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The Sea and the Sky

Chapter Text

“Please?”

“No.”

“Oh, come on! Why not?”

“Because I could spend my time doing more worthwhile things instead of watching some cheesy play.”

Carmen pushed her lips into a sulky pout, and William couldn’t help but roll his eye when she began to sniffle.

“I-is it really because you don’t want to see the play,” she asked, voice wavering as tears welled up in her eyes. “Or because you just don’t want to spend time with me?” Carmen moved a hand up to wipe away the glimmer of tears before continuing to gaze at William with wide, piteous eyes.

William wasn’t impressed. “Knock it off, Carmen. For all the years I’ve known you the crocodile tears aren’t going to work on me.” he reminded her as he absentmindedly swirled the straw of his drink.

Carmen’s face immediately dropped into a scowl. “Fine then!” She huffed and turned her head away, curly brown pigtails whipping off her shoulders from the movement. “Still, seeing it just once wouldn’t kill you, you know!”

“Maybe, but I still wouldn’t like it.” replied William before taking a sip of his drink.

It was evening; weak rays of sunlight filtered through the windows of the café and barely reached the corner booth which the two had picked to sit in. Carmen had summoned William over claiming that she had “extremely urgent matters” to discuss with him, and William, concerned, had rushed to the cafe as quickly as possible. When he got there, however, he discovered that the extremely urgent matters Carmen “desperately required help with” weren’t even worth his attention: she had brought two tickets for a play she was originally going to see with a date, but the date had bailed last-minute and now she had no one to accompany her.

Needless to say, William wasn’t happy.

However, neither was Carmen.

Carmen turned to look at him again, livid. “How do you know you won’t like it if you’ve never even seen it?! Just give it a chance William, you don’t even have to pay to watch it!” her voice lost its fire and changed to a pleading tone. “At least, do it for me?” She grabbed William’s hand off the table and clasped it between her own. “Pleeeeaaase?

William sighed; he could spend the amount of time that play would steal from him doing something much more enjoyable.

Still, if Carmen was going to be this adamant about getting him to go, he might as well just do her a favor.

He decided to give in.

“Fine, I’ll go.” he grunted. “I probably couldn’t call myself too good of a friend if I turned you down. But you owe me one.”

“Oh, thank you William!” beamed Carmen. She withdrew her grasp on William’s hand and suddenly stood up. “Now then, since everything’s been sorted out, we should head out now!”

“What, why? When does the play start?”

“Mmm, about twenty minutes from now?” answered Carmen dismissively while she grabbed her purse off of the table.

What?!


 

The theatre was much more crowded than William had expected.

Somehow the two had managed to arrive a few minutes before the play started, and William fidgeted uncomfortably as he shuffled along with the tightly-packed mass of people who were trying to squeeze through the doorway.

He had always hated crowds.

Carmen stood by at a comfortingly close distance to make sure they didn’t become separated. “Jeez, what a crowd today!” remarked Carmen. “Guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though, since the play’s already gotten pretty popular.” She glanced at William, frowning at the uneasy expression on his face. “It’s alright, William. Look, we’re almost through the doors.” she murmured before giving him a reassuring smile. She playfully nudged his arm, causing him to give a nervous smile in return. “I honestly think you’ll like the play, though, William. It’s an adaptation of the novel Mes Miserables, that one book you like so much!” noted Carmen cheerfully.

“Well, as long as they stay faithful to the story,” mumbled William. He was surprised Carmen had remembered that, seeing as she normally tended to doze off whenever he went into one of his eager, one-sided discussions about a particular historical event or piece of literature; it was nice to know that Carmen had been at least occasionally listening.

They eventually trailed into the auditorium (much to William’s relief), and the lights dimmed down as soon as they settled into their seats; the play was starting.

William began to mentally prepare himself for what he believed would be a grueling two hours.


 

Despite all of his previous objections, William actually found himself being rather attentive. The characters and storyline were accurate for the most part, and the acting and effects were enough to prevent William from spacing out. As much as he didn’t want to admit it to Carmen, seeing the play actually didn’t end up as big of a waste of time as he expected it to be.

And then, a little ways in, the emergence of a new character left him completely entranced throughout the rest of the performance.

One of the main antagonists, a seemingly cruel and sadistic aristocrat, had appeared to steal away the protagonist’s fiancé, and William’s eye widened the first time he saw him. The actor portraying him was a tall man that practically personified refinement; a wavy lock of burgundy hair elegantly framed one side of his face, and William could’ve sworn those yellow eyes that seemed to hide something sinful glanced towards him at one point, piercing through him.

William couldn’t bring himself to tear his gaze away from the man, and he watched intently, completely focused on the movement and voice of the actor before him. At the end, when the aristocrat kissed the fiancé before sacrificing himself for the sake of her happiness, William distantly wondered what a kiss from the actor would feel like before hastily dismissing the thought from his mind.

The play ended, and after all of the actors took their bows and the curtains closed the lights returned. William was still sitting in his seat until Carmen tapped him sharply on the shoulder, causing him to jump. “Hello, William? It’s time to go. The play’s already over.” teased Carmen with a mischievous twinkle in her eye that unnerved William.

“Hm, what? O-oh. Alright.”

They exited the auditorium together, and as they strolled through the main lobby William hesitated before speaking. “S-say, Carmen.”

“Yes, William?” asked Carmen expectantly.

“Are there going to be any more showings of that play?”

“Of course, William. Why do you ask?” there was a hint of amusement in Carmen’s voice.

“W-well, the play was just so good, I figured I’d want to see it multiple times, you know?”

“Oh really? And what exactly was it about the play that you liked so much?” Carmen was clearly smirking now.

“Just, well, uh, the story was very well-portrayed, and the effects were rather impressive.” explained William weakly.

