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what happens in vegas (but rules were made to be broken)

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“God, I still can’t believe that you’re actually wearing that!” Yancy laughs as he drags Raleigh along through the streets of Las Vegas by the sleeve.

“Well, you didn’t exactly give me time to pack anything special!” Raleigh yelps as he stumbles along, glaring at his older brother when Yancy just laughs harder.

“That’s my little bro, alright.” Yancy shares a look with Mako, who is keeping pace on Raleigh’s other side, not a hair out of place. “Rockin’ the lumpy sweater look since he got stuffed in one at birth.”

“I am completely unsurprised.” Mako doesn’t break her stride, but the edge of her mouth quirks up just enough that Raleigh shouts, “Traitor!” at her, with the appropriate amount of flailing.

“Perhaps, but I’m a traitor who helped fund a trip to Las Vegas for your birthday.” She shrugs, then tips her head towards the theatre doors. “And it looks like the show is about to start, so maybe we should take our seats?”

Yancy doesn’t need anymore prompting, hooting as they make their way into the room. Raleigh gets a notion of plush luxury, but doesn’t have time to get more than a vague impression of the place before he’s squished into a chair (“Front row! Only the best for my brother, yeah?”) and the lights start to dim.

At first, he’s too embarrassed to do anything but stare down at his lap, because he’s at a strip show with his brother and his best friend. What is his life even? The acts are pretty amazing, though. He’d known that they would be, but there’s a difference between staring furtively at shaky bootleg camera footage when he was sixteen and had just figured out he was into boys, and being here in person ten years later, with the lights flashing and the dancers so close that he could touch them if he held his hand out.

Eventually Raleigh starts enjoying himself. The men on stage are obviously having fun with their jobs, smiling and laughing as they roll through their acts, and the rest of the audience is eating it up. By the time the entire group strips off their shirts all at once to the tune of “It’s Raining Men”, Raleigh is grinning wide and clapping with everyone else.

“And now a very special closing act!” The MC’s voice booms through the theatre as the previous performers clear out, changing over to the next song. “One of our boys is having an anniversary!”

The stage lights flip back on all at once, revealing a line of men in cowboy outfits. The person at center stage turns around slowly and as he tips his hat at the audience, Raleigh’s heart skips a beat. He recognizes this man.

“Tell me you didn’t know about this”, he hisses at Yancy as the rest of the performers start turning, throwing their hats around and moving to frame Herc Hansen on stage.

“Man, you had a picture of him stuck to the inside of your locker for months.” Yancy cackles like the traitorous cockbite that he is. “Like I couldn’t bring you for his special anniversary performance.”

“You motherfucker-!” That’s all that Raleigh manages before Herc strides to the front of the stage with a microphone.

“Who’d like to come up here and celebrate with us?”

The crowd surges to its feet, hooting and screeching, and now Raleigh knows why Yancy got them front row seats, because his brother is jumping up and down and pointing at him, screaming “IT’S HIS BIRTHDAY, HOT AUSTRALIAN DUDE! PICK HIM!”

Frantically, Raleigh tries to bat Yancy’s arms down, but it’s too late. Herc turns to look at them, and a slow smile stretches wide across his face. As the other dancers disperse off the stage and into the audience to pick out lucky ladies to come back up with them, Herc vaults off the front of the stage and lands in front of them.

“Well, how about it? Wanna come with me?”

Raleigh’s so awestruck that he can’t speak, just stands there with his eyes wide, because wow. Herc Hansen is standing right in front of him and he’s smiling. Smiling at him, Raleigh Becket, constant bachelor and king loser of the entirety of the Northwest. He’s in an outfit more fit for passing out in the hotel than being dragged out to a surprise strip show, is honestly an utter wreck of a man, but Herc Hansen is smiling at him and ... holding out his hand?

Raleigh doesn’t know what to do about that, blinking at it for a stunned half a beat before Yancy pushes him into Herc, shouting, “Yes, he wants to go! Get up, Raleigh, geez!”

Herc glances at Raleigh, who can only nod yes, cheeks flaming bright red. It seems to be good enough, because Herc laughs and takes Raleigh’s hand to lead him up the stairs back to the stage.

Things honestly sort of blur from there. He’s being taken up onto a stage by the man he crushed on in high school, and said man is just as gorgeous and charming as Raleigh had always thought he’d be. Concentrating on breathing and not falling over his feet is as much of a challenge as Raleigh’s brain can handle, and that’s before they get up onstage, under the blinding lights. When those kick on, Raleigh is totally and completely lost.

“Have a seat.” Herc’s laugh rumbles in Raleigh’s ear as the man gestures towards the chair that apparently was their destination all along. The other audience members are all sitting down, so Raleigh smiles nervously and takes a seat as well, trying to ignore the rushing in his ears. He can do this. He’s not twelve. He can be a good audience participant and not pass out in a sweaty puddle because the boy he likes is touching his hand.

The music ratchets up and Herc starts circling the chair, tugging at his neck-kerchief. It’s only then that Raleigh actually understands what it means to be up on stage, sitting in a chair.

Cancel the last thought about not fainting. There’s a difference between hand holding and being the sole focus of attention of an extremely handsome man who is stripping off his clothes to the bass beat of “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy”. Raleigh tries focussing on part of the picture, rather than the whole experience, to save his dignity, but that doesn’t help much.

