jaw before any tears fell.

Armie, however, cried and didn’t give a fuck. He let the tears fall, not bothering to wipe them away. “Why have we never talked about this?”

Timmy scoffed. “I don’t want to burden you with my mental health shit.”

Armie cussed and stood from the couch before falling to his knees in front of Timmy’s chair. He unfolded Timmy’s hands from his lap and squeezed them in his own. “It’s not a burden. Look at me,” he said because Timmy wouldn’t. “Please, look at me, babe.”

Timmy’s green eyes were wet and red.

“Nothing about you is a burden,” Armie said. “I love you, which means I want to know everything about you—the good, the bad, the embarrassing high school videos.”

Timmy’s chuckle shook a tear from his eyelashes.

“If it’s ever too loud up here.” He tapped Timmy’s forehead. “Or if you’re ever sad, I want to know. Any hour of any day on any continent, I want to know. And you have to promise you won’t—” An unexpected sob cut off Armie’s words, but he couldn’t get the image of Timmy’s blood out of his head. What if he started cutting again? What if it killed him?

Timmy must have understood Armie’s meltdown, because he slid from his seat and straddled Armie’s lap on the living room floor. He wrapped his arms tightly around Armie’s shoulders. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. It won’t happen again. I promise.”

Armie pulled away and cupped the back of Timmy’s head in his hand. “No matter how bad things get?”

“I won’t.” Timmy shook his head. “I won’t do it again.” He flung himself back into Armie’s embrace, and Armie held him until they both stopped crying.

Later, when Armie went to use the restroom, there was no evidence of Timmy’s earlier self-harm. The absence of blood was indeed comforting, but a sliver of panic crept when Armie considered how good Timmy was at covering his tracks. He said he would stop playing with knives, but did he mean it? And if he was lying, would Armie even know?

Chapter Text

“You thought I was going to hurt myself again, didn’t you?” 

Armie gulps down a mouthful of saliva as if that’s a proper response to the massively heavy conversation he’s about to have with the man he loves.

He deflects. “You should be asleep.”

“I told you I wouldn’t do that again,” Timmy mumbles against Armie’s chest. Armie feels the slight movement of his lips and chin catching on the fabric of his shirt. “You were panicked when you came in here.”

Armie scoffs. Deflect. “How would you know? You were catatonic when I came in here.”

“You barreled in like a fucking rhinoceros. Dude, even in a coma, I would recognize your worried walk.” 

Armie sighs and scoots down on the bed so he can bury his face in Timmy’s hair while still holding Timmy tight against his chest. “I wasn’t worried.”

Tim does a perfect Marge Simpson grumble. “Oh, my God, Armie, I’m too sick for your bullshit. Why are you lying to me?”

Armie mutes the TV and closes his eyes.

Timmy shifts on top of him, his torso sliding off to the side before the palms of his hands press against Armie’s abdomen.

When Armie finally has the balls to open his eyes, Timmy is sitting up with blankets piled on his shoulders. Half his hair is glued to one side of his head while the other half stands up like twisted tree branches. On his face is the putout expression of a ten-year-old. When he sniffles and wipes his nose with the back of his hand, the image is magnified. “I told you,” he says. His voice cracks from illness, not emotion.

“I know. I know.” Armie rubs his eyes. “It’s just … things have been so fucked lately. I know Lily Rose is your friend, and they’re tearing her apart.”

“She knew that was going to happen.”

“It’s not fair to her,” Armie says.

Timmy chuckles—and winces and says, “Ow.” He grabs his head, but the blankets fall off his shoulders in the process. “Blankets! Uhhnnn …” He falls back into the pile of fabric and rolls himself up like a human burrito.

Armie isn’t sure of the proper response to this tiny tantrum, so he waits. He can only see Timmy’s mouth, nose, and some of his hair.

“Nothing is fair about any of this,” Timmy wheezes. “Look at Liz, for fuck’s sake, keeping up her cheerful social media act.” He shivers. “I ruined your life.” 

Armie pulls blankets down so he can see all of Timmy’s extremely pale face. “I told you never to say that.”

Timmy’s eyes are closed when he says, “It’s fucking true. You know it’s true. I don’t know why you keep pretending it isn’t.”

