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A Moment Increasingly Difficult to Pinpoint

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They are still new to each other the first time it happens, to the words they are speaking (badly at first, stuttering over the kind of dialogue no one would ever say in real life), to the shapes they make on set - one of them slight and fleet and wrapped around with a tarnished (but still potent) fame, and one slipping past in shadows, darker, more textured - he thinks, believes - and not famous, not wanting to be. It doesn't happen until filming for the tenth episode, until everyone on that damn set has watched Richard break off with tears in his his eyes, choking on dialogue that is harder to say when you've read ahead. Rob knocks on his trailer door afterwards and it's the first time Richard has really seen him be small and quiet and ordinary; frightened over something Richard cannot guess at. It doesn't occur to him until afterwards that maybe Rob is just scared of him.

"I brought you ... uh, coffee."

"Thanks ... that's ... that's kind of you."

"I didn't wanna, you know, intrude ... "

"That's okay."

"I just wanted ... It - that was ... just phenomenal."

Richard nods his head, just once. "Thank you."

He motions that Rob should sit and he does, opposite Richard, sitting forward, with both his hands wrapped around the coffee, handing it across like he's awarding an Emmy. Richard smiles, and reaches out --

They haven't known each other that long - a few months, which has been enough for a few stories, a few photos of each others' kids, enough for Richard to know that Rob isn't quite the man his press wants him to be, neither as dissolute (unless he acts his ass off throughout the whole day and not just between action and cut) nor as breath-taking. He is handsome in a way Richard has never envied, although his eyes are a dazzling shade of blue, even under the lights. Enough time for Richard to have noticed that, and filed it away. But it still isn't enough time to justify what Rob does next, how his fingers stray over from Richard's hands as he passes the carton of coffee over, across his wrists, how his thumb rubs against the bone there and into the hollow below Richard's own thumb. Like he's touching something ... holy, a small slip of flesh which he is not sure is truly real.

"What ... what're you doing?"

Rob looks up, and Sam Seaborn is in the light in his eyes when he says, "I really don't know."

Richard rolled his sleeves up a few hours ago, when he was watching the rushes and was desperate to have something to do with his hands. Now he wonders if the future was priming him for this moment, this little stretch of time which he spends shivering as Rob runs his fingers up his forearm, talking, all the time talking like someone who has had all this at the back of his mind and who has had the solid dam of thought and obligation and plain good sense broken down tonight, not with a small burst but in an explosion.

"You're ... you're something else, man. I can't even ... Tiny things that ... that I'd never be able to ... I can't, I just ... I can't even begin. Do you know?"

Rob's fingers have reached the inside of Richard's elbow, where the skin in thin and sensitive, where he can feel every tingle, can hear every suggestion that his nerves are making now - commit or move away, pull back or ...

"Well, I guess I know now ... "

Rob chuckles and the sound is like a bubble of air, bursting in Richard's head - a small, significant explosion.

His mouth - Rob's mouth, which is fuller than he has really acknowledged before, laden with expression, occasionally smart but lately quiet, much quieter than has has realised - presses up to Richard's without much in the way of warning. He is soft, almost feminine, almost - except for the smell of him, which Richard has a feeling is going to linger on his clothes and in his mind, and that is heavy and close, masculine, and not at all unpleasant. Rob has his hands on Richard's face, stroking the lines beside Richard's mouth, still touching him as though he won't ever have an experience as breathtaking as this one. His mouth opens, half inquisitive and half (Richard thinks) desperate, with a little sigh, a momentary break between their lips. Then his tongue licks over Richard's bottom lip, then slips inside his mouth. Rob tastes of ... good intentions, of arousal - which tastes the same in a man's mouth as in a woman's it seems - and of whiskey. Richard kisses him back, hard, raising the game again - his own tongue, his teeth, the release of tensions that have been building around his heart all this week all pushed onto Rob. And he takes them, and cushions the shocks and the violence that creeps out, just around the edges, with his right hand pressed against the side of Richard's neck and his left caught up in Richard's hair. He stays sweet; Sam-like. And once he's had that thought Richard doesn't know what the hell is going on here, who is acting and who isn't and whose body his own is responding to - who he's gotten half hard for. He pulls away.

"Is this something you do?" he asks, not gently. "Is this something you do that I'm going to be able to see on the internet next week?"

"Richard ... fuck. I don't know ... what I'm doing. I don't ... But I want to."

Rob looks up and his face looks dazzled, full of want. His pupils are swollen black, his mouth swollen red. He sank to his knees somewhere around the time Richard made a little split in his lip and now he's holding on to Richard's thighs, and his knuckles are turning white.

The coffee got lost somewhere between them - a spreading stain cooling off on the carpet. Richard stares at it, for what seems like longer than a few seconds.

Then he leans forward and kisses Rob again, like he means business - a challenge: step up or bow out. Tell me what it is that you want.