There is no good place to look.

Herc is unbuttoning his shirt and letting it slide down his shoulders, revealing the broad expanse of his back. If Raleigh tears his gaze away from the play of muscles as he flexes his arms, his eyes end up on the spray of freckles on the tops of his shoulders, which, nope, also not safe. So his eyes skitter away, but they just slide down the curve of his back, and fuck, Raleigh is going to die, and the cause of death is going to be Herc Hansen’s ass clad in tight leather chaps.

In the extraordinary case that he survives, Raleigh is going to absolutely kill Yancy when this is done. Just. Murder him forever and completely, because he’s stuck up here in a rickety plastic chair while Herc Hansen is dancing around him, and Raleigh thinks that he might just come in his pants right here, in front of everyone. If he does, he’s going to have to run into traffic, shitdamn and every expletive he can think of- oh lord.

The music swells and all thoughts blow right out of Raleigh’s head, because Herc has just straddled his lap in nothing but a very tight pair of briefs and a battered cowboy hat. A gasp escapes his mouth as the man braces his hands on Raleigh’s chest and moves. No human should be able to roll their spine like that. It’s... he must be made of water, only he’s heavy and solid in Raleigh’s lap, and maybe Raleigh blacks out a little. Honestly, he can’t be sure. Could you?

What he does remember clearly is that when the song comes to an end with a deafening roar of bass, Herc rises off of his lap, and before Raleigh can start to stand, the man puts a hand on his shoulder and leans in. He murmurs, “Think you need this more than I do.” and yanks his hat from where it’s hanging from his neck, shoving it into Raleigh’s lap as the lights dim.

It takes a moment for Raleigh to connect the audience’s startled laughter with the headgear covering his crotch, but when he figures it out, he goes even redder. He manages to stutter a “Thank you” before he stumbles back to his seat with the guidance of the stage-hands.

He doesn’t realize how tightly his hands are clenched around the thing until Yancy tries to steal it from him during the announcer’s “That’s all folks!” speech.

“No!” Raleigh hisses as the theatre lights start to brighten. He kicks Yancy in the shin hard enough that his brother actually doubles over in his chair.

“Shit!” Yancy rubs at his leg and shoots Raleigh a betrayed look. In other circumstances, maybe Raleigh would apologize. Right now, though, he curls his arms around the hat and glares right back.

“It’s mine.” He glares as the audience starts milling around them, leaving now that the show is done. Yancy’s eyes flick down to the hat, then back to Raleigh’s expression. Something there must show him how strongly Raleigh feels about this souvenir, because Yancy huffs and holds his hands up, defeated.

“Fine. You can keep it… for now.”

If he were really put out, he wouldn’t be smiling, but Raleigh still locks the strap of the hat around his wrist, just in case Yancy makes a grab for it while they’re leaving the theatre.

He keeps it tight in his hands all the way into the lobby of the hotel, and only loosens his grip when Mako props her hands on her hips and asks, “So, are you going to keep that or give it back to its owner?”

“I. Uh.” Raleigh tips his head to the side, frowning. “He gave it to me, didn’t he?”

“To keep, or to borrow?”, Mako asks. “It looks a little too well-loved to be a simple prop, doesn’t it?”

Raleigh turns the hat over in his hands, really looking at it for the first time. It does look a bit more battered than a one-time use hat should be.

“I guess it does.”

A quick check of the inner lining reveals a picture of a young boy with his arms wrapped around a dog, and that pretty much settles things.

“Yeah, I’d better go give this back.”

He feels a little down about that, but quickly shakes that off when Yancy jumps on him, throwing an arm around his shoulder and leaning enough of his weight that Raleigh stumbles.

“Going for a little backstage action, huh?” He pushes his fist out in Raleigh’s face, waiting for a bump. “Right on!”

“Oh my god, do you have to make everything in my life five times more embarrassing than it should be?” Raleigh wiggles out from under Yancy’s arm, rubbing at his face.

“It usually works out in your favour! I mean, who’s got a perfect excuse to go visit Mr. Dreamboat after getting a hot lap dance, huh?” Yancy settles for ruffling Raleigh’s hair instead of fistbumping. “C’mon, let’s go! We’re in Vegas, right? Gotta have all the adventures we can get!”

Raleigh can go have adventures.” Mako intervenes, slipping between them and grabbing Yancy by the ear with all the smooth grace that Raleigh loves her for. “We have a charity dinner to attend on behalf of the company.”

“What?” The expression on Yancy’s face is almost worth all the humiliation Raleigh has suffered today. “But Mako! Vegas adventures! With my li’l bro!”

Mako rolls her eyes. “If it makes you feel better, the dinner is a buffet. There will be prime rib and lobster tail to eat in between charming new clients.”

Yancy’s protests halt mid-sentence. “Well then!” He straightens up and hooks his arm around Mako’s. “Good luck, Rals! The siren call of food awaits us!”

As Yancy starts walking off, Mako looks over her shoulder and winks at Raleigh. He mouths a silent “Thank you” back at her. She must have planned this to give Raleigh space to recover after the show. He definitely would have needed some Yancy-free time even without the Herc Hansen thing.