Armie grabs Timmy’s shoulders through layers of cotton and down. “I won’t let you think that.”

“Pssh, I can think whatever I want.”

“Not if it’s a lie,” Armie replies.

Timmy, within the bounds of his burrito, rolls onto his stomach. “I don’t want you here anymore.” 

It’s Armie’s turn to pssh. “Too bad. I’m not going anywhere.”

There is thirty seconds of silence. Armie knows Timmy hasn’t fallen back to sleep, because he keeps wiggling and sighing and wiggling some more. He flops onto his back and sits up suddenly. “Now, I can’t get comfortab—oh.” He closes his eyes and squeezes his lips together. “Jesus, it’s like being on one of those whirly rides at the carnival.” 

Granted, Armie realizes this might not be the ideal time to talk about something terribly serious, but now that they’ve begun, he can’t stop himself. Hell, maybe Timmy will be more honest under the influence of sick.

Armie puts his hand on Timmy’s left forearm, near to that deep cut from February that didn’t leave a mark due to Timmy’s careful bandaging and use of aloe. “You didn’t ruin my life. You made it spectacular.”

Timmy’s nose scrunches up. “I know. I just hate myself sometimes.”

Armie moves closer on the bed and brushes Timmy’s hair with his fingers. “There’s nothing to hate.”

Timmy smirks. “It’s a process.”

“I know,” Armie agrees.

Ever since February, they were completely open and honest about both of their mental health states. They were both back in therapy, for instance, and Armie was on antidepressants, while Timmy kept his stash of Xanax for those moments when panic turned into a self-loathing spiral. 

“But,” Timmy whispers. “I told you I wouldn’t.” He looks up from beneath lowered brows. “You trust me, right?”

Armie nods. He nods.

The sob is like an erupting volcano. A pained sound shoots from Armie’s mouth; his entire chest lurches.

Timmy grabs onto him immediately and pulls Armie’s face down against his robed chest. The fabric is unfamiliar and doesn’t feel right, so still within the bounds of Timmy’s embrace, Armie pushes and pulls until he reveals Timmy’s bare chest. Armie presses his wet face right against Timmy’s too hot skin and lets himself cry, exorcising the fear and worry from the past couple hours. 

A year ago, this never would have happened. A year ago, Armie never showed weakness. In Crema, some kid named Timothee Chalamet was the first to put a chink in the armor, saying, “You’re nervous about midnight. Just fucking admit it, dude.” Which started a conversation that lasted all night, just the two of them in Italy, drinking wine and smoking weed, discussing sexuality, Hollywood, Armie’s marriage, Timmy’s horrible dating history … everything.

True, Armie put his armor back on once filming finished and he returned to LA. However, every time he spent lengths of time with Timmy, he felt the façade slipping, slipping.

No, Timmy did not ruin his life, but he made it scary. He made it honest, real, and very scary. But wonderful, too. Armie liked who he was with Timmy more than he ever liked himself before.

Done crying, Armie is about to say as much when he hears Timmy snoring above him. Armie chuckles against Timmy’s slim chest and shamelessly wipes boogers on his skin—payback for passing the fuck out while Armie has a meltdown.

It's all very Timmy. The guy will probably sleep through the apocalypse.

Armie sits up and smiles at the way Timmy’s head lolls back against the headboard. Mouth wide open, he breathes rhythmic sighs toward the ceiling.

Armie gets out of bed, takes hold of Timmy’s ankles, and pulls until Timmy reclines fully on his back, head on the pillow. Timmy doesn’t make a sound as Armie arranges him, tying his robe and dragging blankets up to the level of his chin. 

Stepping away, Armie hits the bathroom. He takes a piss, washes his hands, and splashes water on his face. His stomach growls. Oh, right, the brunch he never had. He should order room service. Just as he starts daydreaming about a burger, he hears Timmy’s voice. 

“Arms?”

The note of panic makes Armie move with speed.

“Babe?” he replies as he reenters the room.

Timmy grumbles. “Need you here.” 

“I am here.” 

Timmy shakes his head against the pillow. His curls are going to be tied in knots. “No, heeeeeeere.” Eyes still closed, he smacks the empty side of the bed.

Armie runs his hand over his face. “You are a fucking mess.”

