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Evanstan Round Robin 2017

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Sebastian’s about to leave the office for the day—proper journalistic work done, edits for the article on the Children’s Monologues submitted, the usual tired exhilaration of good writing completed on time settling into his bones—when his editors-in-chief show up at his desk. Winter-themed tinsel, because his editors barrel headlong into the holiday spirit, glimmers ominously around the office door behind them.

“We need you to go on vacation for us,” Joe says, beaming. He’s wearing a shirt that says Winter’s Soldier, which is either a dramatically proclaimed love of the current season or a reference to some classic metal band Sebastian doesn’t know. Both of the heads of Marvel Worldwide Media, which includes the branch of the Marvel Lifestyle magazine for which Sebastian currently writes about travel and holiday baking and groundbreaking upcoming films and little hidden-treasure bookshops, dress like film students and consistently charm journalists, editors, photographers, publishers, and everyone else into giving their best, every day.

“I can totally do that,” Sebastian says, “how many martinis can I expense, and when can I start?” He can be himself around Joe and Anthony Russo, these days, which means being just a bit of a brat. Nothing that’ll get him in trouble—and he wouldn’t want that anyway, not really, he likes making people smile—but enough to earn a grin from both Russo brothers.

He does like making people smile. Getting to be playful’s a bonus. And he likes the way he feels when he gets to toss in comments, open up, join in the fun. He’s not shy, not really. Not once he’s comfortable, at least.

He thinks fleetingly of Chris Evans, Marvel’s sports and outdoor activities resident enthusiast writer. Chris has worked here longer than Sebastian has; has never been anything but kind, big extravagant hands and puppy-eagerness and warmth that radiates like the sun, and is dangerous as the sun too, because ever since his first day Sebastian’s wanted nothing more than to nestle closer to all that warmth—

Not comfortable. Not at all.

At least he’s figured out how to be moderately witty in editorial meetings, even if he subsequently forgets how to talk when Chris Evans claps a hand on his shoulder or praises a bit of his writing. Chris seems to approve of sassy remarks about fashion shows and tight outfits and how hard it must be to get into those, judging from enormous grins across a room. Chris occasionally even collapses into real outright full-body laughter.

Well, Sebastian is a writer. Can’t resist a good line.

Even if it never means anything. Even if Chris is only amused by him, older and tolerant of the new kid who once spilled an iced coffee on both their shoes. That’d been the first week. He hasn’t done it since, which means he’s about due. He’s always been clumsy, walking into doors and chairs and once a refrigerator. He’s hoping Chris is nowhere near the next time he’s clutching a latte.

“One martini a day.” Anthony gives him something between a poke and a pat on the shoulder. “Behave, kid.”

Sebastian closes his laptop. Bats eyelashes at them both: deliberate and teasing. “Depends on where you’re sending me. What sort of article do you want, exactly?”

Joe sighs. Theatrically.

Anthony snorts at him. Anthony’s wearing a shirt with a reindeer on it. The reindeer has twinkling lights wrapped around its antlers. Sebastian gets distracted by wondering what sort of reindeer would allow this, and whether maybe it’s an electric reindeer, or possibly magical. These musings are interrupted by Anthony’s, “Winter.”

Sebastian raises eyebrows. Points at the Starbucks coffee-cup currently occupying his desk: winter holiday colors.

“Smartass.” Anthony pokes him again. “We mean the new resort experience. Lavish, expensive, holiday-themed, glittery lights, many-starred restaurants on site, shiny toys, you’ll love it. Go write about it. Tell our readers.”

“Yes sirs,” Sebastian agrees promptly. He likes travel. He likes holidays. People getting excited, people giving gifts, people caring about each other—

His heart hops up and down a little. Sentimental, sappy, a kid at heart, someone who believes in joy? Again: sure. Sign him up.

His coffee-cup would hop up and down too, but it hasn’t mastered the art, so he just takes a sip out of it. Sharing the joy.

He adds, cheerfully, “When do you want me to go? Did you make the reservation, or do I need to?”

“About that,” Joe says.

“…what?” He’s known Joe and Anthony long enough to be suspicious. The holiday tinsel twinkles maliciously.

“Couples’ resort experience,” Anthony says. “Couples. As in two. Together.”

Sebastian stares at him. Literally wordless. No words in his head. Kind of a problem for a writer, the tinsel observes. The joy’s suspended, gone all white and blank.

“I’m not saying we want to know anything about your personal life.” Joe waves a hand.

“Just that you need someone to go with,” Anthony contributes. His jolly holiday sweater looks extra-malicious. “For the full experience. The story.”

“Um,” Sebastian says.

“Have fun,” Joe says, and they wander off.