“Really? That’s funny, I could’ve sworn you were more into the acting than anything.” teased Carmen. “I was looking back every now and then to check on you, and I could practically see you straighten out of your seat as soon as a certain aristocrat came on stage.” William’s ears flushed red, and Carmen grinned knowing she had hit the mark.

“F-fine, I admit I found his performance to be especially charming, but what’s wrong with that?” defended William.

“Nothing! But if you actually just want to meet the actor face-to-face, I suggest we go stagedooring instead of you spending money on the same play over and over again.”

“Stage…dooring?” questioned William.

“Here, come with me.” Carmen took William by the wrist and led him out towards the back of the theatre. “Hope you don’t mind waiting in a crowd again!”


 

Upon further explanation from Carmen, William learned that the purpose of standing by the stage doors was to wait until the actors came out and hopefully get a chance of having something signed or taking a picture with them or perhaps even striking up a few words of conversation. William wasn’t sure if waiting in yet another clustered group of people was going to be worth it, but he endured as best he could in hopes of actually meeting who he wanted to see.

As soon as the doors swung open the mob suddenly surged forward, and William found himself being pushed about by a swarm of eager fans, Carmen clinging onto him for support. Even with his height William could barely make out the cast members from the midst of numerous other people, and he started to feel dizzy as the crowd continued to push and hustle around him.

“Carmen, let’s go!” he shouted in order to be heard amongst the noise of the crowd.

“What? But we haven’t even met the guy you wanted to see yet!” protested Carmen.

“It’s fine! If I have to stay here any longer I think I’ll pass out.”

They struggled their way out from the crowd and walked back to the parking lot in silence. When they entered the lot, Carmen was the first to speak:

“Are you sure you’re okay with just leaving?”

“Hm? Oh, yeah. It was my decision, after all.” He gave a small smile. “Besides, I could always just look him up online or go see the play again.”

 William chuckled, but from the way Carmen glanced at him he could tell he hadn’t done a good job of hiding his disappointment.

“Now why would you do that when you could just see the man in person?” an unexpected voice caused both of them to jump, and they turned back, startled, towards the source.

A tall man, burgundy hair and yellow eyes, smiled at them from a little ways behind and began to approach them; William felt his heart leap into his throat.

“Ah, please excuse me, it was not my intention to startle the two of you.” explained the man in the same smooth voice they had heard as he stopped to stand before them; he placed an arm out in front of him and bent into a graceful bow. “Arsene Lupin, at your service. I left the theatre early in order to attend to a few personal matters, but I recognized you as members of the audience and couldn’t help but overhear about your plight while I was preparing to depart.” He stood up from his bow, still smiling in a charming manner. “Forgive me if I heard incorrectly, but is there perhaps a specific cast member you wish to meet? I could personally request a meeting for you if you so desire.”

William stared at him, gaping, before turning to look at Carmen, then turning back to look at the man before him again.
“W-well, u-um, you see,” stuttered William, “t-that’s very nice of you to offer, but, er, well-“

“The cast member we really wanted to see was actually you.” finished Carmen.

Arsene’s eyes lit up at that. “Really? Oh, I’m absolutely flattered! I always love encountering people who are pleased with my work! Is there something you’d like? A signature, a picture, or perhaps…” he narrowed his eyes into an inviting stare that made William feel like he was suddenly wearing far too many layers of clothing.” something more? Oh, but where are my manners? I haven’t even asked for your names yet!”

“Carmen,” she beamed.

“William,” he mumbled.

“Oh, and I’ll take a picture!” chimed Carmen, waving her phone, and William wished that he possessed the same confidence Carmen did when interacting with new people.

After the picture was taken, Arsene gently took Carmen by the hand. “My fortune has certainly been blessed for such a stunning woman to take interest in my humble performance. I can only imagine how lucky the man with you must feel to simply be in your presence.” he swept down and lightly kissed her on the hand, and William couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy.

Carmen, used to men trying to hit on her, was unfazed. “Well, darling, the men who stick around me don’t tend to stay alive for long, so I’d say it’s more of a curse than a blessing.” she turned and winked at William before removing her hand from Arsene’s grasp. “This one’s a special case, though.”

Arsene straightened himself back up, a pleasant expression still on his face despite Carmen’s ominous words, and William couldn’t help but shiver at the way the man’s yellow eyes bore into his orange one. He stepped closer towards William until they were practically inches apart, and William wanted nothing more than to turn away and make a break for his car.

“Special, hm?”

“W-wait, no, that’s not what she actually meant, you see, we’re not dating or anything it’s just that we’ve been friends for so long that-” began William anxiously; he trailed off when Arsene suddenly burst into a chuckle.

“Hey, it’s quite alright! There’s no need to explain yourself to me.” assured Arsene. “I agree with your friend, though, there’s something about you that just seems really…special.” He leaned over, curiously inspecting William’s face, from his wayward silver hair and pierced ears to the eye patch and single golden eye that stared nervously back at him. “Quite alluring, in fact.”

Arsene’s face was painfully close to his, and William fervently hoped his own face wasn’t visibly flushed. Finally, Arsene pulled away, diverting his gaze to the night sky instead. “I had my fate read some time ago: it told me that I was supposed to meet someone special tonight who would change my life.” he let out a wistful sigh before smiling dolefully at William. “I wonder if I just found that person.”

William stood dumbfounded, unsure of what to say to such a portentous statement.

Arsene shrugged his shoulders. “Or if not, I at least found someone I’d like to get a coffee with sometime.” he grinned and pulled out a cellphone from his jacket. “Would you like to exchange numbers, s'il vous plait?”

If William wasn’t at a loss for words before, he certainly was now.

Thankfully, Carmen was there to help.