“God.” He sniffs. “I know.” He lifts his head. “Weren’t we talking about something?”

Armie rolls his eyes. “Not a thing, you damn invalid. I’m going to order room service. Does anything sound good?”

“Your dick.” In the morning London light, Timmy’s eyes suddenly pop open. “Shit, even that doesn’t sound good. I must be really sick.”

“Duh,” Armie replies. “Maybe they have soup.”

By the time Armie finds the room service menu and places his order, Timmy already snores in bed behind him—again. Armie glances at the clock. He'll give Timmy more medicine in two hours, but flying to Korea tomorrow is so far not looking good.

Chapter Text

Armie wakes up because the bed is moving. Well, in his half-alert state, he thinks the bed is moving. When he blinks his eyes open, though, he realizes a couple things.

One: He didn’t plan on falling asleep.

Two: The room smells like Armie’s greasy burger from earlier.

Three: The bed isn’t moving. Timmy is moving, which makes Armie move because Timmy is riding his thigh.

Armie can quite clearly feel Timmy’s erection pressing rhythmically against him, but in the light from the muted TV, Armie can also see that Timmy’s eyes are shut.

Armie barks out a laugh that ruffles Timmy’s hair. “Oh, my God, are you awake?”

Timmy smirks. “Maybe.” He takes hold of Armie’s hand and drags it down between their bodies. He doesn’t ask or anything. He just shoves Armie palm against his cock and rolls his hips.

“I thought you said my dick sounded gross.” Armie turns onto his side to face Timmy and wraps his hand around Timmy’s hot, hard flesh.

Eyes still closed, Timmy’s nose wrinkles. “Who said anything about your dick?” He sighs out a breath and leans forward, capturing Armie’s mouth in an open-mouthed kiss.

As soon as their tongues touch, they both pull back immediately.

“You taste like a burger,” Timmy mutters.

“You taste like a sick person,” Armie replies.

Timmy groans and rolls away, presenting his back to Armie but losing Armie’s grip on his dick in the process. He shimmies backwards until his ass is flush against Armie’s groin and again grabs Armie’s hand and puts it where he wants it.

Armie willingly wraps his fingers around Timmy’s length and gives a few teasing pulls. 

Armie is not ashamed to admit he loves Timmy’s dick. Fucking loves it. Somehow, despite the male genitalia’s usual resemblance to, oh, a wrinkled elephant trunk, Timmy’s dick is as pretty as the rest of him. It’s big, too—bigger than Armie would have expected due to Timmy’s small frame. However, Timmy always does have a certain … strut. Big dick energy.

Armie loves touching Timmy’s dick. He loves licking Timmy’s dick. He loves kissing it and feeling it inside of him, although that’s a rarity. Timmy is an enthusiastic bottom, and Armie loves giving him what he needs.

So he does.

He picks up the pace of his hand, doing that little wrist twist at the top that Timmy likes. Timmy moans and grinds his ass back against Armie while Armie jacks him off. Yes, Armie’s dick is definitely now alert for the proceedings. He meets Timmy’s grind with rolling thrusts of his own.

Timmy babbles (“fuck, yes, fuck …”) and reaches his hand back. His fingers latch onto Armie’s hair. He tugs hard, and Armie moans at Timmy’s roughness.

Timmy stops breathing for a second when he comes, warm seed dribbling down Armie’s fist and probably all over the nice, clean sheets. His body tenses and relaxes in Armie’s embrace—and then, goes one step farther. Timmy melts into the bed like a human puddle.

“Hump me somewhere,” Timmy says.

Again, Armie’s laugh is sudden and loud. “Hump you somewhere?”

“Mm.” Timmy reaches behind him and cups Armie’s erection.

“Babe, I don’t have to—”

Timmy swiftly unties the robe and frees himself from its fabric embrace. Still facing away, Armie has the perfect view of Timmy’s absolutely perfect ass.

He sighs and runs a hand over Timmy’s left cheek. “Christ, I want to fuck you.”

“Later,” Timmy says, and Armie’s dick twitches at the possibility.