Sebastian, still feeling thoroughly stunned and blank, stares at the office ceiling for a moment. The ceiling, being stunned as well, offers no assistance.

On autopilot, he gets up, gathers his laptop and scarf, drifts toward the exit. A stray bit of seasonal music twinkles at him from someone’s motion-sensitive desktop decoration as he goes.

Couples. A couples retreat. And of course he doesn’t mind, of course he doesn’t, their readers’ll love this piece, they’ll devour it: delight and effervescence and celebrations of closeness, mince pies and champagne and mistletoe and sleigh rides and ice skating and whatever the hell else people do at this sort of event—

He’s only—

He doesn’t have—

He hasn’t been lonely. He hasn’t been.

He thinks again about Chris Evans. About broad shoulders, and a hand holding the door for him, and gentle hovering about the chilly temperatures. About Chris asking whether Sebastian’s jacket’s warm enough, and long eyelashes, and those faintest gold-kissed freckles over fair skin, reflection of the gold of a heroic caring heart—

No. Chris is a colleague. Professional. These are daydreams. Absurd.

And Sebastian, like Chris, is a journalist. With an assignment. Work.

And Sebastian isn’t lonely.

He tells himself this with great purpose, finishes off his coffee—his fourth that evening, and he’s not proud of that—and steps into the elevator.

Which is occupied by Chris Evans.

Sebastian might let out a tiny squeak. But really: not his fault. Daydreams. Dammit.

“Hey,” Chris says, all blue and brown and holiday-spiced, soft beard and concerned muscles and cuddly red sweater and philosopher’s eyes, “you okay?”

Which is of course justified. Sebastian’s walked into an elevator and done nothing: no pushed buttons, no requests for a floor. Staring at Chris.

“Um,” he says again, because today is not feeling inclined to be his day. “How’re you?” He knows Chris has been having a difficult time with a personal-narrative story, a piece for the editorial and humanitarian causes section, all about animal shelters and the need for adoption and how every one of those animals deserves a home. He knows it’s close to home for Chris, who the last time this sort of feature ran ended up bringing home a puppy himself, and structuring the subsequent story around that love. “How’s the writing? Anything I can do to help?”

“Nah.” Chris waves a hand. Keeps on gazing at Sebastian, a little line between eyebrows. This is starting to be disconcerting. “Mostly done, just a couple tweaks with the opening and closing, you know. Tugging on heartstrings. I got this. Seriously, though, you’re lookin’ kinda tired, and it’s late, and I know you don’t really like the cold, and I, um, is there anything you need? Like, coffee or a drink or…I don’t know?”

The end comes out a question. Chris Evans is adorable.

Chris also apparently thinks he can’t be trusted to take care of himself.

“Not coffee,” Sebastian grumbles, “I’ve had—wait, how do you know I don’t like the cold? I never said that!”

“Um.” Chris goes pink. He even does this attractively. Unfair. Even the elevator thinks so, or Sebastian’s going to pretend that that’s what the noises of motion mean.

“Um,” Chris says again. “I guess…you didn’t exactly, you just said…I thought you said something about…you were talking to Mackie and you said you didn’t like days that’re all grey and kind of flat and—and I guess I thought that was—today is—oh fuck, never mind, come on, stop me talking. What did our fearless leaders want? I saw them leaving?”

Chris remembers what he’s said? Sebastian remembers the comment—Anthony Mackie, their film reviewer, is a friend, and a good one, the kind he can confide little pieces of his own occasional depression and anxiety and grey-tinted moods to. He doesn’t like endless indistinguishable numbing days, no. He doesn’t mind cold as such; he likes stylish jackets and layers and boots and seasonal coffee heating his bones.

He hadn’t known Chris’d been paying attention. Some of that heat slides along his bones now. Spiced wine and cider and brandy. Velvet and glowing.

And Chris is a friend. A fellow Marvel Media writer. The concern’s only for that. No glowing on that side. Of course not.

So he answers the question. Tells Chris about Winter, the new resort, and his assignment. “That’s not all. It’s a couples-only resort. As in I need someone to go with. For the full experience.”

Their elevator wobbles, arriving in the lobby. Neither of them moves to get out. Chris seems to be frozen in place by this statement, staring at him. Sebastian’s afraid to leave Chris so evidently shell-shocked at the mental image of himself having a romantic life, and isn’t sure what to do.

“You,” Chris gets out. “So you—you have someone? To go with? Of course you do, I mean, of course you’d have a—it’s none of my business, just tell me to shut up—”

Sebastian waves a hand, performing the rescue. Mercy for them both: he doesn’t need to hear Chris’s kindly-meant attempts to make him feel better. “No girlfriend, no boyfriend, no anything at the moment, no idea what I’m going to do—” He pauses. Hand caught mid-wave. He’s not ever made a big deal of his sexuality, but it’s not a secret; but then again he’s never outright said anything to Chris.