Which he still needs to take care of, actually.

Raleigh looks down at the hat hanging from his wrist and sighs heavily. Might as well get this over with sooner than later, right?

He turns around to start walking and immediately gets bowled over by a woman in a bright Hawaiian-print dress.

“Oh!”

Getting knocked over is much less of a shock than the splatter of cold liquid over his face and neck from the woman’s drink.

“I’m so sorry!” The woman starts wiping at Raleigh’s face with her hands, obviously more than a little tipsy. Raleigh waves her off and helps stand the both of them up, mentally thanking the powers that be for the fact that the hat stayed dry even if he didn’t.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m fine! Just my sweater, and that’ll come out in the wash.”

He strips the sweater off and wipes his face dry, then holds his arms out with a “Ta da!” to prove it.

“Oh!” The woman blushes and waves at her face. “Well. Alright then!”

She seems a bit stunned (definitely a bit too much to drink), so Raleigh hands her off to her giggling friends, and makes a break for it. He’s half-way back to the theatre when he realizes that he probably should have gone back to the room to change, but… well. He’d had a tank on under his sweater, and he’s already on his way to give this hat back. If he goes to change, he’ll probably lose his nerve. Better to just go get this over with, and if he looks even worse than he did at the show, it’s not like he can ruin an already bad impression.

Right?

Getting around backstage isn’t nearly as hard as Raleigh thought it might be. The first person who sees him shoves a heavy box into his arms with an “Oh hey, can you get this to props for me?” and a slap on the back, then wanders off. Confused, Raleigh stares down at the box, then shrugs and shuffles off to figure out where “Props” is. There are worse things than getting confused for a stagehand when you're sneaking into a theatre, after all.

It's not that bad; he only sort of breaks a sweat when the manager asks him to heave some boxes up onto a shelf, and doing that earns him directions to the performers' area.

If he wasn't rumpled before the heavy lifting, though, he definitely is now.

Raleigh shuffles at the door labelled "Hansen", biting his lip and counting down to get up the balls to knock.

Three.

Two.

One.

==

Herc’s just finished washing up when he hears the knocking on the door.

“Coming!”

He finishes pulling on a shirt as he goes to get it, expecting to find one of the boys coming around to rib him about being an old man one last time before leaving. Instead, when he swings the door open, there’s an unfamiliar face. Judging by the arms on him, he’s a stagehand of some kind. Or at least, that’s what Herc assumes before the guy starts talking.

“Uh, so I don’t know if you really remember me, or if it’s important, but you lent this to me at the show?”

That’s when Herc’s eyes jerk up from the guy’s pecs to his face and he actually recognizes this kid as the one he pulled up on stage not half an hour ago.

“Oh! Yeah, I did, ah…?” He runs a hand through his still-damp hair, letting the question of the kid’s name help him stall for time to collect himself. The guy had been about five hundred shades of frumpy nerd in the theatre, but now that he’s lost the sweater and got a healthy glow in his cheeks, he looks… really good. Exactly like Herc’s type, actually, if he were being honest with himself.

It’s a little bit of a shock.

“Raleigh.” The guy smiles, but the expression is dulled by the tension in his shoulders as he shifts his weight from one foot to the other. “I just... I found this in the hat, and figured that you might want this back, is all?”

Herc cocks his head, then sees the corner of a picture peeking out from inside the hatband and wow, he hadn’t realized he’d been wearing his real hat tonight. Someone in wardrobe must have had a mix up. “Yeah, I do.” He looks up and flashes Raleigh a smile. “Thanks for bringing it back.”

“No problem! It’s nice to meet you again!” Raleigh smacks himself in the face. “I mean, this wasn’t an excuse to be a creepy stalker or anything, I just. You know what I mean, I think.”

“Yeah, I do.” Herc glances down the hall, then beckons the guy into his room, trying a grin on for size. “Why don’t we talk inside? Since I’m guessing you snuck in here, hm?”

Colour flushes high in Raleigh’s cheeks. “You definitely guessed right.” He rubs at the back of his neck as he walks in, letting Herc shut the door. “Most people who saw me just sort of assumed I was a stagehand or something, so it wasn’t really hard to get in?”

Herc lets his eyes travel from Raleigh’s feet to his head in an unsubtle once over, then raises an eyebrow. “No idea how they thought that.”

Raleigh pauses in the middle of untangling the hat-string from his wrist to look down at himself. His blush spreads down his face and neck as he scuffs at the floor. “Yeah, I guess the outfit doesn’t do much for me.”

“Think the muscles do a bit more, though.” It’s funny how the guy seems shocked every time he gets complimented. Herc’s not used to that kind of person, not in his line of work, and it intrigues him. His eyes flick to the mini-fridge in the corner of the room. “You know what? I’m thirsty. You wanna beer?”

“I, um...”

Before Raleigh can really answer, Herc has already pulled a pair of longnecks out. He holds one against the edge of the table and definitely doesn’t show off or anything when he smacks his fist on the top to pop the cap off before offering it to Raleigh with a grin.

“C’mon. I like having a cold one after the show to wind down, but I hate drinking alone.” He wiggles the bottle in Raleigh’s direction. “Join me?”

