It was great, actually.
Meeting the man in person for the first time was an experience he’ll never forget. He’d read he was tall, of course. Ridiculously tall and ridiculously personable. Even so, all the anecdotes and interviews did no justice at all to the inspiring ball of contradictions that is Armand Douglas Hammer.
He is indeed very tall and personable, but by the same card, he’s extremely aware of the space he occupies and is actually prone to winding himself up a little too much in social settings which leads to the inevitable anxiety crash.
Anyways, it was great.
Getting to know the man and getting to learn his little quirks and basically making a new best friend in the process of making a movie that’s turned out to be the best time he’s had in years.
What wasn’t so great was everything that started happening from that point on.
They wrapped filming, he got a few weeks at home, and now begins the press tour. Which means he gets to see all the lovely faces he got used to seeing over the months of filming, and he gets to spend almost all of the scheduled interviews with Armie.
The very man he’s had a few unfortunate revelations about during his brief trip home.
It’s not that he doesn’t realize Armie’s a handsome fellow. Oh no, he had that one down pretty much from their first meeting. He just hoped it wouldn’t turn into anything serious. It’s not that he’s not aware of his own inclination to fall for unsuitable people, regardless of gender, either. He’s plenty aware of his own faults, thank you very much.
The crux of the matter is this: he’s fully aware that he’s managed to send himself ass over teakettle for his co-star without even trying, and he’s also fully aware that said co-star is happily married and in the midst of raising a baby.
So, that leaves him in a distinctly miserable position.
But, even so, he’s going to have to make the best of it. He hugs Alicia and Elizabeth and the rest of the motley crew as they meet up in the various cities on the promotional tour, and whenever he sees Armie prior to their interviews, he makes sure to drag their hug out just a tad longer than absolutely necessary.
It’s not criminal to want to feel all that solid warmth and strength wrapped around him, right? He can take what he can get and be happy with it. That’s the point here. Keep it platonic, keep it able to be waved off if it gets a little awkward, and he’ll be fine. He’s dealt with unrequited crushes before, he can do it again. He just has to focus. (Which is a bit to ask these days, considering how much is riding on him in regards to an entirely separate franchise that happens to be helmed by Warner Brothers, but he’s fine. Really.)
He’s fine at the London premiere. He’s fine at the New York premiere. He’s fine at the Toronto premiere.
He’s even fine when they get down to Rio for the Brazilian premiere. At least, he’s fine initially. They do the daytime interviews (Alicia and Elizabeth get carted around separately, since the marketing and PR departments apparently decided the promotional tour should be leading ladies versus gents, and Henry can honestly say he’s never been more masochistically grateful for a seemingly logistical choice), they tool around to a few photo ops, and then it’s time for the red carpet.
Armie shows up in a ridiculous periwinkle blue and pink ensemble that should look ridiculous on just about anyone but somehow manages to look nothing short of endearing on him. Henry’s pretty convinced his rose-tinted glasses are maxing out at this point, but apparently Mrs. Hammer feels similarly, if her gentle smiles for her husband are anything to go by.
Elizabeth is a wonderful woman. Henry didn’t really know what to expect the first time Armie made the introductions, but she’s just as congenial as her husband and even more eloquent. She cares deeply for her family, and that really just serves to make Henry feel like even more of a greedy heel.
But he’s getting off track. Armie in his ridiculous suit, Elizabeth being lovely as usual, everything going somewhat smoothly. (He really can’t talk about suits since his final decision ended up being a dubious white and blue combo that probably would’ve looked more at home on golden-era Harrison Ford or Sean Connery than him.)
He’s talking to a few publicity folks near the theatre entrance when a sudden commotion somewhere behind him prompts him to take notice and turn around.
Henry feels his stomach plummet straight down to what he imagines is the center of the earth when he spots the source of the noise: Armie, standing near one of the guard rails keeping the fans from spilling onto the carpet, holding up a fan-made poster that reads “Henry, can I grab your butt?”
