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again and again, even though we know love’s landscape

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“It’s raining,” Phil said, dropping the blinds back in place from where he’d been peeking at a dismally grey London morning. Dan grunted. Phil gritted his teeth; a spike of pain lanced through his skull.

“You gonna open them or what mate?” Dan didn’t bother to look up, typing furiously at his computer.

“What’s the point, it’s raining.” Truth be told, Phil didn’t want the extra light, even if it was muted by clouds. What he really wanted was Dan to look up. To see him. Other than offering a cheek for a good morning kiss, Dan had hardly taken note of Phil since he’d come stumbling out of bed an hour later than usual, temples throbbing. Phil knew, he knew that this was the sort of headache he wore all over his face.

“Phil, would you just open the goddamn blinds already?”

Phil froze, then moved to the window woodenly. He should have known Dan was in a mood from the monosyllabic grunting that passed for responses to conversation. From the fact that he’d woken later than Dan. From the wild hair, tugged in all directions like he did when he was stuck on a thorny idea, or when a project wasn’t going how he wanted. Phil opened the blinds mechanically, flooding the room with muted light. Rain snaked erratically down the window. The light pierced his eyes.

“Thanks,” Dan said, head still bowed. Phil couldn’t bring himself to respond, still stinging from the snapped command from earlier. He didn’t have the defenses for this. He’d made himself get out of bed this morning hoping to find Dan, seeking comfort in his smell, in the cool touch of his hands maybe, fingers gentle at his temples. Instead he’d gotten a rude lump of a partner. Phil stalked back to the bedroom. He wasn’t quite stomping, exactly. But he wasn’t being quiet either. Perhaps his overreaction was a bit dramatic, particularly for an audience of precisely one, but pain was now gripping his neck, radiating downward. He felt sick and hurt.

Under their blanket, he could smell them both, but mostly Dan. Perhaps some stupid pleasure seeking part of his brain hadn’t gotten the we’re pissed because he’s being an asshole memo, because Phil rolled onto Dan’s side of the bed and lay his head on Dan’s pillow. It was the smallest of comforts, the lingering redolence of Dan’s hair product and sweat, but it’d have to do.

For a while Phil just stared sightlessly at the wall opposite him. A couple of boxes, half filled with clothes from when they’d begun to pack before the country had gone into quarantine, were in his field of vision. He closed his eyes. The last thing he wanted to dwell on all of the projects and plans they’d had that had come screeching to a halt. He’d’ve liked to have the emotional or mental capacity to go through his mental mantras about how they were luckier than most and how it was temporary. For now, really, the boxes were a visual eyesore when he wanted to stare at a plain white wall and to curl around his rather righteously hurt feelings.

Phil rolled out of bed with a graceless thump, left leg tangled in the sheet. He landed on his shoulder and wrist, swearing at the jarring his shoulder took. He’d bruise for sure. With a single grunt, a bit of resentment, and also some regret, Phil managed to shove the boxes where he wouldn’t see them. Sure, that meant they were blocking the middle of the room but he had absolutely no fucks to give.

His box was closed up tight, already filled with things to be donated, but Dan’s wasn’t. At the very top of the pile in there, shockingly, was Dan’s hideous potato-sack sweater everyone hated.

Everyone but Dan, who’d gone through a phase of living in that sweater whenever he could get away with it. Phil picked it out of the pile, wondering, and held it up to his face. It smelled even more of Dan, of his deodorant and cologne. Phil felt instantly comforted,despite his rather hurt feelings,. He darted a glance at the door. Dan was likely to be stuck in whatever rabbit hole he’d fallen into for a while. So long as Phil got back up from a nap—and yes, he would call it a nap even if he’d been up less than 45 minutes—and put it back before Dan emerged, Dan would be none the wiser. And then, if Phil was feeling better, he could have words with Dan over being such a prick.

Phil slipped out of his own t-shirt and into the sweater, then crawled back into bed, haphazardly fixing the sheet and blanket he’d pulled off when he’d fallen. He snuggled, face squished deep in Dan’s pillow, the sleeves of Dan’s sweater pulled over his hands and tucked under his chin. The pain was throbbing behind his eyes and the back of his neck, but dulling by increments. He stared at the wall, letting his mind go blank, and was asleep within moments.