“Sure…” Raleigh takes the beer, then watches as Herc opens the second bottle using the same trick as before. “Wow, where did you learn to do that?”

“Mm, here and there. Sometimes you don’t have a bottle-opener on you, y’know?” Herc takes a drink, then flops down into a chair with a happy sigh before gesturing at Raleigh to take a seat. He wasn’t lying about liking a cold one after a show. “That hits the spot.”

After he sits down, Raleigh fiddles with his bottle for a second, then blurts, "I don’t really do this often. Or, um. Ever."

“Drink beer?” Herc frowns, confused. Did he just force alcohol on a non-drinker?

“Oh! No, I drink!” Raleigh sips from his bottle, as if to prove it. “No, I just mean I don’t go up on stage or. Perform. In front of people.”

Herc laughs, half from relief, but also just because Raleigh looks like he’s worried he might have offended Herc with that revelation. “Really? Because you were a natural up there.”

“That’s because all I had to do was sit there.” Raleigh grins and gestures nervously. "Last time anyone put me on stage, I peed myself. Grade five Christmas pageant. I was a wise man.”

He pauses, then takes a deep swig from his bottle.

“I probably, um. Shouldn't be telling you that. I mean, who'd ever want to know about that stuff?” He rubs at his face with his free hand, ruffling his bangs up even more than they already are. “Sorry."

“Eh, it's fine. We all do stupid shit when we're young. And hey, you didn’t embarrass yourself today, so that’s improvement, right?" Herc winks, then spots the clock. “Damn. If anyone knocks on the door, just ignore them. Probably my, uh… Hm."

He grabs his phone from his pocket and sends a text right away (“finding my own way home tonight dont wait for me”) so that he doesn’t forget. Wouldn’t do to be interrupted mid-flirt by his irate ginger son.

Raleigh asks, "Did something happen?"

"Just letting the guy I carpool with know to get home on his own."

"Damn, am I making you late?"

Herc flips his hand when Raleigh straightens up with a worried expression on his face. “Nah, don’t worry about it. I don’t mind staying a little. Good company's rare in my line of work."

He holds his beer up in a sort of "cheers" salute, and Raleigh responds in kind.

“I understand.” He smiles and tips his head down as he adds, “I mean, I’m sort of a lawyer, so the lack of good company thing is. I get that."

"Yeah?” Herc leans forward, elbows braced on his knees. “How can you be sort of a lawyer? Thought you either were or you weren't?"

“It’s a long story?”

“I’ve got a lot of beer still.” Herc shakes his bottle, and Raleigh smiles.

“Well, I was supposed to be an engineer way back when. Stuff happened, though, and it ended up being better for me to go into law school instead…” He trails off for a moment, lost in thought, then shakes his head. “It worked out pretty well, though! My partner Mako’s really smart, a lot more than I would've been in her position."

“Partner?”

Any of Herc’s worries about Raleigh being attached are blown away when Raleigh says, "Yeah! She and my brother Yancy run our business together. It works really well, because it's like my little sister and my big brother and me all working together like one big family type thing, you know? It's pretty fun."

He looks so happy that Herc can’t help but smile back at him.

“So you’re a lawyer, she’s an engineer, and your brother…?”

"Takes care of the rest of the stuff."

"What’s that mean?" Herc takes a last drink, then sets his now-empty bottle down on the table as he continues to listen to Raleigh’s story.

"Well, I mean, he just does... everything, I guess?” Raleigh scratches his head and shrugs. “He finds buyers, hires employees, makes sure that we keep selling things, keeps us stocked with material and just. Yeah, pretty much everything that’s not my job or Mako’s."

"Sounds like a good guy." Herc wishes he could talk about his own brother like Raleigh’s talking about his.

"When he's running a business, yeah! “ Raleigh laughs lightly. “I mean, he also shoved me on a plane to Vegas with maybe two hours notice to pack, so he's also a little bit of an asshole."

"That turned out well, though, didn't it? The whole coming to Vegas thing?" Herc stretches as he asks, leaning up and back in his chair to get the kinks out of his back, and Raleigh chokes on his drink.

"Well, um… no, not really." He fiddles with his bottle, peeling the label off a bit more before he looks up at Herc through his lashes. “Um. So I’m. Done my drink?”

“Yeah, me too.” Herc holds a hand out for Raleigh’s bottle and purposefully lets their fingers brush as he takes it. "Lemme get that for ya.”

Raleigh doesn’t seem to get the hint. He bites his lip and starts to get up, saying, “So, um… it was nice meeting you?” as he offers his hand out.

At that point, Herc figures that subtle isn’t really going to cut it. He stands and takes Raleigh’s hand, but he doesn’t shake it. Instead, he uses it to bring himself in close and say, “You know, just because the drinks are done doesn’t mean that we have to be. Because no pressure, but I’m definitely angling to get us into bed together tonight, if you’re interested.”

Raleigh’s eyes go wide and his blush comes back full force. “I- Um… I mean, I-”

Herc stands back and holds his hands up. “If you’re not, no problem, and we’ll go our separate ways, but given what happened at the show…” He shoves his hands into his back pockets and shrugs. “I just thought I’d put it out there.”