Chris blinks. More staring.

Sebastian, now panicking slightly, aims for flippant and breezy, concealing everything. “Why’re you asking? Do you want to come along?”

Chris Evans stares at him. The question rings with possibilities like delicate ornaments, glinting above unrevealed presents and promises.

The elevator continues to not move. This is some sort of metaphor, and Sebastian loathes it.

“No,” he tries, words to defuse a bomb on the brink, to smother the fireworks in his own heart, “never mind, forget I ever said, you don’t need to, no, please just never think about this—”

“Yes!” Chris Evans blurts out.

This time Sebastian does the staring.

Chris blushes. Fiercely. Glorious color in a corporate elevator frame. Beautiful without meaning to be: honest in every conceivable way. “Um. I mean. If you need. If you seriously were asking. For the story, I mean for the story, I’m not busy, and you need somebody to, um, to. Pretend. I can totally. Help you out. If you want. Yeah.”

Sebastian stares some more, understands that he’s staring—Chris Evans, Chris Evans blushing, Chris Evans of course blushing because Sebastian’s a moron and hasn’t understood the offer—

Right. The offer. Chris is a friend and a colleague and wants to help him out. Assistance. Pretense. Nothing more.

No reason his heart should jolt and throb and ache. No reason at all.

He starts, “You don’t have to—“

“I know I don’t,” Chris interjects, so serious and heartfelt, and if there’s anything else lurking behind that compassionate solidarity, it’s unplottable on any map, “but I’m offering. To help you out. Seb—”

“Yeah,” Sebastian says, for no identifiable reason, except he’s dreadfully afraid he knows the reason after the fact. Always a fraction too self-aware. Too self-critical. That’s him.

“I mean it,” Chris finishes, and gazes at him, kindness shining blue and oceanic and profound in that heart.

Sebastian, helpless in the tides, breathes, “Yes.”

“Yeah?”

He’s said it. He’s said it. He can’t be scared now. And Chris means it, and he can’t say no and hurt Chris— “Yes.”

And then he panics, flails, “I’ll call you—details—when and where to meet, you know—or text, or—thank you, thank you for doing this, I know you’re doing me a favor, I—I’ll talk to you tomorrow—!” and runs.

Right out the elevator doors. All the way to his car. Not away from his thumping heart, which rattles all his bones and leaves him with the image of Chris Evans gazing at him, lovely and generous and bewildered—and about to be his avowed and adoring significant other for a weekend of theoretically fabulous holiday fun.

Chapter Text

Sebastian drums his fingers on the table as he peers outside the frosted window of the Starbucks across from Marvel's office. The overhead speakers are playing an eclectic collection of holiday tunes, both classic and new, and there are bright strings of lights gaily decked on the walls. Seems like everyone's caught up in the holiday spirit. It's nice, Sebastian thinks. This time of year should be festive and bright, filled with warmth and good cheer.

There's a cranberry-nut muffin in front of him, but after waking up with the mother of all caffeine headaches this morning, he's abstaining from coffee for the foreseeable future. He tends to get hyperactive and weirdly lost in his own head when he's had too many shots of espresso, and the last thing he wants is to embarrass himself further. Especially after yesterday. Especially after he basically propositioned –

– Chris, who's opening the front door, and stepping inside, bundled in a black overcoat and soft cashmere scarf that exactly matches the sky-blue of his eyes. Chris, who's lifting his hand in a wave and heading Sebastian's way with a smile that reminds Sebastian of lazy summer days at the beach. Suddenly, the winter chill and snow-grey skies outside seem very far away.

Chris stops in front of the table, and shoves both hands in the pockets of his coat. "Uh, hey, sorry I'm late –"

"You're not, I'm early," Sebastian assures him, unable to help the fluttering of his traitorous heart at having Chris' full attention. "Been using the time to catch up on your latest article about the ongoing NFL anthem protests. It's really good," he adds, not that Chris needs the validation.

"Oh, um, thanks." Chris rocks back on his heels, a soft smile flirting around the edges of his mouth. "I didn't peg you as a football fan."

"Oh, I'm not, I mean, basketball's way more my speed, but" – but you wrote it and I'm interested in all things you – "it's more of a civil rights issue than a sports issue at this point, isn't it."

Chris just smiles wider and Sebastian's pulse hammers in response. "You're right, it is. So, uh, I'm just gonna" – he points at the counter – "you want anything? Venti quad shot gingerbread latte, right?"