“Why, yes, he would love to!” exclaimed Carmen. “Just give your number to me instead, though. I’ll be sure to give it to William here once he’s… ready.”

“Certainly.”

After the two exchanged numbers Arsene turned to leave.

“Well, I must be on my way now, but it was lovely meeting you two. May our paths cross again in the future.  Adieu!” and with that, he turned and sauntered away until he disappeared from sight.

William was still standing there, unmoving, before Carmen shook his shoulder. “Hellooo, anyone home? You alright there William?”

“…What. Just. Happened?” spluttered William.

Carmen grinned. “I’ll tell you what, you’ve gone and gotten yourself a date, you sly dog!”

Chapter Text

The following morning Carmen had sent over Arsene’s number to William, and William glared at the screen of his cellphone as he deliberated over what to type. He shifted his weight into a more comfortable position, the mattress of his bed sagging beneath him, and he typed out the start of a formal greeting before deleting it. He tried a few more different greetings, some formal, some casual, only to delete those as well, and the more he typed the more dissatisfied he became. William let out a groan of frustration before tossing his phone onto the bed. He reclined back and stared up at the ceiling, thinking hard about what he should write; finally, after several more rejected concepts William came to accept that his mind had become devoid of ideas and reached for his phone again. He sat back up and wrote another message, only this time it wasn’t for Arsene.

William: Hey, Carmen.

Carmen: Yes, William? :)

William: Do you think you can help me? I can’t think of what to send him.

Carmen: What do you mean? Just send him a simple “hello”!

William: Are you sure that’s all I should write?

Carmen: You’re overthinking this William! He’s already interested in you, so all you need to do is just arrange some time you two can get together.

William: Easy for you to say! I’ve never been in a situation like this before. I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to act.

Carmen: Just be yourself!!!

Carmen: Oh, don’t forget to tell him that it’s you sending the message though.

William: …alright, I guess I’ll just go about this as naturally as I can.

 Carmen: Exactly! Just behave how you normally do, and things will work out!

Carmen: I have to go, I have a photo shoot pretty soon, but good luck! Tell me what he says later ;)

William: Okay, thanks.

Well, that wasn’t very helpful. William sighed as he switched his messages back over to Arsene’s contact, the blank screen mocking him for his lack of fortitude.

At that point, William convinced himself that he simply didn’t care anymore.

He typed a message and forced himself to send it instead of deleting it:

William: Hello Arsene, this is William. We met last night in the theatre parking lot, and I was wondering if your offer for coffee still stands?

William read over the message several times even after sending it, and he was about to put his phone away when he was surprised by an almost immediate response appearing on his screen:

Arsene: Ah, William! I certainly couldn’t forget about you, and my offer certainly still stands!

Arsene: Now, forgive me since I know this is sudden, but would you actually happen to be free this evening? I simply want to see you again as soon as possible.

William’s hands trembled in exhilaration as he typed a reply.

William: Of course. Would 6 work for you?

Arsene: Yes, that would be perfect! See you then!

Arsene had attached the café’s address to his last message; William read through the conversation again, a sort of relief settling over him now that he had overcome his apprehension, and he couldn’t help but smile to himself as he left the bed, eager to start the day.

 


 

William thought he would be the first one there since he had arrived a few minutes before the scheduled time, but Arsene was still one step ahead of him. When William arrived he saw Arsene smiling and waving at him from one of the tables placed outside of the café, already seated, and William was left amazed at how the actor even went above and beyond on punctuality. He walked over, the jitters of nervousness finally settling in his stomach and turning his legs to lead as he sat down in the chair across from Arsene.

“H-hello, Arsene.” greeted William, and he silently cursed himself for how weakly his voice came out.

“Hello, William. It’s so good to see you again!” beamed Arsene with a winsome smile on his face. “I must thank you for coming out on such a short notice; I just couldn’t wait to see you again! I hope I haven’t inconvenienced you in any way?”

“Not at all. I didn’t really have any plans since I’m not working today.” mumbled William as he tried his best to return the warmth of Arsene’s expression despite the abnormal pounding in his chest.

“It seems I was right to pick today to meet up then!” chuckled Arsene. He leaned onto the table and rested his chin on the palm of his hand, mirthful yellow eyes gazing at William. “Would you mind if I asked what your profession is?”

“W-well, I’m a deep-sea diver…” replied William absentmindedly as he stared past Arsene, his anxiety suddenly forgotten for a moment due to the strange sight that had caught his attention; at the table positioned several feet behind Arsene had sat a woman swathed in a conspicuously large amount of clothing despite the spring weather. William could barely make out her face since it was hidden behind a pair of overly large sunglasses, but locks of curly brown hair peeking out from beneath her drooping sunhat immediately gave away her identity.

“Fascinating! That’s certainly not a job you typically hear about every day!” remarked Arsene with genuine interest.
“W-well, um,” stammered William; as much as he wanted to keep talking to Arsene, the spectacle behind him was simply bothering William too much. “I’m sorry but c-could you please excuse me for a moment? I need to use the restroom.”

“But of course.”

William gave an apologetic smile before standing up, and he hurried over as casually as he could towards the unexpected visitor. He grabbed the chair that was directly across from the woman and sat down. “What are you doing here, Carmen?” He hissed.

The woman turned her head to the side as if to escape his vehement glare.

“W-whaaat? I’m sorry, I don’t know anyone whose name is Carmen. Perhaps you have mistaken me for someone else?” replied the woman, an unconvincing accent heavily slurring her words together.

“You know you’ve always been a terrible liar, right?” William leaned over and snatched the sunglasses off of her face to reveal green eyes.

“Hey, give those back!” Carmen protested, and William huffed in exasperation before returning them.