He unzips and pushes his jeans and boxers down far enough to free his cock. Then, he ruts between Timmy’s ass cheeks with his arm around Timmy’s chest. It doesn’t take long because if there is a naked Timmy in the vicinity, it never does. Armie bites the skin at the base of Timmy’s throat when he comes, and Timmy’s back arches at the unexpected pain. Of course, Armie knows Timmy loves when Armie leaves bite marks. It’s one of his things, especially when they’re going to be apart. He likes carrying around a reminder on his skin.

Armie rolls out of bed and waddles with zero dignity to the bathroom, where he wipes himself clean with a towel. He comes back out to find Timmy licking the tips of his fingers. He reaches behind him and pokes at Armie’s wet spot before licking some more.

Another of Timmy’s things. He says he loves the way Armie tastes.

Armie never would have guessed that Timmy was such a kinky little weirdo … although maybe he should have.

Chapter Text

November 4, 2018 …

As usual, at the Hollywood Film Awards, Armie couldn’t stop staring at Timmy. The guy was glowing. And what exactly was he wearing anyway? Armie liked the classic simplicity of the black suit, but what exactly was that beaded shirt? Meh, just another weird thing Timmy had picked out. (He picked out a lot of weird shit to wear, honestly, although Armie always thought he looked adorable nonetheless.)

There were the usual speeches and interviews and fucking smiles. Armie probably wouldn’t have even agreed to go if the evening hadn’t been all about Timmy, his best friend.

Not lover, thank you, no matter what the “shippers” said. He and Timmy had never made out as each other, always as Elio and Oliver. They’d touched a lot. They were infinitely comfortable with each other, but they’d never fucked. Hell, they’d never even gotten each other off. 

Not that Armie hadn’t thought about it. Often. 

Anyway, they made it through the usual award show ego masturbation before Timmy invited Armie up to his hotel room for a nightcap. Nothing unusual about that. In fact, Armie was thrilled. He would finally get to relax and talk to Timmy about real life shit. It was about time they caught up.

Timmy’s hotel room was, predictably, a mess, with clothes strewn about, although no remnants of food—just coffee. Timmy wasn’t a big eater. It wasn’t an eating disorder, and he didn’t have body image issues; he just didn’t have much of an appetite, something that had inspired Armie’s jealousy in Crema when they had been surrounded by amazing food and Armie had done everything in his power to not gain ten pounds. Meanwhile, young Timmy would eat half a plate of pasta, drink half a glass of wine, and call it a night. Little bastard.

In Timmy’s hotel room, Armie sunk into a chair with a huge sigh.

“Yeah?” Timmy asked, heading for the fridge. 

“Yeah,” Armie confirmed.

They were experts at one-word communication.

Timmy took the time to pour the mini bottle of scotch into a glass before handing it to Armie. He didn’t pour anything for himself because, just like he wasn’t a big eater, Timmy wasn’t a big drinker either.

Armie took a sip of smoky scotch and looked up at Timmy, who stood a few feet in front of him with his hands in his fancy pants pockets. He still had on his suit coat—they both did—and he looked to be mulling something over.

“What?” Armie asked.

Timmy wrinkled his nose, looked away, and looked back at him. “I love you for real,” he said.

“I love you for real, too,” Armie replied.

Later, he would consider how anti-climactic the moment had been, like they’d both admitted as much before—and maybe they had. In looks, small touches, smiles. Maybe they’d been saying “I love you, fucker” since day one. 

Armie’s marriage had been in shambles for months (he and Elizabeth didn’t even share a bedroom or bathroom anymore), so he didn’t hesitate to stand when Timmy said, “Come here.”

It was so very Oliver.

Armie set his glass on the nearest table and did as told. He stood and took two steps forward. A foot of stale hotel air floated between them as they stared at each other.

Surprisingly, they didn’t kiss. It wasn’t some movie magic moment. Music didn’t swell; birds didn’t chirp. Timmy just shrugged out of his suit coat and threw it on the chair Armie had just vacated. He then pushed Armie’s suit coat off his shoulders and did the same with it before leaning up on his toes and wrapping his arms around Armie’s neck. He pressed their noses together. They still didn’t kiss. 

Armie put his hands on Timmy’s lower back to pull him closer and froze when his fingers touched bare skin. Timmy smiled immediately, eyes crinkling on the edges. 

“What. Are you wearing?” Armie asked.

Timmy spoke directly into his mouth. “I think they’re calling it a bib.”