Phil jerked awake at the sound of his shouted name. Hand over heart, he frowned at Dan when he rushed into their room, then dropped back onto the bed, squinting his eyes shut. He couldn’t have been asleep for more than a few minutes; his head still hurt terribly.

“Listen, I’m sorry, I just—I had this inspiration, see, at about 4am, and okay yes, I wasn’t sleeping—” Dan spoke so fast his words were tripping over themselves. Phil wanted to tell him to shut up, please, but it seemed a tremendous effort. “But then nothing was going how I wanted an—” Dan stopped suddenly and inhaled sharply. The bed dipped next to him. “Oh Phil,” he said with such soft sweetness Phil could honestly have killed him because god it wasn’t fair, how Dan’s instant sweetness went so far toward making Phil feel better already.

Phil was mad. Yes. He was holding on to that. Well. Maybe later, when a surge of blood pressure wasn’t certain to increase the pain in his head.

Dan’s hand was on his forehead, cold fingers pushing Phil’s hair up off of his forehead.

“Is it bad?” he asked, softly, fingers still in Phil’s hair just like he’d wished they could have been an hour ago. He nodded, eyes still closed. “Have you had any pills?”

“No,” Phil slurred, back to groggy after being startled awake. “Was too upset, just came back to bed.”

He opened his eyes at the touch of soft lips to his shoulder, which Dan’s sweater had slipped to expose. “I’ll go get you some, and some water.”

Dan left the room, padding softly on bare feet. March was still cold, a chill on the wet air outside, and it tended to curl into their flat when they turned the heat down for bed. Still, Dan was in a long sweater and no trousers. No wonder his fingers were so cold. Phil hummed, enjoying the sight of Dan’s legs, which he’d shaved the day before from sheer boredom. They glowed luminous in the dim light.

He drowsed a moment until Dan was back, jostling the mattress as he climbed in on Phil’s side. “C’mon bub,” Dan whispered. Phil rolled over and then sat up at Dan’s urging. He swallowed the medicine Dan gave him obediently, and when Dan prompted him, drank the whole glass of water. He was probably dehydrated, which never helped with these headaches. Dan wiggled until he was leaned back against the back of the bed, then patted his lap. “Here, you,” he said with what Phil could only describe as authoritative fondness. Despite the sharp sureness of his hurt feelings earlier, Phil could feel himself softening. This was, after all, exactly what Phil had woken up desiring in the first place.

It was a bit of a shuffle, getting his head on Dan’s lap, face up so that Dan could rub the headache from his temples and jaw like Phil liked. At least they had the bigger bed now, which left more room for maneuvering.

His sigh, when Dan’s fingers started gently circling his temples with precisely the right amount of pressure, was long and deep.

“You’re wearing my sweater,” Dan observed. He almost sounded wondering, or awed. Phil didn’t open his eyes to confirm. “You hate this sweater.”

“Smelled like you,” Phil managed, words thick like molasses in his mouth. Every part of his body was relaxing. Phil could tell now how tense he’d become, muscles locking up against the pain. Dan had moved on to Phil’s jaw, releasing tension in muscles that sent chills down his neck. Phil grunted and waited until Dan was done before rolling onto his side, nudging Dan’s soft belly with the back of his head. Sleep was drawing curtains around him but he wanted to fall into it with Dan’s fingers still a comfort and balm, moving carefully through Phil’s morning head.

When he came to, the room was brighter; a glance at the time told him it was early afternoon. The sun was well up. Perhaps the rain had passed. He sat up carefully, tilting his head. No pain, just a sort of pressurey-dullness remained. A migraine hangover then, one that he knew would call him back to bed for the rest of the day, should he let it.

If he fell back asleep now he wouldn’t sleep that night, which would only increase chances he’d get another headache from lying in too long. Phil forced his legs out of bed, taking care to untangle himself this time. He rolled his shoulder, probing the tender spot where he’d landed on it.