Carmen sighed as she put them away. “Alright, I’ll confess. I looked up the location of the café you told me you were going to meet at, and since you also told me what time you were going to arrive I decided I would come and make sure things turned out alright. My intentions were pure, honest!”

“Look, I appreciate your concern, but I’m not a child! Things are fine!”

“Mmhmm, so fine that you felt like talking to me instead of Arsene?”

William flushed at that.

“Thought so.”

 


 

Arsene felt content. As he flipped through the menu, pondering over what to get for William and himself, he couldn’t help but go over in his mind the things that actually went right today:

The weather was lovely, rehearsal had suddenly gotten canceled and left Arsene free for the evening, and he was even able to talk to William again.

It seemed the tarot cards were correct yet again, but there was still one small issue…

Arsene discreetly turned his head, observing the argument between William and Carmen out of the corner of his eye. They’ve been going at it for quite a while.

He turned his attention back to the menu and considered stepping in before the ruckus of chairs shuffling around told him they had finished.

A few more seconds and William had plopped himself back into the chair before him, panting slightly.

“That must’ve been quite the restroom break.”

“Hm? O-oh, yeah, haha.” laughed the other man nervously

“ I take it your discussion with Carmen didn’t go too well, though?”

When William didn’t respond, caught off-guard, Arsene chuckled and set the menu aside. “She’s a lovely woman, strong and caring. You can’t find friends like that too often.” He turned his head again, noting in amusement that Carmen was still there except sitting several tables further away at a location that was more covert. “However, I would like to spend a different day getting to know her better. Today, I’d like to dedicate this occasion entirely to you.” He slid a menu across the table to William, smiling at how red the other man’s face had become. So cute…

The waitress arrived and the two placed their orders (or rather, it was Arsene ordering for William since William had never been at the café before), and as the two waited  for their food Arsene decided to get a conversation going to help ease William’s anxiety.

“So, I take it you enjoy the story of Mes Miserables?”

William’s eye lit up in interest at that, his shoulders relaxing slightly. “Yeah, I’ve read through the book a few times. Er, your portrayal of Lourfeyrac was… really good.”

Arsene grinned. “I’m glad you think so! I try my best to portray his anguish which was so brilliantly depicted in the book. I must say, that author really knew what he was doing.”

“Right?”  William eagerly leaned forward, the atmosphere of tension around him quickly dissipating. “The complex social themes underlying the plights of relatable characters and—” A few seconds later and William was passionately speaking out a complete analysis of the entire story, catching Arsene off-guard at the sudden transformation from quiet and shy to excited and eager to talk.

Luckily, Arsene had always been good at conversation.

The discussion flowed smoothly after that, the two enjoying each other’s feedback on the story with William impressing Arsene by giving details that even the actor had not been aware of, and eventually the chat transitioned from the book to other areas of their lives as they poured out their own stories to each other. When William revealed to Arsene that he had lost his eye from an accident which an underwater pipe he was trying to fix suddenly burst due to a mistake he made, injuring several others as well, a pang of emotion stabbed through Arsene and he tried his best to console William, the other man awkwardly laughing it off. Arsene wondered if William was comfortable sharing that information with everyone or if only a handful of people knew; he preferred to think it was the latter.

As the two continued to talk Arsene only found himself enjoying William’s company more and more, and in his mind he thanked whatever god of fate had brought the two of them together.

Eventually the food arrived, creating a temporary pause in conversation; Arsene took a few bites of his food before wiping his mouth with a napkin:

“Oh? Hold on, you missed a spot Arsene.”

Before Arsene could even react William had leaned across the table and was wiping off the offending crumb from the corner of his mouth with his thumb. The other man leaned back and swiped his thumb across his tongue, lapping up the crumb into his mouth; a look of contemplation rested on his face as he savored the taste. “Mm, that’s pretty good. Might get that the next time we come here.” remarked William while he beamed a cheerful grin.

Arsene was frozen to the spot; a burning heat he had long-forgotten after countless times of flirting causing a light shade of pink on his face to grow into a deep, profuse blush. “A-ah, yes, of course!” stuttered Arsene, suddenly feeling foolish and awkward. His heart was beating at an alarmingly fast pace that he wasn’t at all familiar with, and he didn’t like it. He coughed and hastily took a sip of his coffee in an effort to hide his slip in demeanor only to choke, the liquid spilling out from the cup and dribbling onto his collar.

“Whoa there! Are you alright?”

“N-not to worry, I-I’m perfectly fine!” assured Arsene while he broke into a fit of coughing. Damn it! What am I doing? He looked at William again, concern apparent on the other man’s face, and Arsene could feel himself growing warmer and even more flustered.

For Arsene, the worst part was that William’s earlier gesture probably didn’t even have any underlying meaning to it. William was simply an altruistic person at heart.

William handed him a napkin and he fumbled with it before wiping the remaining coffee away, cursing himself for his clumsy movements all the while.

The waitress arrived again and Arsene paid for both of them (after much protest from William). They stood up to leave together, and as they happened to walk past the exact table Carmen was seated at Carmen gave Arsene a look of such devilish glee that it almost caused him to shiver.

When the two arrived at the parking lot Arsene stopped and turned to William; thankfully his composure had returned to him after the walk, and he could now talk to William again without tripping over his words like an imbecile. “This has been a wonderful day, William! I loved every moment of the time I spent with you, and I hope you did as well.”

“Thank you for inviting me here Arsene, and yeah, I did too.” replied William. The man gave him a warm smile that caused the actor's heart to swell. 

“Wonderful. Well, this is goodbye for now then. Adieu, dear William.”

 The actor turned to leave when a hand grasping his wrist halted him and nearly caused him to jump out of his skin.

“W-wait, Arsene…”

Arsene, hardly daring to breathe, slowly turned his head. “Y-yes, William?”