“Like the thing you wear when eating lobster?”

Timmy chuckled. “Dunno. I guess.”

Armie pulled away so he could turn Timmy around, and well … shit. Really? Because Timmy wasn’t fuckable enough? Jesus. Of course the damn thing was backless, kept on by thin, black ribbons tied in careful bows. Basically, Timmy was a six-foot tall present for Armie to unwrap.

He tickled his fingers against Timmy’s lower back before tugging at the bottom bow. It gave way easily.

Armie sighed. “Christ.”

“You like it?” He heard the smile in Timmy’s voice.

Because Armie and Timmy never judged each other, never hid from each other, Armie took Timmy’s hand and pressed it against his erection. “I like it this much.”

With his back still turned, Timmy’s breath trembled. He rubbed his palm up and down Armie’s length. “Shit, we’re really doing this.” 

Armie lifted above his sex haze long enough to worry. “Do you not—”

“No, I want. I just never thought …” He shook his head. “I’m just waiting for you to say no.”

To make it perfectly clear how very YES Armie was, he pressed his chest against Timmy’s back and wrapped his arms around him. He kissed and nibbled the skin where neck met shoulder. “I've always loved the way you smell here.” He rubbed his nose against the soft spot. “Like peaches and cream. Reminds me of Crema.” He then reached down and palmed Timmy though his pants—hard, too, and that was the first time Armie realized just how big his skinny costar was in the dick department. He actually chuckled at this new insight, which shouldn’t have been new. Armie should have fucking guessed. 

Then, Timmy turned around, and they finally kissed, which was when it was truly clarified they were no longer Elio and Oliver. They were Timmy and Armie, kissing open-mouthed and hungry. Kissing as themselves. 

It wasn't long before Armie was inside Timmy, which was both hilarious and expected after all the time they’d spent waiting. Again, Armie had expected some momentous feeling—not that Timmy didn’t feel fucking spectacular wrapped around his cock—but it was nothing life-changing. It was practically familiar, like Armie had been there before, in another life perhaps, spread out on his back in the middle of Timmy’s hotel bed while Timmy rode him with palms pressed to Armie’s chest.

Timmy hadn’t given Armie much of an option in the position department. For such a skinny dude, he apparently gained super human strength when horny. Earlier, after they’d both torn their clothes off, Timmy had shoved Armie onto his back and done all the work to prep them both. He’d even been ready with the condoms and lube. Maybe he’d planned this days, weeks, years in advance.

“Fuck,” Timmy moaned above him, eyes squeezed shut as he undulated his hips—hips that Armie gripped in an effort to stay grounded and not have an out-of-body experience, because whatever Timmy’s hips were doing was blowing Armie’s goddamn mind.

Armie didn’t know why he was surprised Timmy was so good in bed. He couldn't remember the number of times he had tried surprising Timmy with early morning coffee in Crema only to walk in and find him sleeping next to some boy or girl. (Or, one time, some huge dude who reminded Armie of, well, himself. Hindsight, ha.)

Even on the promo tour, Armie had caught people sneaking out of Timmy’s hotel room in the mornings. Then, Paris. Christ, in Paris, Armie had been pretty sure Timmy had had an orgy in his suite—not that they ever talked about it. They never talked about sex, and yet, there they were … having it.

“Flip me over,” Timmy muttered, although it wasn't a request. Despite the gentle tone, Armie heard the demand behind it.

Huh, so he’s bossy in bed.

Armie loved it. 

He also did as instructed. With their difference in body weight, it was easy to flip Timmy onto his back, with Armie landing softly between his spread thighs. It was Armie’s turn to show off some hip magic, which made Timmy whimper and then grin up at him—the goofy, huge, crooked grin he wore whenever Armie did something particularly ridiculous. In this case, it simply meant Timmy was happy.

Armie grinned back at him. They needed no words. They studied each other’s faces as Armie used deep, gentle thrusts to bring Timmy to the edge.

After a few silent minutes, though, Timmy’s forehead started to wrinkle. He chewed his bottom lip.

“You going to come for me?” Armie asked.

Timmy nodded and squeezed his eyes shut.