“That’s how I knew to come find you,” Dan said quietly, catching Phil completely off-guard.

“Holy shit Dan, give a guy some warning!” Phil’s heart jackhammered uncomfortably.

“Sorry.” Dan was propped up against the wall next to the bed, still only half dressed, hair a flattened riot that meant he’d fallen asleep too. He had two mugs in hand, steam curling from them in lovely tendrils. “You were making your wake up noises, so I thought I’d take a chance and make you a cuppa.”

Phil swallowed the rote protest that he did not make ‘wake up noises’. Unfortunately, after a particularly heated debate about who made more noise in their sleep, Dan had managed to capture them on film. Dan had been delighted. He’d always found them adorable, too adorable, enough so that Phil had felt honor bound to argue against them.

“Something warm wouldn’t come amiss,” Phil said.

“It’s tea, sorry, I didn’t know if caffeine would be a good idea.” Dan set the mug down carefully.

“It would be,” Phil said. Sometimes caffeine exacerbated a headache. “Doesn’t really hurt anymore. Feel a bit hungover though.”

“Want me to make you some coffee then?” Dan said, still quiet. He touched Phil’s cheek, a fleeting, thoughtless instinct. He did that often, as if checking Phil were still there.

“Maybe in a bit,” Phil said, already sipping the tea. He patted the bed next to him, watching the lovely pale flash of Dan’s thighs as he did so. Curls flopped over his forehead. Phil knew Dan hated his hair this long, but Phil was enamoured with it. He particularly loved it almost dry, when he could wrap Dan’s curls around his fingers, one by one, making temporary ringlets of them.

They drank their tea quietly, shoulder to shoulder. The room darkened suddenly, the lashing of rain hitting the windows all at once. Phil closed his eyes, the hush of their breathing and the white noise of the rain soothing him.

“How about breakfast in bed, and then a bath?” Dan suggested. Their tea was long forgotten. Phil had scooted down again without meaning to. Dan’s fingers were tangled with his. His nail polish, a midnight blue with a faint shimmer, was chipping. Phil touched each nail carefully.

“Sounds lovely. But you don’t have—”

“No, I want to. It’ll be nice for both of us. Stay here, okay?” Dan extracted himself with a little trouble, as Phil was loath to actually let him go, laughing and cursing fondly.

Phil took up his phone while he waited, opening it tentatively. He had to turn the brightness down, but once he did, the light didn't bother his eyes. He avoided his emails, knowing that there would be something stressful in there. He had nowhere to go, no need to let a manufactured sense of urgency push him into working when he’d just recovered from a headache. He lost himself in fish care tutorials for a bit before going to Rapid Liquid. He was giggling when Dan came in, balancing food and drinks on a bed tray. Phil helped him settle it over his lap, then steadied it when Dan crawled into bed with his own. They exchanged dishes wordlessly, Phil handing Dan his dark coffee and the bowl of berries. He kept the cut up banana for himself, even though Dan loved bananas. He was having a shit day, he could choose what fruit he wanted. Plus, Dan would surely steal some.

They lingered, watching dog videos together, eating slowly and quietly.

“Here,” Phil said, shifting his empty dishes onto Dan’s tray. He climbed out of bed.

“I’ll do it,” Dan protested. “I want to pamper you—”

“I need to move a bit,” Phil said. “I’m all stiff.”

Dan smirked. “Well, the—”

“Not like that, you insatiable pervert,” Phil said through laughter.

“Oh sure, like I’m the only one,” Dan accused. It was a little true, but only if counted both ways. After a few weeks stuck at home, their sex life had really picked up. Sometimes they were both fed up with solitude and that meant time apart. Now, often, it meant they lost themselves in each other. Phil had joked a week earlier that he felt they were making up for all the sex they hadn’t had on their tours, when they’d so often been too tired for any kind of sex, or so exhausted they’d settled for quick, sleepy, utilitarian handjobs.

“Take those to the kitchen, you letch, and I’ll go run a bath, all right?” Dan said. His shirt had ridden up, revealing a pair of black lace boyshorts.