“Um… i-it’s just… sorry I know I could just ask whenever but…when do you want to have another…meeting again?”

The hand on his wrist was gone, and Arsene turned to face the other man. “William…” he took a deep breath, the pounding in his chest starting up again. “Regardless of the time, I shall drop everything I am doing whenever you desire just so I can be with you again, but there will be no ‘meeting’ next time.” He took a step towards William and steeled himself before gripping the other man’s shoulders; the wayward silver hair, the golden eye that could render Arsene helpless with a single glance, the plush cushion of his lips…

Out of all his coquettish affairs, no one else had left Arsene in such a breathless state of beautiful torment as the man before him.

“If it is fine with you, I would like for you to think of it as a ‘date’ instead.” before William could respond he swiftly kissed him on the forehead, brisk but soft, and hurried away to his car, too afraid to see the other man’s reaction.

When he entered the vehicle Arsene sat down and buried his face in his hands, the tips of his ears burning as he realized just how deeply he had fallen in love.

The cards were making a fool of him.

Chapter Text

As of late, Arsene was restless.

The actor paced back and forth in the confines of his dressing room like a caged animal, occasionally glancing up at the face of the clock hanging on the wall; the play was about to start in fifteen minutes, and Arsene was far from ready.

Usually, the actor never experienced any trouble performing and could slip flawlessly into character, but today anxiety gripped Arsene’s chest like a cold vise, draining the warmth from his hands and forcing his breathing into shallow pants. He stopped pacing for a moment and took a deep breath to try and clear his mind, but his thoughts kept flickering back to the very source of his agitation.

He already knew what was making him so nervous.

William was coming to see the play again.

The other man had requested to see him after the play was done, alone, and Arsene’s anxiety as to what William wanted to see him for had been keeping him on edge ever since.

Weeks after their first… encounter, the atmosphere between the two of them seemed to change; during their second get-together, William had acted as if the kiss had never even happened, greeting the actor with the same cheerfulness and conviviality that he had possessed during their time at the café, and Arsene, although disappointed, simply went along with it after deciding that it was for the best to put the incident behind them. They still continued to chat and laugh together being the good friends that they were, but whether it was a gaze that lingered for just a second too long on the other person, or an accidental brushing of hands against each other, there was something underlying their current relationship that made their bond slightly different from a normal, close friendship.

And whatever it was, it was frustrating Arsene to the point of near insanity.

Arsene looked up at the clock again; five minutes left, he needed to leave now. He could deal with the issue later.  Arsene took another deep breath and left the dressing room, his mind cleared but his heart still heavy as he slipped back into the role of the aristocrat tormented by love.


 

Arsene’s performance was passionate, to say the least. He had expected his worries to hinder his performance, but on the contrary they seemed to actually enhance it. The suffering of the aristocrat from agonizing, unfeasible love seemed to mingle with his own until the two were hardly distinguishable, and Arsene’s acting seemed to come about as naturally as breathing air. When the play was done the audience erupted into a roaring applause, and Arsene couldn’t help but bitterly note how unsuited he actually was for the role he was given; it was only until just recently that he fully understood the nature of the character he portrayed. Arsene flashed a dazzling smile and bowed with the rest of the performers, but the minute he stepped off the stage the smile slipped off of his face, apprehension overcoming him once again as he headed out to the theatre parking lot with a pounding heart and a fluttering stomach.


 

Usually, Arsene left with the other cast members through the stage doors to greet the crowd of people waiting for them there; he loved interacting with fans and would sometimes hang around for nearly an hour just to talk with everyone who went up to him. Today, however, Arsene made an excuse of how he was not feeling well (which wasn’t a complete lie) and left through the main entrance of the theatre instead.

When Arsene arrived at the parking lot he saw a familiar figure waiting for him underneath one of the street lights in a secluded corner, and Arsene couldn’t help but gulp.

He approached the figure.

“H-hello, William, fancy seeing you here.” greeted Arsene, a small quiver escaping from his voice. “So what was it that you wanted to discuss?”

William didn’t respond immediately. Instead, the man turned his head, avoiding eye contact. “Arsene…”

he mumbled, face partially hidden from view. “When we were at that café, what was… why did you… k…kiss me?”

There it was. The anticipated question.

Arsene was surprised that William brought it up now after so many days had already passed, but perhaps William had been trying to muster up the courage to ask all along, and Arsene had been too selfishly oblivious to notice.

Arsene breathed in deeply through his nose, his hands starting to tremble. He placed a hand on William’s shoulder and prayed that William didn’t notice the tremors. “I… thought the cause would be quite apparent, dear William.”

He gently turned the other man around so that he was facing him; a single golden eye stared widely back at him.

“I’m…quite certain that I have fallen in love with you.”

No turning back now.

The other man didn’t respond and stared blankly at him. Arsene waited anxiously for his reaction, and after a few moments passed he was shocked by the sight of a small, rueful smile appearing on William’s face along with a sorrowful, weary expression.

“A-are you sure? You could do a lot better than someone like me, you know.” the other man let out a dejected laugh that almost broke the actor’s heart.

Arsene pulled William toward him and wrapped his arms around the other man into a firm embrace, burying the side of his head into the crook of William’s neck.

“I apologize; allow me to revise what I said earlier. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever been this certain of something in my life. Perhaps it’s strange to announce this with such conviction, but I just know there is reason fate brought us together, and I hope you’re willing to figure that reason out with me.”

Arsene held William close to him, and eventually he felt the weight of a pair of arms reciprocating his embrace and clinging tightly to his back.

“Arsene…” William suddenly shrunk away, withdrawing his hands, and panic immediately shot through Arsene. He had made a mistake. William had come to the conclusion that he was disturbed by his words and now wanted to leave—

William gripped his shoulders and kissed him on the cheek.