“I’m not- I mean, I’d love to, um. I mean, not love, but. I am. Okay, um, let me. Restart.” It’s strangely endearing how he gets red all the way to the tips of his ears, then takes a deep breath. “Hooo, yeah, um. It’d be. I have a hotel room?”

“Sounds good to me.” Herc gestures toward the door. “Lead the way?”

==

They sneak out of the theatre and into the hotel through a back door, blending in pretty easily with the rest of the people wandering around the place. The entire time, Raleigh keeps sneaking glances at Herc through the corner of his eye. He can’t believe that this is happening. He’s walking back to his hotel room with possibly the hottest stripper in Vegas. And he’s not an asshole! At least, he doesn’t seem to be one.

Maybe it’s just Raleigh trying to justify his crush, but he’d been getting a good feeling from Herc ever since he met him backstage. The man hadn’t made fun of him for looking like he’d been run over by a truck several times over, or for tripping over his words like a dumb-ass kid. That puts him head and shoulders over at least the last five guys Raleigh’s dated. Although whether or not it’s because he’s just that nice or Raleigh’s taste is just that bad, well. Raleigh doesn’t want to think about that now that he’s leading the man into his room.

Herc laughs beside him as he fumbles with his card key in the door.

“You don’t have to rush, you know. Promise I won’t change my mind.”

Raleigh bites his lip as he turns the door knob. “Honestly, I’m still not sure that this isn’t a beautiful dream. I don’t want to wake up before, um. Well.” He swings the door open. “Got it!”

“Huh. Nice place.”

“Well, it was a birthday present.” Raleigh shrugs as they walk in together, and this is pretty much where his understanding of what to do stops. He can’t exactly offer Herc a drink, so...?

“Um, for the record? I haven’t slept with anyone in… Well. A while.” He scrubs at his face with a hand and worries at his lip again. “You might have to help me out.”

“Why don't we start with this," Herc is smiling as he cups Raleigh's jaw in his hand, voice rumbling low in a way that starts heat rolling in Raleigh’s chest, “And we’ll see where it takes us?”

He comes around Raleigh and kisses him. It’s an easy thing, simple, undemanding, and much too short. Raleigh makes a noise when the other man starts to pull back and leans forward to follow him, sliding a hand around his neck as their lips meet to make sure that he doesn't try to escape again. Raleigh’s tongue laps across the seam of Herc’s lips, and they part to let him lick his way in. Herc tastes like beer and his mouth is warm and inviting, and this is nothing like Raleigh ever thought it would be like in high school, but it's real and that makes it even better than anything he ever dreamed up.

When they break apart for air, Raleigh’s panting and painfully hard. He'd be embarrassed about how worked up he's gotten from a simple kiss, but Herc definitely looks a little flushed too.

“You haven’t done this in a while, my ass.”

Raleigh laughs breathlessly at Herc’s raised eyebrow.

“Well, I didn’t say I was terrible at it. Just out of practice. And kissing isn’t that hard, right? I mean, on the scale of things.”

“Or you could just have a sweet mouth.” Herc rocks his thigh in between Raleigh’s legs and Raleigh only partly manages to stifle a moan. Herc's breath is warm in his ear as the man murmurs, "I'd fucking love to have you use it on my cock, you know. Would you like that? I bet you'd like that.”

“M-maybe.” Raleigh rocks into Herc’s leg again, biting his lip to keep from moaning. “Gonna make it worth my while?”

Herc’s smile is sinful. “You got no idea.” He tugs at the hem of Raleigh’s tank. “C’mon, let’s get a little less dressed.”

“Shit, I’m not gonna say no.” Raleigh shucks his shirt and starts pulling at Herc’s clothes too. It’s addictive, that feeling of skin on skin. Now that he’s had a little contact, he wants more.

It’s hard to get someone’s clothes off, though, especially when they’re busy trying to drive you crazy with their mouth and fingers and overall sexiness.

“Overall sexiness?” Herc is leaving biting kisses at the side of Raleigh's neck, but Raleigh can feel his smile against his skin.

“I said that out loud, didn’t I? Fuck, I said that out loud.” Raleigh's face heats as he keeps trying to get his fly undone, fingers suddenly too wide and clumsy to work a simple zipper. “It’s true, though. You have this fucking… aura? Of sexy. It’s distracting. Hot, but distracting. And it’s tough enough trying to get this thing to work without you being all. Yourself.”

“Uh-huh.” Herc pushes his hands down Raleigh’s pants. “Why don’t I help you with that, then?”

“I-oh damn!” Raleigh hisses when Herc’s hand curls around his erection through his underwear. There’s just a thin layer of fabric between his hand and Raleigh’s cock, and that thought gets him hard so fast that he gets dizzy. “Oh shit fuck oh my god that is not help.”

But he's not exactly trying to push Herc's hand away. Hell, when Herc asks, “Help for you or me?”, and runs a finger down the line of Raleigh's erection, Raleigh clutches at the other man’s shoulders and bucks his hips into his hand.

“If you keep- if you keep going I’m gonna-" Herc ignores him and his fingers crawl under the waistband of Raleigh's boxers, and that's pretty much it. Raleigh gasps, "Fucking- Herc.” and comes so hard he can feel his knees buckling, because goddamnit, it has been a long time and Herc Hansen has his hand on Raleigh's cock and Raleigh is a fucking idiot.