“Did you wear those all night and I didn’t notice?”

“Nope,” Dan said with a wink. “I put them on after my shower this morning. Thought they might lift my mood a little.”

Phil frowned. Dan often did little things like this, wearing sexy underwear or giving himself a manicure, when he wasn’t feeling good about himself, not just having a bad day. “And after?”

“Work just wasn’t going the way I wanted,” Dan said simply. He stood and poked Phil’s belly, causing him to squirm and the plates on the tray to jostle precariously. “I’m fine though, now. And honestly sorry I snapped at you.”

“You’re just okay now?” Phil asked. Dan’s moods were often unpredictable, changeable, but when they had to do with projects that weren’t going well, he tended to take longer to settle.

“Yeah. It was nice, hanging out in here with you. Calming.” Dan kissed Phil’s cheek, eyes averted. As if after more than a decade together it was still embarrassing, his vulnerability.

“All right then,” Phil said, wanting to give Dan some space. “I’ll meet you in the bathroom.”

Phil didn’t bother to put the dishes in the dishwasher. He piled them in the sink with a clatter that made him wince. Maybe his headache wasn’t completely gone. Or was coming back. His neck and shoulders were tender to the touch, a creeping tension crawling through them while he’d been distracted. Phil sighed. He didn’t want to lose a day to this. Not with the promise of some pampering on the horizon.

The bathroom was already starting to fill with steam when he arrived. Dan was still dressed, fiddling with some scentless candles. Strong scents sometimes triggered Phil’s headaches. Dan had already thrown one of their Lush bathbombs in, which would be scent enough. Phil leaned back against the door, watched as Dan slipped out of his sweater. His pants had ridden up, so that the lovely bottom swell of each asscheek was revealed, beautifully framed by the black lace. Dan shot him a knowing smirk before shimmying out of them and stepping into the water.

“You coming?”

“Yeah,” Phil said, already undressing. “Just enjoying the show for a bit.”

Dan rolled his eyes. “C’mon buster, no show right now, just relaxation.”

Phil climbed in carefully, taking Dan’s hand. It was a bit of work, getting them both in there, getting himself situated between Dan’s legs. One day They’d splurge on a bathtub the size of a small pool, big enough for their long noodle bodies. As was, both of their knees stuck up out of the water, Phil’s feet braced against the opposite side of the tub’s edge. Still, the water was warm and gently fragrant. Dan’s large hands cupped water, pouring handfuls over Phil’s shoulders.

“No, wait,” Dan whispered when Phil went to lean back against him fully. A click of a cap, what he guessed was shower gel, alerted him to what was coming. He settled as comfortably as he could so that Dan could still reach his neck and shoulders.

“Careful with the left one, I fell on it,” he warned.

“Of course you did, clumsy sod,” Dan said. The affection in his voice, the sweetness of a kiss pressed at the base of his skull zinged right through Phil. He must have been tired to be feeling so much from a little touch. He couldn’t help it though, he loved Dan like this. He loved them together, like this. Loved that years later, they’d discovered new languages of love and care that would never have occurred to either of them at the start. Maybe they took more for granted than they did then. Often they went ages without checking in to connect fully, knowing that the other would be there regardless. What they’d gained in comfort they’d made up for in the depth of that connection when they did need or offer it.

Phil sighed then moaned softly when Dan worked the tension in his neck. He went hard, unforgiving, the way he’d learned from a massage therapist who’d come to teach them ways to help with Phil’s headaches. Phil gripped the edge of the tub for support, letting Dan work pain out of his shoulders, down to his shoulder blades. Eventually he was so relaxed he simply couldn’t help but melt against Dan, scooting down a little so he could turn to tuck his neck under Dan’s chin. He kissed his neck, just once, carefully.