Swift, warm, slightly chapped, and unbelievably soft.

“I… love you too.”

Arsene stood there, taking a few moments to register what had just happened, and as he stared at the bashful expression of the man before him Arsene realized that he had achieved a state of pure bliss he had never even known existed.

There was no doubt about it.

Arsene was truly, madly in love.

Before he knew it Arsene was leaning down and brushing his lips against William’s, hesitantly at first, then more confidently, the kiss becoming deeper and more passionate. Eventually he was pressing William against the streetlight and completely drowning in the sublime sensation of William’s mouth on his own. William kissed back eagerly, hands clutching Arsene’s arms; his movements were clumsy, lacking the finesse of someone like Arsene who possessed much more experience, but to Arsene it was absolute perfection.

Arsene dragged his tongue against the other man’s bottom lip, and William’s mouth slightly parted open to indicate he understood the implication. As he delved his tongue into the other man’s mouth William let out a moan of pleasure that caused Arsene to burn even hotter, and his movements grew more and more frenzied as he dragged his tongue against William’s, a hazy fog overcoming his thoughts; it was only the distant chatter of some faraway pedestrians that caused him to snap back to his senses. Arsene withdrew his tongue, swiping away a thin trail of spit that had connected the two of him. William’s lips were swollen from the kissing and he was panting slightly, but the needy look of desire William was giving him made Arsene regret stopping.

“William… if you would like to continue…would you like to head to my place?”

William nodded his head, too dazed to speak, and Arsene smiled as he cupped his hand underneath William’s chin and tilted his head up so that he could kiss him on the lips again. “Alright then.”


 

The moment they had entered his apartment, Arsene had practically flung himself onto William. He pressed the other man against the wall and pinned his arms above his head, relishing the little whimpers William made as he continued where they left off. Arsene dared to go even further as he grinded his straining erection against William’s, the other man’s hips jerking forward in desperation at the contact. Arsene removed his mouth to speak:

“Let’s head to the bedroom. It will better suited for our needs.” he murmured, sparks of pleasure shooting up his spine as he continued to grind against William.

“A-ah… alright.” faltered William while his legs trembled from the stimulation.

When they entered his bedroom Arsene gently pushed William onto the bed and began unzipping the other man’s pants. He swiftly removed the garment before doing the same with the rest of William’s clothes and then proceeding to remove his own.

After Arsene was done the actor couldn’t help but gape at the sight before him; William was looking at him almost shyly, his legs slightly drawn together as if to hide himself from exposure despite already being completely naked.

“William… are you certain that this is what you want? Have you… have you done this with anyone else before?” questioned Arsene. He needed to be completely sure that William wanted this as much as he did.

“N-no, I haven’t done this before, but it’s fine. I want you to be the first.” replied William. He gave Arsene a nervous grin.

“Dear William, but are you sure-“

“Arsene,” interrupted William as he slid his arms over Arsene’s shoulders to grip the back of his neck. “I’ve already made up my mind. I don’t want it to be anyone but you.” he kissed the corner of Arsene’s mouth.

“I-if that’s what you really want,” stuttered Arsene, a sense of giddiness suddenly overwhelming him. “Then I am truly honored.”

And with that, Arsene was upon him.


 

Arsene planted a tender kiss on William’s neck before nibbling and sucking at the soft skin, earning himself a small whine from William. He left a few more dark marks on the man’s neck before trailing down to William’s chest, stopping to lay the side of his head onto the other man’s chest and listen to the steady, rhythmic thumping of his heart.

“William, when I confessed to you, why were you upset?” asked Arsene gently.

William placed his hand on Arsene’s head, fingers lightly running through the wavy locks of burgundy hair.

“I was… afraid, truthfully. Afraid that if this went any further I could end up hurting you in some way, and once I did you would hate me and leave. I guess I was overwhelmed when I thought about how you might start treating me like my coworkers do now.” The grip on his hair tightened slightly. “They never treated me quite the same after the accident. Always with some sort of resentment. Of course, I don’t blame them, seeing it was my fault that so many of them got hurt. I…I deserve it.”

Arsene flared in anger. “To Hell with them! It may be true that you caused the accident, but that doesn’t make you any less of a person! You didn’t intend for anyone to get hurt! You made a mistake like all people tend to do, and if they aren’t willing to look past that then they don’t deserve your companionship to begin with!”

“Arsene…”

“William, if you do end up hurting me, I shall make it my responsibility to properly punish you for it.” his voice suddenly possessed a deadly edge that caused William to shiver in arousal. “But as long as I can understand why you did it, I will always forgive you and continue to love you, no matter what it was.” his tone was soft again.

Arsene heard a sniffle and lifted his head off from William’s chest. He gave a warm smile as he gently wiped a tear from the corner of William’s eye with his thumb. “Okay?” he asked.

William nodded his head; he turned his head and grasped onto Arsene’s wrist as he pressed his cheek into the palm of the actor’s hand. “Okay.”

Arsene continued to smile before lowering himself again and planting a kiss on William’s chest. “Now then, where were we?”


 

Arsene pinched and twisted a nipple between his fingers while he sucked at the other one with his mouth and worried it between his teeth, playing with the sensitive nubs until they stiffened and turned red from the stimulation.

“A-ah, Arsene…” moaned William, back arching off the mattress while sparks of pleasure ran through him. The touch seemed to be intensified by the mere fact that it was Arsene doing it to him.

Arsene removed his mouth and left a trail of kisses as he traveled down.  When he reached William’s flushed and leaking cock he gripped the base and licked a long, languid stripe from the root to the tip, lapping up a small trickle of precum and causing William to whimper.  The actor’s sultry gaze seemed to burn right through him, and William wondered what his own face must look like to Arsene. Flushed and needy, he guessed.