Their climaxes were about thirty seconds apart. Timmy went first, and oh, those noises … Armie expected his dreams would consist solely of those noises for the next three weeks, maybe three years. Except they wouldn’t only be in dreams. He hoped to elicit Timmy’s deep-throated, rhythmic moans in real life many times over.

Now that he could. He couldn’t believe he could.

When Armie came, he held to the back of Timmy’s head, and pressed Timmy’s face against his shoulder. Timmy clutched to Armie’s upper back as though understanding: Hold me. Stay with me.

They dozed peacefully for about five minutes before Timmy said, sprawled across Armie’s chest, “I want to taste your come.”

Armie snorted. “I want to tie you up.” He kissed Timmy’s forehead. “Later.”

Timmy lifted his head long enough to ask, “Does this make you happy?” Another Oliver-ism. Another flashback to the past.

“Yes,” Armie said. He couldn’t remember anything making him happier.

Timmy’s head fell back onto Armie’s chest, and he tickled his fingers across Armie’s abdomen. “What now?”

“We tell our agents, I suppose. Make a plan.” He paused. “I talk to Liz.” 

“I’m sorry,” Timmy said.

It was Armie’s turn to lift his head, but he still couldn’t make out Timmy’s expression. “For … hey, look at me.”

Timmy leaned up on one elbow and looked at him.

“What are you sorry for?”

He shrugged. “For putting you in this position.”

“I’m very happy with this position.” Armie leaned forward and placed a wet kiss to the center of Timmy’s chest before reaching for his skinny hip to pull him closer.

Timmy pushed his hand away and leaned back, staring at Armie.

“We were always headed here,” Armie whispered. “It was just a matter of when.” 

“We can’t go public.” Timmy shook his head. “We can’t.”

Armie blinked slowly and tried not to let a sudden wave of sadness harsh his post-sex buzz. “How did you get to be so smart?”

Timmy smiled. It was a sad, fragile thing. Then, he swooped down and kissed the side of Armie’s neck. He pushed Armie onto his back and kissed the center of his chest.

When Timmy’s intentions became clear, Armie put a hand on his shoulder. “Tim, I really don’t think I’ll be able to—”

Timmy sucked the head of Armie’s cock into his mouth, and Armie moaned.

“M-maybe I’ll be able to,” he said to the ceiling and received the best blow job of his life.

Chapter Text

Timmy thankfully isn’t giving off half as much scalding heat as earlier, so Armie assumes his temperature has gone down as they watch Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window on mute. It’s on mute because Timmy is in that soft, relaxed place where he likes to sing.

It’s nothing much. Not, like, Broadway shit. Timmy’s voice isn’t big and booming. It’s sweet like old jazz, which is what he sings with his cheek on Armie’s bare chest: “La Vie en Rose” in French, of course.

“Quand il me prend dans ses bras, qu'il me parle tout bas, je vois la vie en rose …”

Armie doesn’t remember the exact translation—and with no help from Timmy. Armie looked up the lyrics after the first time Timmy sang the song to him, because when he asked Timmy to explain, Timmy just blushed and giggled.

Armie doesn’t know all the lyrics at that moment, in the darkness of their London hotel room, and it doesn’t matter really. Armie knows it’s a romantic, happy song, and the way the words curl from Timmy’s tired tongue is enough to make Armie warm and fuzzy inside. That and he has two of Timmy’s fingers in his mouth. He’s just, well, sucking. Armie doesn’t remember when they first started doing that. Months ago. They each have their “weird things” separately, but they share “weird things,” too.

Armie likes to suck Timmy’s fingers into his mouth, for instance, and Timmy likes letting him.

Timmy quietly croons, “C'est lui pour moi, moi pour lui, dans la vie. Il me l'a dit, l'a juré, pour la vie.”

Armie knows that part of the song. He swirls his tongue around Timmy’s digits because that part is about loving each other forever—for life.

It’s him for me.

Me for him.

Timmy stop singing. He says, “I’m sorry about today.”

Armie says, “What are you sorry for?” with Timmy’s fingers in his mouth, so his words make zero sense outside his head. He doesn’t wait for Timmy to say “What?” He just grabs Timmy’s wrist, pulls his fingers free, and repeats himself.

Timmy runs his spit-soaked digits down the front of Armie’s throat and shrugs. “We were supposed to have such a nice day. Instead, I freaked you out with, fuck, memories, and then, I’m worthless and sick—”

Armie tries to drag Timmy across his chest. “I love when you’re sick in bed.”