"I'm a fucking idiot." He slurs into Herc's shoulder as he tries to catch himself. "Oh my fucking god, I wasn't supposed to come that fast. I'm a fifteen year old idiot."

"Hey, don't worry about it! It's not like that's the first time that's happened ever on the face of the planet." Herc starts shuffling back to sit down on the bed, probably because he’s supporting Raleigh’s weight on top of his own. That makes Raleigh feel even worse, and spurs him to action.

"No, don't even try to make excuses. Oh god, this is not the way I'm going to have sex with you the first time. It's not." Raleigh drops to his knee, kicking his pants away as he goes. "I'm gonna make it up to you."

"Raleigh, you really don't have to do anything-" Herc chokes when Raleigh ignores him to shove his pants down as well and pull his cock out.

"Let me try to redeem myself first before you wave me off, will you?" Raleigh rests his hands on Herc’s knees. “Spread a little wider for me?”

“You’re impossible.” Herc shakes his head, but he’s grinning. “You ballsy little bastard. Fine.”

His legs move easily under Raleigh’s touch, and Raleigh settles between them for half a second before deciding that he may as well get this done right. Without further ado, he wraps a fist around the base of Herc’s cock to keep it steady and dives down, swallowing as much as he possibly fucking can. Which is actually the entire thing, because if there’s one thing Raleigh can do, it’s suppress his gag reflex.

Fuck!” Herc draws out that word into a throaty moan, and Raleigh likes the sound of that so much that he tries it again, bobbing a few times to hear Herc growl and curse, because this is his high school fantasy right here. He’s grinning when he pulls off, and just to be cheeky, he asks, “So, should I still stop trying?”

“Ignore everything I said before you started blowing me.” Herc’s voice is definitely tinged with a hint of desperation when he claps his hands on Raleigh’s shoulders. “I’m a moron. Everyone who knows me will agree. You definitely, definitely should keep doing what you were doing. A lot.”

With their faces close like this, Raleigh is mesmerised by how the freckles on Herc's face stand out against the blush of arousal spreading over his face. He covers for himself by licking a quick kiss onto the corner of Herc’s mouth before pushing him to sit back up.

“Um, I mean, if you’re gonna ask me like that, there’s no way I can say no.”

He can still feel himself blushing, so he ducks down and licks at the underside of Herc's cock.

It's just a little flick of his tongue, really, but it elicits a low groan that rolls over him like summer sunlight. It hits him that he's the one doing this, turning Herc on with his mouth and making him moan and clutch at the sheets. The thought hits him and doesn't want to let go, just fills up his brain and he wants more of those sounds.

He lavishes attention on Herc’s erection, pulling out all the stops. He hums as he laps at the velvety head of it, pushing at the slit with the very tip of his tongue before plunging down the shaft. Distantly, he knows that his jaw is going to be sore tomorrow, but the noises that Herc is making, oh god. They're filthy and low and so fucking worth it that Raleigh knows he’s not going to regret a thing.

Herc starts shaking under Raleigh’s hands, hips jerking up to meet him in little abortive movements that tell him that the other man must be getting close. He lets go of Herc’s shaft to brace himself against his hips with both hands and suck the entire length of him down, not stopping until his nose is rubbing up against soft, sweat-damp skin. When he does, he glances up at Herc to acknowledge his cursing with a little eyebrow wiggle before swallowing around him as hard and fast as he can.

Next thing he knows, he feels Herc pushing at his head. Raleigh doesn’t know what that means and he jerks back to say, “Oh god, did I hurt y-” just in time to get hit in the face by what must be acid.

“Ow! Owowowow jeez!” He falls back on his ass, tearing up as he tries to wipe his eyes clear.

“Fuckin’ hell, tonight's just been a comedy of errors.” Herc is on the floor with him in half a moment, pulling his hand away to get a good look. “Goddamn. I was just tryin’ to give you warning to pull off if you wanted to, not put you right in the line of fire!”

Raleigh knows he’s pouting and he doesn’t have enough pride left to stop his lip from jutting out. “I thought I’d hurt you, that’s why I pulled back.”

“Shh, you did good. This was my cock up.” Herc cradles Raleigh’s jaw with his hand, and wipes at his face with the bedsheet. “That better?”

“It still stings a little…” Raleigh blinks his still-watery eye and rubs at it with the back of his hand. “I think you should kiss it better.”

That startles a laugh from Herc. “I can do that.”

He leans in and presses a chaste kiss to the ridge of Raleigh’s cheekbone, just off the corner of his eye. It’s sweet and makes Raleigh feel warm and fuzzy down in his stomach. Said warm, fuzzy feelings get a whole lot hotter when Herc follows up by licking the rest of his come off of Raleigh’s cheek with a long swipe of his tongue.

“Mm, nice and clean. How ‘bout that?”

“You didn’t exactly get me in mint condition, so that’ll probably be okay.”