“Good?” Dan whispered. Phil nodded. Dan’s hands never stopped moving, only now they were running gently over Phil’s biceps, down to his forearms. Phil closed his eyes, focusing on how good it felt to be touched so gently, to be warm and bracketed by Dan’s solid body. He squirmed when Dan’s hands began to work over his chest. Distantly, he realized he was getting hard. There was no urgency to the desire now shivering through him though. Dan’s fingers felt golden, shimmering warmth trailing behind their touch. Dan scraped a nail against Phil’s nipple, which had hardened at some point. Phil exhaled hard and twitched. Dan adjusted himself behind Phil, his erection hard and enticing. Phil pressed up against it a little.
“No,” Dan spoke against Phil’s temple. “Just for you right now, okay?”

Phil nodded. He kept his eyes closed, saturated in his sense of touch. Dan’s fingers were now tracing patterns over Phil’s belly, under the water. Arousal that had been almost an afterthought was waking. Dan’s hands spanned Phil’s belly, then his hip bones. His thumbs worked into the creases of Phil’s thighs. Still he didn’t touch Phil’s cock. He teased with slow touches. The smallest noise slipped from his nose when Phil tried to spread his legs, eventually taking one and draping it over the edge of the tub, arching.

“Please,” he whispered. Dan kissed Phil’s shoulder, then his neck. Finally, finally, one hand cupped Phil’s balls, rolling them just the littlest bit. Phil loved that. Loved how large Dan’s hands were, how they fit so perfectly to Phil’s body. “Stop teasing,” he begged.

“Not teasing,” Dan said, seriously. “Just going slow. I want you to enjoy this.”

“I promise,” Phil said. “I absolutely am.”

Dan’s left hand gripped Phil’s erection then, steadily, with just the right amount of pressure. Phil throbbed into the touch, and when Dan sucked a biting kiss at the apex of his shoulder and throat, he moaned. He sounded louder in the bathroom, the sloshing of water and their broken breaths the only soundtrack to his pleasure.

Phil fucking loved it like this. When Dan could make him feel so, so much, even with the simplest touch. He was moving his hand slowly, drawing an inexorable pleasure from Phil, one that tightened hot in his pelvis, that set his heart pounding. One that made him loud, that took him completely from his overtired, overthinking brain until he was nothing but a beautiful body luxuriating in someone else's care.

It seemed like forever before Dan brought him off. It was slow but never frustrating, never not enough; Dan kept him on the edge of almost orgasm for what felt like ages. When Phil slumped against him, Dan was rock hard against his back.

“You, now,” Phil managed. He was still tingling, body singing in the aftermath.

“No, love. Later. Shower now.”

Dan managed to get them to their feet even though Phil was all jelly legs and half asleep. He shuffled them into the shower and took his time washing Phil’s hair and body, making sure to massage Phil’s neck and shoulders again, in case they’d tensed too much in the tub. He kissed Phil’s shoulder where a bruise was coming up.

“C’mon then,” he said at last, shutting off the water with the flick of a wrist.

“What about you?” Phil said, gesturing at Dan’s hair.

“I showered this morning, ‘member?” Dan was drying Phil then, nudging the back of Phil’s knee so he would lift his leg. Phil balanced with a hand on the counter and let him.

“Hm,“ Dan said, touching the arch of Phil’s foot, drying his toes carefully.

“Hm, what?” Phil wanted to sit or lie down ASAP.

“What are your feelings on a pedicure?”

“Do I get to lay down for it?” Phil asked. He rarely let Dan paint his nails, mostly because he hated the smell of nail polish remover and at some point, he always needed to remove the paint. He was pliant and biddable right now, and they both knew it.

“Of course. We’ll do it on the couch in the lounge.”

Dan had thought ahead to bring Phil’s clothes, which were folded neatly on the counter. They dressed in silence, Dan slipping back into his ridiculously sexy pants. Phil might be sleepy, and Dan may have insisted that today was about pampering him, but he knew that once his brain was back online he could definitely convince Dan that getting him off was pampering for both of them.

It was a lazy afternoon. Phil squirmed through a foot massage which was somehow both ticklish and deeply satisfying, then contented himself to watch some television while Dan fussed over his toes. Phil even let him choose the color, which, once they were done, turned out to be a lovely blue-green.