“Arms!” He pushes back and sits up, robe around his shoulders but front torso bare. “I’m serious! I’m tired of stolen moments. Weekends, random days—even that one time when we had two stupid hours at LAX.” He tugs on his hair. It’s so long right now, the way Armie likes it. “I hate spending so much time apart.”

Because he knows Timmy better than he’s ever known anyone, Armie hears what’s really going on. “Babe, you realize that even if we were totally open about our relationship, we’d still have to spend tons of time apart. Both our careers are insane right now.”

“Then, I’ll take a break.”

He says it so nonchalantly, the phrase almost flies over Armie’s head. Almost. “Wait. What?”

“I won’t take any new roles.”

“Okay, stop.” Armie sits up in bed and jostles the entire king-size with his intensity. “You’re high on Gatorade or some shit. Are you listening to yourself?”

Armie can only see one half of Timmy’s face reflected in the TV light—that cliff-edge cheekbone and bird nest hair—so he reaches behind him and hits the switch for the nearest lamp. Their day-long cave of dimness is suddenly lit bright white.

Timmy groans, squints, and then covers his eyes. 

Armie Hammer is having NONE OF IT. He grips Timmy’s wrist and pulls his hand away before grabbing onto his lover’s chin. “Tim, look at me right now.”

“Light hurts,” he says, eyes still closed.

Armie doesn’t respond. He waits.

After a few silent seconds, Timmy winks one eye open, then the other. He whines, “What?”

Armie doesn’t mean to growl, but Armie growls. “I told you that you would never give up your career for me. We discussed this months ago. We’ve discussed this several times.”

“I didn’t say ‘give up my career.’ I said ‘take a break.’” He shoves Armie’s hand from his chin. “And it’s not even like it would be a ‘break’ anyway. Once I’m finished promoting The King, there’s Little Women and French Dispatch and fucking Dune, man. Armie, I’ve been working straight for almost two years.” 

Well, the tremble in Timmy’s voice is unexpected, but it sure does make Armie latch onto him and pull him into a rough embrace. Timmy doesn’t start crying, but he does cling to Armie’s shoulder blades.

God, it’s like that moment in Call Me By Your Name—the attic moment—except Timmy doesn’t have a full Elio meltdown … but he’s close. Armie feels it in the tension in his back, in the way Timmy doesn’t fucking move, barely breathes.

“Okay,” Armie whispers. He doesn’t know what he’s agreeing to—Timmy taking a break or merely acknowledging that Timmy probably should have had a breakdown by now. 

“After Dune, what if we …” He pulls away and looks up at Armie. His expression is not one of emotion but of singular focus. “New Year’s 2021. Liz is already seeing someone. Your kids love me. We wouldn’t be the only openly gay, successful actors in Hollywood. Ian McKellen does it.” 

Armie smiles. “Ian McKellen is fucking Gandalf. He can do whatever he wants.”

Timmy laughs. It’s a relief to see his skin is no longer sea foam green. “We never planned on hiding forever.” And he looks up at Armie with those sometimes way-too-big eyes. “Did we?”

“No. No,” Armie repeats.

Timmy leans up on his knees and starts crawling forward so Armie has to fall back. Now, those big eyes have a different sultry quality that makes Armie’s toes curls—especially when Timmy straddles his hips. Armie stripped down to nothing but boxers hours ago, so it’s easy for Timmy to push the fabric away and release Armie’s dick.

Armie puts a hand on his shoulder. “Are you seriously trying to distract me with sex right now? We were having a conversation.” 

Timmy rubs their noses together—and then, their dicks. “I have to fly to Korea tomorrow. I only have your body for so long.” 

Armie is about to give in, concede defeat, but Timmy is the one who suddenly sits up straight, his hand still wrapped around both their cocks but no longer moving.

“Holy shit, Korea! What time is it?” 

Armie glances at the bedside clock. “Eight PM.” 

“Did I even brush my teeth today?”

Armie looks down at where Timmy’s hand keeps them pressed together and licks his lips. “Doubtful.”

“Oh, my God, gross.” And just like that, Timmy leaps from the bed, leaving Armie cold and frustrated.