Armie drops one side of the poster and jerks his thumb over his shoulder, presumably demonstrating that one of the fans coerced him into it, then grabs the side again and gives him a hopeful shrug.
Being a professional, Henry plasters a deprecating smile on his face and ducks away, forcing a laugh. The photogs are all over the two of them from their many and sundry vantage points, and the flashbulbs start going off with unnerving frequency. Henry only hopes that none of them caught that split second moment of abject horror when he couldn’t tell if Armie was openly mocking him, or just completely oblivious to just how close that was to something he shouldn’t be uncovering.
He’s grateful that his agent starts ushering him towards the doors at that point, which gives him the excuse of turning around one last time to gesticulate animatedly for Armie (and the photogs’) benefit, then slip into the protective darkness of the theatre.
It’s the first time in all of the premieres they’ve been to that he hopes he doesn’t end up getting sat next to Armie.
But, as luck would have it, that’s exactly what ends up happening. Although, all things considered, Henry thinks it’s less luck and more Armie wheedling his way around a few people to switch seats with them so he’s got Elizabeth on his left and Henry on his right.
They’ve all seen the finished film before, so it’s nothing terribly new and exciting, though it is nice to experience it with a whole new audience. No two theatres react the same, as Henry’s found over the years, and it’s been amusing to see which parts of the film get bigger laughs in which countries. What’s not amusing is the fact that Armie keeps leaning over through the screening and asking things like ..is everything okay? or ..do you need some fresh air? like this overprotective mother hen and it’s stifling.
It’s stifling precisely because Armie was the one who inadvertently caused all of Henry’s painstakingly constructed façade to come crashing down at his feet with no warning. Everything had been fine, and then Armie decided to throw a spanner in the works which left Henry on unbelievably unstable footing.
Does Armie know? If he does, why would he have been goofing around with the poster? Was he making a point? Mocking him from a safe distance? Henry can’t imagine that someone as inherently gentle as his co-star would be capable of something like that, but his prone-to-paranoia brain isn’t really too fond of logic at the moment.
Once the screening wraps up and they stand for the applause and hang around for a few scheduled meet & greets, Henry wants nothing more than to run straight back to the hotel and barricade himself in his room. He feels like the overweight teenager he was a decade and more ago with those pathetic hanging-on crushes. Hell, he feels worse than that. He’s thirty-two, for god’s sake, and here he is wanting to hide in his (fake) room like a child.
Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case may be, Armie manages to intervene before he can make his escape. He’s left with his co-star’s massive hand resting lightly on his shoulder while the rest of him wants nothing more than to melt into the floor.
“Look,” Armie’s saying, angling himself so they’re actually able to have something resembling a private conversation in the midst of everyone. “Go back to the hotel and relax for a bit. I’ll cover for you.”
Henry straightens up and tries to frown at him, though if the look on Armie’s face is anything to go by, he didn’t get very close to succeeding.
“I’m serious, you look like you’re about to keel over. Just take it easy. Night’s almost over anyways.”
A protest seems mute at this point, so Henry mumbles something that he hopes comes out sounding like thank you, then makes his escape with the help of his agent. He only looks back once, which he prides himself on, and catches a brief glimpse of Armie leaning down slightly to say something obviously only meant for Elizabeth’s ears. Whatever it is, Henry’s glad he wasn’t around to hear it.
When he’s dropped at the hotel, he swings through the little 24-hour shop on the lobby level and grabs a burger. It’s probably one in the morning but he honestly can’t find a shit to give. It’s comfort food and he’s damn well going to enjoy it.
He gets to his room and while he doesn’t barricade the door or anything so dramatic, he does make sure it’s locked and hunkers down in the mess of blankets and pillows on the bed. The burger is delicious, and the white noise from the television playing in the background helps get him in a frame of mind that doesn’t involve having a panic attack over something that probably didn’t actually happen.