“It almost reminded me of your eyes. Not that your eyes look anything like this. But how it’s almost different colors at the same time.” Dan’s little red patch was out in full force.

“Did you buy this just for me?” Phil had never seen it before. Dan shrugged. Phil kissed his cheek, just there, to cover how deeply moved he could be by such a tiny gesture. He knew he must be well and truly exhausted, for everything to be so close to the surface, to feel such a great swelling of affection for Dan over nail polish.

They lost the rest of the day to television, warm under Dan’s pimp blanket, pausing only to eat and occasionally discuss whatever tangents came to Dan’s mind when something they watched sparked an idea. Some days Dan chased these sparks of inspiration like a rabbit, running off to scribble them down in his notebook. Today he simply trusted Phil to listen.

“You doing all right?” Dan asked when Phil closed his eyes and settled his face against Dan’s chest. They were in much the same position as they’d been in the bath. “D’you need more medicine?”

Phil let himself take a few breaths, to take stock of what his body might be telling him that he hadn’t noticed. “No. My eyes are a little tired, but mostly I just good.”

“Well, then.” Phil could hear the smile in Dan’s voice.

“Don’t go getting a big head over it or anything.”

“Of course not, how could I when you’ve already got one.” Dan cracked himself up, and Phil was giggling even as he started poking Dan’s ribs where he was most ticklish.

“Truce!” Dan finally cried after they’d almost rolled themselves off the sofa, wrestling and tickling one another. Phil had a stitch from laughing. Dan’s hair was a wild mess, his cheeks and eyes bright. Phil pushed Dan’s hair off his face, enduring Dan’s eye roll, and kissed each cheek, and then Dan’s eyelids as they closed at the touch.

“Bed?” Phil whispered, lips a breath from Dan’s.

“This early? What about—”

“Bed,” he said, with gentle authority. “It’s time for more pampering.”

“You’re ready to go again already?” Dan quirked a brow.

“No, it’s your turn.” Phil stole Dan’s reply with a kiss, one that started slow and then ramped, moment to moment, breath by breath, just like Dan had with him earlier in the tub, drawing and drawing the pleasure from him by degrees. They didn’t often kiss like this, so much, anymore. Not just to kiss, not just to enjoy stolen moments that may or may not lead to sex. But Dan let him; Phil felt the very moment Dan acquiesced, when his body went lax. Phil’s hands were hooked under his shoulders, body almost fully on Dan’s. He kissed the line of Dan’s jaw, and bit his earlobe. It had been so long since he’d worn an earing, not since the Mermaids stream. Dan shuddered out a breath.

“May I?” Phil said.

Dan tilted his head, offering his neck, shivering so hard when Phil kissed it carefully that he almost stopped.

“No, no,” Dan whimpered, moving restlessly against Phil’s weight. “Please don’t stop.”

“Not too much?” Phil said, breathing against the wet patch he’d left in the wake of the last kiss. He bit then, gently.

“Yes, but it’s good, oh god,” Dan said, breathless and desperate. Phil smiled. Dan was so hard Phil could feel him against his own hip. He tried to keep still, wanting to make this go slow, so slow. But Dan was strung out from the bath; he’d never been great at being denied pleasure. Even when immediate need ebbed, they’d learned he really just stored it, a pulsing energy that came back fuller, more desperate, when the moment came.

“Bed,” Phil suggested, one last time. “I promise, soon.”

Dan’s eyes were hazy with pleasure when they fluttered open. Phil climbed off of him, running one hand up the inside of Dan’s soft, smooth thigh. He let the tip of his thumb slip under the lace of his underwear. Dan’s cock was obscenely gorgeous under it, the tip peeking over the edge of the waistband. Phil wanted, urgently, to touch him then, but knew if he did he wouldn’t stop. So he simply held his hands out for Dan, who took them trustingly and let Phil pull him off the couch. He followed Phil, hand in hand, somehow both docile but also vibrating.