They stare at each other for a moment, not quite sure what to do next, but then the edges of Raleigh’s mouth start tipping up and the corners of Herc’s eyes start crinkling, and then they’re laughing, leaning into each other and shaking helplessly as the ridiculous nature of what just happened really sinks in. Every time they think they’ve calmed down, Raleigh will say something like, “We’re fucking idiots, aren’t we?” and Herc will quip, “And idiots at fucking, too.”, and that sets off another peal of giggling.

Finally, Herc rests his head on Raleigh’s shoulder and says, “You know what? Sitting on the floor is shit.”

“Yeah, it’s not doing wonders for me either… and we do have this lovely bed right here.”

“Hmm.” Herc stands up with a groan and helps Raleigh up too, standing only just long enough to fall onto the bed together.

They end up curled up on top of the bedsheets with Raleigh’s head tucked up against Herc’s chest. It’s peaceful and somehow right, like they were meant to fit like this.

“So, you’re gonna stay for a little, right?” Raleigh yawns, sleepy now that he’s warm and comfortable. "I mean, afterglow. Perfect excuse to not move for a little bit.”

“Enabler,” Herc mutters, but he caps the scolding off with a smile. When he pulls away, it’s only to turn off the bedside light before lying down again with his arm around Raleigh, who snuggles back into him and says, “If it means I get to keep you as a pillow for a little longer? Yup, definitely an enabler.”

Herc presses his nose into Raleigh’s hair. “Well. I wasn’t planning on leaving right away, anyway.”

“Good.” Raleigh tilts his head up to kiss Herc’s chin. “That’s really good.”

They fall into silence, then, and in the darkness, all Raleigh can hear is Herc’s breathing and the steady beat of his heart. The soft, rhythmic sound settles him, and without thinking about it, he drifts to sleep.

==

When Herc wakes up, he’s alone. That’s not unusual per se, but given last night’s events, he’s a little confused about why he doesn’t have a warm body tucked into his side. He realizes a moment later that he woke up because the coffee machine in the room is hissing and spitting.

As he takes that detail in, the door to the bathroom swings open and Raleigh walks out.

“Oh, you’re awake!” If he looked good last night when he was filthy, he looks even better fresh out of the shower. Or maybe it’s just the way he’s smiling.

“Yeah.” Herc rubs at his eyes and tries to stifle a yawn. “I smelled the coffee.”

"I thought it'd be a nice thing to wake up to!” Raleigh grabs a pair of mugs from the stand by the coffeemaker and starts filling one up. “Do you want sugar or… whitener, I guess, since there’s no cream?”

He turns, and pauses when he sees Herc’s face.

“Or do you not like coffee?”

Herc loves coffee. He drinks it every morning and doesn’t feel human without it. He’s looking poleaxed because what he wants to say is “You’re perfect.” and “Let me keep you.”, and neither of those things are appropriate to say the day after you’ve met someone. Damn, he’s had crushes, but he’s never fallen this hard this fast.

“Herc?” Raleigh is still standing with a mug in hand, head cocked and vaguely worried. “Earth to Planet Hansen?”

“Yeah! I’m here. Just sleepy.” Herc shakes his head and reassures Raleigh with a smile. “Guess I need that coffee more than I thought. I drink it black, so don’t worry about sugar.”

“Okay, cool.” Raleigh comes over and pushes the mug into Herc’s hands. Herc takes a long drink, then cocks his head at the cup.

“Wow, for hotel coffee, that's actually pretty drinkable.”

“I don’t cook, but I do make coffee!” Raleigh grins as he watches Herc continue sipping. “So it’s good?”

"Yeah. Very good morning all around, actually.”

Herc squints at Raleigh, then decides what the hell, may as well make the most of this while he can, so he sets the mug aside on the bedside table as he says, “But you know what would make this even better?"

“... Breakfast?”, asks Raleigh, and apparently Herc is never going to stop finding his cluelessness endearing, because he can’t help but laugh as he grabs Raleigh by the towel and reels him in.

“Maybe that too, but I was thinking along the lines of morning-after sex, yeah?”

“Oh. Oooh. Yeah, okay.” Raleigh lets Herc pull him back down onto the bed. He’s still damp behind the ears from the shower and he smells like classy hotel shampoo and he’s perfect, and yeah, Herc’s got it bad and he doesn’t mind as much as he probably should.

What he does mind is the hammering on the door that starts just as he’s sliding Raleigh’s towel off.

“RALEIGH!”

Raleigh jerks away from Herc and hisses, “Oh god, hide.” before shoving Herc down and throwing the blankets over him.

"RALEIGH. HEY. HEY YOU UP? YOU AREN'T ANSWERING YOUR PHONE!”

“What’s going on?” whispers Herc as he shoves the covers down from his face, confused. “Who is that?”

All the blood has drained from Raleigh’s face. “That’s my brother and he can’t know you’re here, or he’ll never let me live it down and I’ll have to kill myself to escape the relentless teasing.”

“Shit, yeah, okay.” Because Herc has a brother, and he knows exactly where Raleigh is coming from. “I’ll. Be under the covers, then. Go deal with him!”

He grabs some pillows from where they were kicked onto the floor and piles them up to hide himself as Raleigh stumbles towards the door, pulling a robe out of the bathroom before he opens it. Probably to hide the beard burn all over his chest, Herc thinks with amusement.