It’s funny, because he’s usually not like this. Even when he’s ended up falling (a little or a lot) for a co-star, it’s always something he can just grin and bear it through. As cliché as it sounds, it’s different with Armie, and he’s not entirely sure how. The stakes feel higher, especially thanks to the very real chance that he could piss Elizabeth right off if she caught wind of his moping. He knows nothing can happen, not without hurting two people who he’s come to care about, and that sure as hell isn’t happening.
Henry’s just about to pop the last bite in his mouth when someone knocks on the door to his room.
He almost chokes on his own tongue, then stares at the door. Nothing happens for a few moments, but another knock isn’t long in coming. Following the second knock is exactly what he was dreading:
“Look, Henry, just open the door. Please? I want to talk to you about something.”
They’re all in the same hotel, so it’s not exactly like Armie had to go out of his way to get here, but Henry can feel the nauseating coiling of his innards all the same. He tries to clean the bed up a little, then slowly makes his way to the door, feeling his pulse ratchet up with every step closer he gets.
“Hey, thanks for stopping b-” Henry’s greeting dies on his lips as he opens the door and isn’t greeted by the familiar 6’5” figure he knows, but instead by both husband and wife standing extremely close together to fit in the frame of the door.
“Don’t thank him yet,” Elizabeth offers him a warm smile, then gives her husband’s stomach an affectionate pat. “That’s for later.”
Henry just stares at her, lost for words, and when he looks to Armie, the unfamiliar demure expression there doesn’t answer any of his questions. He turns back to Elizabeth, an awkward plea for an explanation on the tip of his tongue..
“The two of you aren’t very good at keeping secrets. Actually, I think you’re both the worst liars I’ve ever met, which is saying something considering you’re both very talented actors,” she waves a hand as they both make to protest, then snorts to herself. “Henry, I want you to know that Armie is very flattered by everything you’ve been trying to keep him from finding out. I also want you to know that I’m very flattered that you happen to be the singular person my husband has ever paid attention to outside of our marriage.”
When that fails to coax any coherent thought out of his brain or mouth, Elizabeth continues uninterrupted.
“It’s not every day you get put up next to Superman, you know,” she winks, then slides a covetous hand up her husband’s chest. She catches his chin in one hand, tilting his head towards her, then kisses him full on the mouth.
Henry watches, since how is he supposed to not, and strangely enough, he doesn’t feel envious. No, because Elizabeth’s words are starting to create a full picture for him, and he’s starting to realize why both of them are here. Even if this feels like a lucid dream and he’s half convinced he passed out after finishing the burger.
“Next time, I get to watch,” Henry distinctly hears her murmur against the hinge of Armie’s jaw, and his own body goes hot all over, as if she was whispering against his ear, not Armie’s.
With that, Elizabeth gives them both a fondly exasperated look, then takes off down the hallway leading to their shared room. Henry watches her go, still bemused and mildly terrified, but also just a little hopeful.
“I’m so sorry,” Armie flushes from the roots of his hair to his throat, and Henry can honestly say he’s never seen anything quite as unabashedly charming. “I just...I tried...I’m sorry.”
Henry exhales a breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding, then smiles crookedly at his co-star.
“I thought I’d been doing pretty good,” he pulls the door all the way open and gestures for Armie to come inside so he can shut it.
“I thought I’d been doing horribly!” Armie exclaims, gesticulating with both hands as if to encompass the whole of everything. “I was only flirting with you every goddamn interview! Did you think I was kidding?”
Henry blinks at him, momentarily taken aback, then blinks again. Flirting with him? Sure, they have their banter and whatnot, but Henry never took it as anything beyond the surface level. Then again, he’s been working at forcibly stifling all of his own urges for months, so maybe that had to do with fucking up his receptivity.
And even then, he’s having a hard time wrapping his head around any of this. Armie is married, and yet his wife came here to drop him off like a prized showdog at a kennel. Now Armie’s telling him he’s been flirting with him for literal months. Did he and Elizabeth talk this all out? Was it planned? Was it spur of the moment? Too many questions and no answers.
