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Dante's Peak

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It's their daily phone call, give or take days one or the other of them can't get to the phone. Just saying hello feels good to Pierce; he can't believe how much he misses Sean.

"How's the work?" Sean asks.

Pierce has been rehearsing his answer all day on set. It's fine. How are you? New York been good to you in my absence?

"I hate it" is what comes out. "I hate it. I have to go back into that fucking car again tomorrow. It's not going well at all. If I could have made it through without needing to come out a half a dozen times, we'd be done already."

There's dead silence on the other end of the line for a while; Pierce winces. He didn't need to know that. "Sean--"

"I'll be there by morning," Sean says.

"You don't have to."

"The hell I don't."

"Just be there when I call--" Pierce rubs at his eyes, exhausted and not wanting to fight. "That's enough. It does enough."

But Sean doesn't want to fight, either. And Sean's every bit as stubborn as Pierce is. "I'm coming out. You can meet me at the airport or I can get a car."

The relief's great enough Pierce leans back against the pillows and closes his eyes. "I'll meet you."

"I'll call when I know my flight times."

"All right."

"I love you." The words are still new on Sean's lips; saying them feels good.

Hearing them feels good, too. "I love you," Pierce whispers back.

"Get some sleep if you can. I'll call in an hour or two."

"I'll try. Thank you." And there's more: "I couldn't do without you."

"You could, but you'd hate it," Sean teases. "Talk to you in a couple of hours."

"'Til then, Sean."

Sean comes off the plane still white-knuckled, and it's all Pierce can do to stay planted in place. He can't hug Sean the way he wants to, can't hold him close and tell him how proud he is of Sean for making it through the two-part, seven-hours-total flight. How grateful he is that Sean's here to comfort him through his own phobia.

He can't do or say any of the things he really wants to here. But he shakes Sean's hand and pulls him into a hug that starts with a handshake and ends with a clap on the shoulder. It's not enough, but it's the best he can do in public.

After the long drive to Pierce's cabin, Pierce pushes Sean into the bed and kisses him, biting Sean's lips and whispering out thank yous and missed yous and other soft, grateful words. Sean clings to him and kisses back, needing the connection more than the dominant touch or the sex.

"You didn't have to," Pierce whispers. "But I'm so glad you're here."

Sean shakes his head. "We're not arguing about this. You need me."

Pierce does need him. Maybe someday he'll be able to say so.