"You want to do ... what?" he whispers against Rob's lips.

"I want to do that."

"You want to do me."

Rob laughs again, the exhalation rocking over Richard's mouth - sweet, honest. "Yeah. Yeah, that must be it."

Richard watches - part of him watches - as the world collapses in on itself. Rob reaches for him, for his collar, and grabs him about the neck and kisses him again, with his tongue in Richard's mouth, wet and open and bright; requiring, not asking that Richard come along for the ride. If it's a feint it's a clever one because Richard has about a second and a half to work out the moves from the time that Rob finishes his sentence to the moment when he has six foot of horny kid in his arms. Rob pushes him, back against the seat, against the wall of the trailer and his shoulders knock the air out of Richard's chest, and his belly crushes up against Richard's crotch and rubs just as though he knows exactly what he's doing, though Richard's pretty sure by now that he has no idea - that Rob is listening only to the slam of his heartbeat, its rush in his ears, and the throb of his cock.

Rob's hands are small, undistinguished, and they look almost delicate inside Richard's own - his blunt fingertips and Rob's smooth wrists, his thumbs making white patches and leaving red marks on Rob's skin. Richard struggles out of his grasp, shrugging away Rob's hands on his face, stroking his beard, trying to force a thumb into his mouth; Rob tears his hands away and drops them between Richard's thighs. He presses the palm of his right hand over the bulge in Richard's pants (it's thin material; he's still in costume, still in Toby's sober black suit) and rubs there, gentle then rough, with his head low between them; his cheek resting on Richard's leg. Richard isn't surprised when Rob bends his head further down and begins pressing kisses where before he was pressing his fingers. Richard opens his thighs wider around him, trying not to give in to the sudden impulse his has to jiggle his right knee up and down, like he's waiting for the bus or in the middle of a casting interview. He laughs, a little and nervously, when Rob starts to stroke his thighs again with what are obviously meant to be long, calming motions along from the knee to the hip.

"Relax, man," Rob whispers.

"I, ah, I'm not sure I know how. Anymore."

"A minute ago you were ... you were, well, you."

Richard closes his eyes, lets his head fall back against the seat. He moans, just a little - Rob has started rubbing his cock again and is now unzipping his pants, his fingers almost as far as skin and nerves and the sensation which Richard already knows will be enough to force him to let go.

"That was ... fuck ... that was a minute ago," he manages, whispering now.

Rob laughs, with his fingers in the waistband of Richard's boxers. He pats both palms against Richard's hips to ask him to lift up, then --

His hands are still cool, his mouth is not. He wraps one arm around Richard's thigh, presses the other against the curve of Richard's belly and starts - sucking at the side of Richard's cock, letting his tongue make the occasional swoop across his balls, then around the vein, always missing the head, always a little too gentle, always teasing; fucking with him, like it's revenge somehow, withholding release as he feels Richard has withheld his secrets and his heart, pouring his disappointments and inadequacies, and the ambitions which are twisting tighter with each passing episode across Richard's body in a tide that threatens never to break.

"You'll never make it ... if you never learn how to commit," Richard says, through his teeth, as he bucks up against Rob's face.

"I'm exactly what you thought, huh?" Rob says and between the pounding in his own head and the softness of Rob's voice, Richard can't tell whether he's serious.

"No ... no you're not."

Rob's hand has replaced his mouth now, closed around the head of Richard's cock, tight, his rhythm desperate and determined; committed.

"Just a stupid kid."

"No." Richard whispers it, with the last breath left in his chest.

Rob looks up at him, and he sighs as he says it, and his eyes are blue and sweet and in no doubt whatsoever: "Yeah," he says, and Richard comes, all over his hands.

*

At the party, after the Emmys, Rob tells Richard that he loves him. In that way that straight (mostly straight) men do - clapping a hand across his back with about a tonne too much weight behind the gesture and almost making Richard choke on his cigar. He means he loves the performances, he loves the little tricks and the textures Richard uses, he loves the nights that they stay up for a late shoot and talk baseball or golf or goddamn philosophy between takes, he loves the moment when he stops being Richard and starts being Toby and that he finds that moment increasingly difficult to pinpoint. He loves his friend.

The kiss on the cheek is a nothing; gone in a moment. The other kiss, the one he spends with his lips crushed against Rob's and his tongue in the other guy's mouth, later, in a dark place he finds himself in without warning when Rob grabs hold of his arm and pulls - that one lasts. He smoothes Rob's hair down underneath his palm; Rob strokes his own palm down Richard's chest.

"I mean it."

"I know."

"I don't ever want this to stop."

"I know."

"It doesn't get better than this. This, these people. You."

"Listen -- "

"No, it's okay. I know. I know."

Richard leans in, smiles first - a brief, uncomfortable, genuine, shifting smile which rests fleetingly on his lips - then kisses him again.

He whispers, "A much much better man ... " under his breath. Rob smiles. Cut take.