“So this..” he starts eloquently, taking a step closer to Armie as he does. “You planned this? And she...she helped?”
Armie’s expression softens into that smile Henry’s seen directed at him more often than he deserves, and he can’t help the way his midsection does a little flip at seeing it again.
“No, no,” Armie ducks, somewhat bashfully, but takes a few steps closer so he’s almost in Henry’s personal space. “She’s the mastermind. I told her how I felt about you and we...figured it out from there.”
“How do you feel about me?” Henry asks, suddenly a little breathless as he stares up into Armie’s face. And he’s still not over the novel sensation of having to look up to meet someone’s gaze.
“I still have no fucking idea,” Armie says, and the honesty practically bleeds through the words themselves, but he’s not done. “I think I’ll do better if I try and show you.”
Henry swallows, and quite suddenly, everything’s moving.
When the room stops spinning, he’s flat on his back on the bed, and Armie’s braced over him, staring down at him with this odd expression on his face. If he had to guess, Henry would say it’s hunger and awe all tangled up together.
“I’ve wanted your cock in my mouth since London,” he says, and Henry’s body jolts like he just stuck his finger in a socket. Fuck. “Can I?”
“Yeah,” he says breathlessly, reaching up to tangle his fingers in that soft blond hair as Armie attacks his throat with single-minded intent. “God, yeah-”
He doesn’t really get to pull much in the way of clothing off Armie, but Armie manages to get his sweats and briefs off without ceremony. He’s shivering, which is odd considering the humid mugginess creeping in through the half open windows, but he doesn’t feel cold at all. Every inch of his skin feels like there’s electricity buzzing across it; like he’s too big for it.
Armie’s contenting himself with lavishing an exorbitant amount of attention on his belly and thighs, and Henry’s about to complain when he catches a brief snatch of intelligible speech from somewhere below hip level.
He squeezes his eyes shut and turns his head into the pillow under his neck, suddenly realizing just how unprepared he actually was for any of this.
Henry blinks down at Armie, who’s smiling up at him with his chin resting on the muscle of his thigh.
“Stay here,” Armie says, still smiling, and Henry isn’t sure what that means.
Then, a hot, wet mouth is lowering itself onto his cock and his world narrows down to this point of suction and bliss.
It’s not practiced, exactly, but there’s a certain finesse to it that speaks to prior experience. Henry thinks he might ask Armie about that at some point. Probably when his brain isn’t melting out of his ears.
Armie hums around him, and Henry wails, arching up and clenching his fingers in Armie’s hair. He tries not to thrust, but it’s been a while and he knows he’s not going to last. He twitches and writhes helplessly, encouraging Armie with every noise he can possibly force out of his throat.
“Armie,” he gasps, head thrown back and muscles starting to lock up. “God, Armie-”
And that’s all he gets out before he’s coming harder than he can remember doing in months. He moans through the whole thing, and a small part of his brain feels a little bad that he didn’t really get a chance to properly warn Armie, but the rest of it has basically melted into nothing.
It’s a nice feeling.
It gets even nicer when a warm, heavy weight is sliding up to rest against him; stretched full length on the bed from his shoulder to his calf.
“Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” Armie’s voice is just a touch hoarse, and Henry thinks it’s just about the sexiest thing he’s heard.
He blinks a little dazedly at Armie, then offers a small smile. “Not sure how to answer that question.”
Armie’s smile is blinding, and Henry wonders how he’s managing to look so effortlessly at ease when he hasn’t gotten an orgasm for himself yet (as far as Henry knows). “Will you let us show you?”
So there’s a chance for something more, here. Something that won’t be wrapped up in this single night in this hotel thousands of miles away from where he calls home.
“Yeah,” Henry reaches up and pulls Armie down for a kiss, deliberately tasting himself on those lips he’s been thinking about since filming wrapped. “I think I can try.”