“Geez, I’m up! What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Raleigh! Raleigh, thank god! Oh my god, Raleigh, I lost Mako. You have to help me find her!”

Raleigh’s brother sounds hoarse even when he’s not yelling. Must have had a rough night, Herc thinks.

“You lost Mako? What?”

“I lost her! We were at dinner together, but then we went to a bar to hang out and have fun, and I was chatting up this really hot redhead? And when I turned around she was gone!”

“Have you been looking for her all night?”

“... no?”

“You fucked the redhead, didn’t you?”

You know I have a thing for gingers, Raleigh!

“Okay, Yance just. Okay. First of all, yes, your thing for gingers is legendary at this point and I’m disappointed, but not surprised about your lack of self control. Second, since I’m assuming you drank a lot and slept very little, I’m gonna ask you: Have you checked Mako’s room yet? Or did you just call her, not get a reply, and come running to me?”

Raleigh sounds lovingly resigned, like a man who’s had to deal with this kind of situation many times before.

“Um.” Yancy’s tone of voice makes things obvious even to Herc.

“Yeah, I thought so.” Raleigh sighs deeply. “Look, I just got out of the shower. Go check Mako’s room and let me get dressed, and if you still can’t find her, we’ll start looking. Okay?”

“I love you, little bro.”

Herc hears shuffling and Raleigh grunting in protest, probably from an unexpected brotherly hug.

“Aw! Yance, you smell like a bar and not in a good way! Get off!”

Herc grins and peeks over his pillow fort to see Raleigh flailing around, trying to extract himself from the embrace of his brother. When Raleigh manages to get free, he shoves Yancy out of the door and shuts it behind him hard enough to slam.

“Oh my god. I’m really sorry that happened.”

Herc laughs as he digs himself out of the layers of pillows and blankets. “I don’t really mind. Wasn’t exactly hard for me to lie in bed for a couple minutes.”

“Still. I mean. Just so you know, he’s not usually this bad.” Raleigh sits on the edge of the bed, shoving his hands through his hair. His eyes keep wandering down to Herc’s mouth, as if he wants a kiss, but he's not sure if he can have one. "So, um, where does this go now?"

Herc shifts over so that he's closer to Raleigh.

“Well since he’s gone, we could go back to where we were just at?”

Raleigh laughs when Herc kisses his shoulder. "You’re really scratchy." He rubs his hand over Herc’s jaw, grinning at the rasp of skin on stubble.

Herc winces and pulls back. “Sorry, can't do much about that. Haven’t exactly had time to shave."

"Don’t apologize! I mean, it's... it's good.” Raleigh smiles shyly. “And hey, now I have beard burn to remember you by later, right?”

“I guess you could look at it that way?” Herc smooths his hand over Raleigh’s neck, where the worst of the rash from last night is starting to show, then decides to go for broke. “You could have a little more, though.”

“I- What?” Raleigh sits up to look Herc in the eye. “What do you mean by that?”

“Look, don’t take this the wrong way, because I’m not proposing marriage or anything?” Herc looks away, and he knows that there’s a blush spreading down his neck. “It’s just, even with the shit sex, we were… pretty good together, yeah?”

“Yeah…?” It’s stupid how open Raleigh’s face is. He looks like his heart is in his throat, and Herc wants to kiss him until he stops looking worried.

Instead, he forces himself to keep speaking. “And, if we did this again? Maybe, with less-shit sex... it might work even better.” Herc coughs and looks away. “So maybe we should?”

“I’d like that.” Raleigh says, grinning wide. “We should definitely do that.”

“Good.” Herc grins back, then glances over the side of the bed. “Shit, I’m gonna have to dig my phone out, aren’t I?”

"Yeah, that’s probably a good plan." Instead of moving away, though, Raleigh slides closer, covering Herc's hand with his own. “We should get our phones.”

Their faces are getting closer together and they're breaths away from kissing when banging on the door interrupts them again.

“RALEIGH, SHE’S NOT THERE! ARE YOU DRESSED YET?”

“Shiiiiit, morning after sex is just not happening is it?” Raleigh jerks away again, scrambling to collect his clothes from the floor as he shouts at the door “I’M COMING, ASSHOLE!”

Meanwhile, Herc pries himself out of bed as well and hunts through the pockets of his own pants. There should be- Ah, yes.

“What’s your number, Raleigh?”

“Umm…” Raleigh rattles it off as he’s wiggling into his pants, and Herc sends him a text.

“Alright. You got that?”

“Well, my butt buzzed, but let me just check?” Raleigh grabs his phone from his own pocket, then taps at the screen a couple times.

Herc gets a “:D” on his cellphone screen.

“I take it that’s a yes.”

“Yeah.” Raleigh pulls a jacket out of his suitcase and slings it on. “Look, I’ve gotta run. You can, um. You’re welcome to take a shower and stuff before you leave, and I’ll… see you tonight, maybe?”

“Sounds good.”

“Awesome.” Raleigh’s hand hovers over the doorknob, then he turns around and swiftly pulls Herc down for short, biting kiss.

“I’ll see you later!”

And then he’s gone and Herc’s standing there with his hand pressed to his mouth, grinning like an idiot.

“Yeah, this one’s definitely a keeper.”