The light was low, sun setting behind clouds, but it was enough to see every bit of Dan’s beautiful skin as Phil skimmed his hands up Dan’s sides to take his sweater off. Dan held his arms up obediently without speaking. He let Phil lay him out against dark sheets, moaning when Phil knelt to kiss the bones of his feet, the knob of his ankle. He breathed hard and fast when Phil bit kisses up his calves. Dan had stopped running with quarantine but kept up on his yoga. He was still flexible enough that Phil could push his leg back, tucking it against Dan’s chest so he could lick behind his knees. Dan huffed a laugh and squirmed, then got his hands in Phil’s mess of hair.

“Who’s teasing now?” His voice was low and gravely with desire.

“Not teasing,” Phil said, utterly serious, lips against the inside of Dan’s tensing thighs. “Appreciating.”

God,” Dan whined, dropping his head back. “You’ll kill me, you will.”

“You said today was a pampering day.”

“Well, you,” Dan said.

“Dan, seriously. Trust me when I say that I feel like I’m getting away with something here,” Phil said. He didn’t want to tell Dan how much he loved him like this, pliant and open and willing to follow Phil’s lead. Dan was so many delightful things in bed: demanding, bossy, a mess of need or nerves, easy to please, often full of laughter or when the need arose, quiet and intense. This was a level of vulnerability Phil didn’t often get from him.

Dan propped himself up on his elbows, watched Phil slip his thumbs back under the hem of his pants. Breathed slow and shaky when Phil kissed his way up the length of his dick, dampening the lace. He moaned, high and needy, when Phil licked the tip of his cock, tasting precome before crawling up the bed to kiss Dan once more.

“Scoot,” Phil said, cupping one hand under Dan’s ass to help direct him. He arranged Dan so he was up at the headboard, kissing his chest and biceps and hipbones almost absently as he pulled Dan’s pants off of him with a little pang of regret. They really were beautiful against Dan’s skin. He so rarely wore things like that. Phil knew Dan liked how it felt a bit naughty, a bit like a secret, how he felt sexy in a completely new way. He didn’t always want it, but when he did, Phil was his most appreciative audience.

Phil tried, he really did, to take his time like Dan had with him, to tease with his tongue. He alternated flickering kisses, long flat toungued licks, deep suction that never lasted long enough to be more than a tease. Before long though Dan was begging; not even the pretty kind, but the broken kind, fingers tight in Phil’s hair. Phil, never the most patient, could not hold out against that kind of need, so he finished him faster than he’d planned, Dan deep in his mouth, come bitter and familiar on Phil’s tongue.

“Oh my Jesus on a platter of cheese and crackers,” Dan slurred. Phil laughed against Dan’s belly. His hands were sore, almost cramped, and he realized he must have been gripping Dan’s thighs, hard. Even in the twilight cloaked room he could see the imprints of his fingers against Dan’s skin. He kissed them apologetically while Dan laughed at his cheesiness. Now that he’d come, now that he was loose in his body and Phil was loose with him, he was more his normal self, ready to poke fun at Phil, ready to accept return teasing.

“Not too bad then?” Dan said, grunting when Phil yanked him down the bed by the backs of his knees. He huffed a little when Phil draped himself gracelessly over Dan’s body, but his hand on Phil’s back was wide palmed and steady.

“You tell me,” Phil said. His eyes were slipping shut. They’d not had dinner yet but he wasn’t hungry for much more than some cuddles and another nap.

“I meant the pampering. The day.”

Phil nodded; he was about to agree, then paused. “It was nice. The pampering. Being close. But…”

“I truly am sorry,” Dan said, quietly, sincerely.

“I know. I accept your apology. Maybe next time we have a day like this though, we can start it on the right foot. Without a headache as reason even.”

“Mm, definitely. How’s your head now?”

“It’s the best,” Phil said dreamily, fingers bump, bump, bumping up the ladder of Dan’s ribs. Dan squirmed but didn’t tell him to stop.

“It really is,” Dan said and kissed the top of it. Phil smiled against Dan’s skin, thought to mention dinner, perhaps to suggest setting a timer. But dark had slipped over the room like a blanket. Dan’s scent was all around him, the steady rise and fall of his chest and the constant thumping of his heart a lovely metronome to fall into sleep to. And so he did.