Arsene suckled teasingly at the tip, tongue swirling around the swollen head and occasionally dipping into the slit, and William whimpered again as he tried to restrain his hips from bucking forward into the warm heat of Arsene’s mouth. The burgundy-haired man gave the head another lick before removing his mouth.

“William, are you aware of how simply divine you look at this moment?” asked Arsene as he slowly pumped William’s cock, causing William to squirm at the teasing stimulation. “In fact, I was quite convinced that I had found myself in the presence of a god.” He placed another kiss on the base of William’s cock, and William couldn’t help but shiver, his face burning even hotter at Arsene’s praise. Arsene lifted himself back up and playfully tugged at William’s ear piercing with his teeth. “If you would allow me, I would like nothing more than to spend the entire night worshipping you.” he whispered.

William didn’t reply, but the visible tremors Arsene’s words had sent down the other man’s spine gave all the permission that Arsene needed.

Arsene dragged his tongue against the shell of William’s ear before reaching over to his night stand; he pulled out from the drawer a small bottle of lube. Arsene uncapped the bottle and spilled the contents on his fingers, and while he was occupied William made a mental note to thank Carmen later for hounding him into finally confronting Arsene (“William, so help me God I will drag you to the theatre myself If I have to,” she had threatened.)

Since the accident William had never really expected anyone besides Carmen to approach him; the general public tended to avoid him because of his roguish appearance and William could more-or-less tolerate it, but then Arsene had appeared before him, reaching out to him, giving him someone else that he could talk to without enshrouding himself in a protective shell, placing his trust in him…

He needed to say it again.

“Arsene…”

“Yes, William?” asked Arsene while he brushed his slicked fingers against William’s entrance, causing William to shiver and flinch.

“M-mmm… I… love you…” he repeated; his voice was still shaky, but this time it was from pleasure rather than a lack of confidence.

Arsene paused for a moment; the flush on his face had darkened and his eyes were misty. “Oh, my dear William.” He bent down and kissed William’s neck as he pushed his fingers into the other man’s entrance; William let out a helpless whine and tried his best not to clench down. “A thousand different languages could not properly express how much I love you.” murmured Arsene while he gently pushed his fingers in and out. When Arsene brushed against his prostrate William cried out as a surge of ecstasy immediately shot up his spine. Arsene brushed against it again and again, curling his fingers and directly pressing them into the swollen bundle of nerves, and William’s hands scrabbled desperately at the mattress while Arsene played with his sweet spot.

“A-ah! Arsene!” he cried, hips rocking forward to ride the motion of Arsene’s fingers. He had never felt anything like it but was already on the verge of tipping over, tears beading at the corner of his eye as the pleasure continued to build up.

Before he was pushed over the edge Arsene removed his fingers, and William watched from a bleary eye as Arsene reached for the lube again. He grasped onto Arsene’s wrist to halt him.

“W-wait, Arsene.” William pushed himself into a sitting position and stared shyly at Arsene’s fully standing erection. “I…I want to be the one to prepare you…i-if that’s okay”

“Ah, thank you but you don’t have to do that. It won’t take long to pour out the bottle and—oh.” Arsene paused and his expression became flustered in understanding as to what William was implying. “Um...o-oh, I see, why, yes, of course, if that’s what you want to do. No need to push yourself though! Please don’t feel that you’re obligated to…” he trailed off when William lowered himself so that his lips were hovering inches above his cock.

“N-no, it’s okay, I want to do it.”

William started off slowly. He tried his best to mimic what Arsene did to him earlier, first licking at the head, and Arsene let out a moan that made William shiver while he continued to lick tentatively around the slit. He mouthed at the head before completely taking it into his mouth and starting to suck, causing Arsene to moan again as the actor’s hands gripped onto his hair for support. He continued to suck and swirl his tongue around, his movements sloppy and saliva dripping from his mouth; the growing bitter taste of cum was causing him to slightly wince, but William tried his best not to pull away.

“W-William, ahhh, you feel wonderful…please, am I permitted to go deeper?”

William hummed in approval to acknowledge Arsene’s request, and the fingers in his hair tightened as they suddenly pulled his head down onto the entire length, causing William to slightly gag when he felt the tip touch the back of his throat. He bobbed his head up and down, whimpering, while Arsene’s hands guided him through the motions; his eye was watering and he was drooling cum and saliva as he tried his best to suck on the thick length throbbing against his tongue.

“A-ah, William…oh, mon Cherie, mon Amour, my beautiful everything.” moaned Arsene. His eyes were closed and he was biting his lip as he continued to thrust himself into the heat of William’s mouth.

William continued for a while longer until Arsene suddenly pulled him off of his length, and William let a small gasp escape from his swollen lips when Arsene removed himself from William’s mouth and pushed him back onto the bed. A smirk was fixed on Arsene’s flushed face again.

“Can’t finish before we get to the main event now, can we?”

William couldn’t help but instinctively swallow despite the lingering amounts of cum in his mouth.

Arsene turned William onto his side and placed himself behind the other man so that William’s back was pressed against his chest. The actor then grappled an arm around William’s knee and lifted his leg into the air so that he was spread. He pressed the tip of his cock against William’s entrance, and the two men both moaned as Arsene slowly pushed in. When Arsene was pushed in to the hilt he started off by rocking his hips back and forth in small motions, causing William to whimper as he felt the thick length rubbing and grinding against his inner walls. Arsene’s pace only grew slightly faster, but his thrusts became deep enough to leave William seeing stars every time it brushed past his prostrate; soon William found himself gasping and crying out as Arsene began to fuck him in earnest, Arsene’s cock prodding and sliding against his sensitive prostrate at a tempo that was just enough for William to feel every inch of it and leave him a moaning mess.