Armie drags the blankets up his body and stares at the ceiling. The sounds of running water and Timmy brushing his teeth are familiar, comforting, but now that a hand is no longer wrapped around his cock, Armie’s brain works again. He says, “You know I’ll die before you. I drink and smoke too much. Plus, I’m fucking old.”

Timmy’s steps are heavy on the hotel carpet as he comes back into the room. He’s abandoned the robe somewhere, now fully nude and, frankly, stunning. He climbs up the bed and again straddles Armie’s hips. “The zombie apocalypse will happen way before that.”

Timmy swoops down for a kiss, but Armie holds him back with hands on his skinny chest. “I hate your taste in music.”

Timmy snorts. “Trying to talk me out of loving you? Uh, too late.” 

“I have bad breath in the morning.”

“Dude, you have bad breath now.” He leans in for a kiss anyway, but again, Armie stops him.

“What will coming out do to your mental health?”

Timmy leans away and sits on Armie’s hips with his hands on Armie’s stomach. He shrugs. “What’s hiding doing to it right now? I’m working so much because I love it, but I’m also working so much because I’m running. Running from your wife and your marriage and even Lily Rose, I guess. I’m tired of running, Arms.”

Armie cups his cheek. “I’m scared of what they’re going to do to you, what they’re going to say.”

Timmy chuckles. “I’m a lot more scared of losing this.”

Armie nods slowly. “And you won’t …” Hurt yourself?

“Never,” Timmy says quickly. “No matter what happens. I’ll never scare you like that again.”

Armie will not cry right now. He will not.

When Timmy leans down to kiss him, Armie does nothing to impede progress.

Of course, right before their lips meet, Timmy’s cell phone rings. It’s the bad guy music from Star Wars—the shit they play whenever Darth Vader is around—so Brian must be calling.

It’s a joke really. Timmy obviously loves Brian, but he does have a way of interrupting.

Timmy sighs. “I have to get that.” He rolls onto his back at Armie’s side and grabs his phone from next to the bed. “Hey,” he answers.

Armie hears Brian’s voice through the phone but not his words—just familiar mumbles.

New Year’s 2021.

Jesus, are they really going to do this?

Armie looks over at Timmy’s profile—the lauded bone structure that has graced many a magazine cover. But all those hungry fans don’t know that Timmy’s cute chin feels like sandpaper in the morning. They don’t know what it’s like to have Timmy’s nose smushed against their own. They don’t know Timmy’s lips are softer than they look.

Nope. But Armie knows all those things, and he’ll never give them up. 

When he rolls on top of Timmy, the younger man huffs out a loud breath of air but quickly recovers on the phone with, “No, that wasn't a cough. I’m feeling better, seriously.” He doesn’t even bother giving Armie the evil eye. Instead, he tangles his fingers in the back of Armie’s hair and keeps talking about flight times, event schedules—reiterating, “I swear I’m feeling better”—as Armie kisses down the side of his neck.

With zero finesse, Armie grabs the outside of Timmy’s thighs and drags them apart so he can kneel between Timmy’s spread legs. He ruts with his thumbs digging into Timmy’s hips while Timmy continues the conversation with his agent.

Timmy is by now a pro at talking to Brian on the phone while Armie plays with him.

“Okay, yeah, ten AM,” Timmy says. The only evidence that he’s paying Armie any heed is a sudden bite to his lower lip, and Timmy’s eyes squeeze shut. “Yes, all right.” His mouth drops open in a silent gasp when Armie rubs his thumb in precome and plays with the head of Timmy’s cock. “See you in the morning, Brian. Thanks for everything.” His head lolls back on the pillow after he hangs up.

“Your self control is admirable,” Armie says through a grin.

Timmy smirks. “He’s called while we were fucking before. That was nothing.” He smiles up at Armie, waggles his eyebrows. “Speaking of fucking.”

Armie lurches for the bedside stand because he now knows Timmy always travels with condoms and lube and keeps them in his bedside stand.

Before he even starts to prep, though, Timmy shoves him in the shoulder. “What the hell are you doing?”

Armie pauses, confused. “Uh.” 

“I’m not fucking you until you brush your goddamn teeth.”

Armie rolls his eyes, groans … and does exactly as he’s told.