“M-mmm, ah, A-Arsene! Fuck, it feels so good!”

Arsene gently kissed and nibbled at the side of William’s neck while the other man continued to cry out helplessly, tears streaming down William’s face from the onslaught of stimulation

“Shhhh, William. It’s alright.”

“Arsene, p-please, wanna cum—”

Arsene gave a particularly hard thrust directly against William’s prostrate that made William yelp, precum dribbling freely down his aching shaft, and the actor took his cock into his hand and gave him a few firm strokes that made him whine. It didn’t take long before he was practically screaming Arsene’s name as he came hard, cum shooting out in white ribbons and staining the sheets while hot waves of pleasure crashed over him. He clenched down onto Arsene’s cock while Arsene continued to stroke and thrust into him past the waves of pleasure, earning him a deep moan from the man behind him, and soon William found himself squirming and sobbing from how sensitive he felt as Arsene continued to thrust into him.

“Arsene, wait, i-it’s too much!”

“S-sorry, I just need a bit more…”

William’s hand was gripping the sheets so hard that he felt like they would tear. He only let go when he felt Arsene slow his movements, taking a moment to catch his breath, and suddenly he felt Arsene pull him up and hoist him into his lap; the new position somehow made Arsene’s cock penetrate him even deeper, and William let out a pitiful whimper as Arsene resumed thrusting in and out of his entrance.

“Arsene, I’m serious, I can’t—! I’ll cum again…”

“A-are you close?”

“Yeah…”

“Okay,” murmured Arsene into William’s ear. “Let’s cum together, then.”

Another thrust had white sparks exploding behind William’s vision as he came again with high-pitched whimpers and cum dripping sluggishly from his cock, and in the burst of ecstasy he could distantly register Arsene’s drawn-out moan behind him as he released into William.

Arsene rode out the waves of his orgasm while William continued to ride his own high, and as the last jolts of pleasure subsided the two rested there for a few moments, panting.

After their energy returned enough for words William was the first one to speak:

“That was…”

“Good?”

"Yeah...real good."

Arsene let out a weak chuckle. “I’m glad you thought so.”  He carefully pulled William off of his length, and William shivered as he felt Arsene leaving him with a soft squelch, warm rivulets of cum trickling out from his entrance.

Arsene laid an exhausted William gently onto the bed before reaching for his nightstand again for a box of tissues. He cleaned off the remaining mess from their bodies and the bed as best as he could before fatigue inevitably overwhelmed him as well. When Arsene collapsed beside William he slung an arm around the other man and pulled William closer to him.

“Would you like to stay for the night?” he murmured.

“Don’t think I have much of a choice seeing as I’m too tired to drive now.” muttered William, and Arsene smiled in content before kissing him on the forehead.

As Arsene started to doze he felt William wrap an arm around him and bury his face into his neck, and Arsene made a mental note to give a sumptuous offering to whatever god or demon had blessed him with such fortune.

The two drifted off to sleep, embracing one another.


 

“Hurry it up, you two!”

Carmen stood ahead of them impatiently tapping her foot.

“Can’t we take a break? We’ve been walking around for hours now.” groaned William.

“Oh, don’t be so dramatic! We would get there a lot quicker if you would just walk faster, you know!”

“Says the one who keeps making detours into clothing stores!”

“Couldn’t be helped, they were necessities! Besides, I picked out some lovely outfits for you as well.”

A mischievous grin appeared on Carmen’s face. “Although, if it’s always going to be like last night, those clothes won’t stay on for long when you two are around each other anyways.”

William’s ears burned at that. “C-Carmen!”

Carmen giggled. “You simply must share with me all the details later!”

It was a brilliant sunny day; Carmen had invited them to stroll around and try out a new crepe shop she had found; when the model saw that the two men had arrived in a pair she couldn’t stop grinning in triumph for the first hour.

William quickly strode over until he was standing directly in front of Carmen, glaring into her gleeful eyes.

He dropped the shopping bags he was carrying and pulled her into a hug, surprising Carmen.

“U-um, hey there, what’s wrong, William?” asked Carmen nervously as she brought an arm up to pat William on the back.

“Should’ve said this earlier, but… just wanted to say thanks, for looking out for me, and…stuff. You’re a great friend.” muttered William before pulling away.

Carmen’s eyes sparkled and she sniffled a little before tackling William and pulling him into a hug of her own. “Awww, thanks William! But you don’t have to state the obvious.” teased Carmen. She gave a sincere smile and kissed William on the cheek. “Lord knows what would happen if I left you to your own devices, although I suppose that goes the other way around too, doesn’t it?”

She cheerfully twirled around and continued to walk. “Now then, if only your boyfriend could pick up the pace as well!”

“You called?”

The two jumped when Arsene’s voice suddenly spoke from behind them.

“God, Arsene, you need to stop doing that!” exclaimed Carmen, clutching her chest.

“My apologies, but I would be a liar if I said I don’t enjoy it.” laughed Arsene.

Carmen gave a joking pout and huffed playfully before continuing to bound ahead. “I’m going forward. William, stay by your demon of a lover!”

William started to stutter a protest but stopped when he saw Arsene’s affectionate smile. He scratched the back of his neck and gave a small, bashful smile in return. Arsene outstretched his hand, and William hesitated before placing his hand into Arsene’s.

“Shouldn’t we catch up before we lose sight of her?” asked Arsene.

“It’ll be fine, she won’t actually leave us behind.” Sure enough, Carmen’s outline could be seen in the distance waiting expectantly for them.

Arsene leaned forward to kiss William’s lips, and the other man returned the gesture with such shyness and gentleness that it made the actor weak all over again.

The two smiled at each other after they were done, warm and affectionate; they entwined fingers, hands clasped firmly together, and continued to walk again.