Chris remembered his coffee order? Had he ordered it that many times already this season? "Um...I'm good, thanks. Actually, I'm kinda taking a bit of a coffee break," he says. "In fact, I really should apologize for yesterday, I was –"

Chris' broad shoulders slump down, and the Christmas lights behind him seem to dim in response. "Oh, is this about this – you were joking about this weekend, weren't you, you didn't mean –"

"No, what? No, I totally – I mean, unless you don't want to come –" Sebastian wouldn't blame him at all for changing his mind, in fact.

"No, I do, I..." Chris – and the lights – brighten. "I mean, I'm good with it if you are."

"I'm good with it," Sebastian replies, in what has to be the understatement of his life.

"Okay, uh, good." Chris coughs. "So...why the apology?"

"Oh, uh, for how I was acting? In the elevator. All weird and, you know, like I was some sort of space cadet." He wants to sink right into the floor just at the memory. "I was so wired I'm surprised I even managed to fall asleep last night."

"Nah, it was fine. Kinda, um, cute? Actually, that's a terrible thing to say, I'm just gonna shut up now."

"Cute certainly beats the alternative," Sebastian says, wanting nothing more than to erase the furrows between Chris' brows with his thumb.

"Yeah, I mean, there are worse things in life," Chris replies, then nods his head towards the registers. "I'll be right back."

"I'll be here," Sebastian says, and if he spends the entire time Chris is at the counter covertly admiring the way Chris' beard frames his jaw, well, he's not hurting anyone.

Chris comes back with a grande cup and a bag. "I got some peppermint bark, too, you can have a piece if you want," he says, peeling out of his coat and scarf to reveal another one of his cozy-looking sweaters, this one a festive shade of Christmas-tree green. One that hugs his arms and chest and would probably feel like heaven.

Sebastian's brain takes a second too long to reboot. "Um, I'm..." He points to his muffin. "I'm okay, thanks."

Chris takes a sip of his coffee, then leans forward, hands clasped in front of him. All sooty eyelashes and business. "So, tell me about where we're going."

"Uh, it's about ninety minutes upstate – Victorian castle, with ice skating and snowtubing, as well as a full spa and mud baths, great bars and restaurants...and apparently they throw one helluva Christmas party every Saturday night in December."

"Sounds fun." Chris breaks off a piece of his peppermint bark. "I haven't been ice-skating in years."

"Great, you can teach me," Sebastian laughs.

Chris waves a hand at him. "You'll be fine."

Sebastian thinks Chris is being rather generous about Sebastian's coordination. "So, um, do you have anyone to dogsit?"

Chris beams, his eyes going all soft like they always do whenever anyone mentions Dodger. "Yeah, my folks are happy to do it. They'll probably spend the weekend spoiling him rotten and buying even more Disney-themed chew toys."

Sebastian tries not to melt right into his seat. Chris' kid-like love of all things Disney has always been one of his more attractive qualities. "Nothing wrong with that," he says. "I can't wait until Disneyland opens the Star Wars park."

"Yeah, you a Star Wars fan?" Chris gives him a speculative look. "Han or Luke?"

"Oh Luke, for sure." He almost blurts out his crush on Mark Hamill, but thankfully, manages to control himself.

"You know you kinda look like him," Chris says. "That's a good thing, by the way."

"It is?" Sebastian's not sure what to think, honestly. Is Chris...trying to say he thinks Sebastian's...well, he has no idea.

"Yeah." Chris shrugs. "I mean, everyone's going on about how hot Han is – and he is, don't get me wrong – but there's something to be said about how Luke just wants to make the galaxy a better place."

"Yeah, that's...I agree." Of course Chris would identify with Luke – Chris is exactly the same.

"Sorry, we're here to talk about this weekend, not geek out," Chris says, and gives him an encouraging look.

"Right," Sebastian replies. Chris had a point. "So, um, you sure you don't mind being my..." Date? Plus one? What should he call it? "...partner?"

"Are you kidding, a free weekend getaway to a Victorian castle? Who wouldn't be excited?" Chris asks.

"But, I mean, are you sure you're cool with the...pretending to be a couple aspect?"

"Yeah, I mean. It'll be like being back in theatre in 9th grade." Chris points a thumb at himself. "You're looking at the Lincoln-Sudbury Funniest Actor of 1995."

"Wait, you're only a year older than me?" Sebastian leans back, stunned. Chris radiates so much Zen-like poise and confidence. So unlike himself and days like yesterday, where every small imperfection had loomed way too large. "You seem like you have your shit so much more together than me."

Chris snorts, amused. "Believe me, I am the worst adult to ever try adulting. I stay up way too late playing Call of Duty and still have no idea what most of the buttons are on my washing machine and I have literally burned water trying to heat up pasta –" He grins, self-effacing, and still the most charming thing Sebastian's ever seen. "If you're looking for a good adult role model, look up to Scarlett."

"Yeah," Sebastian agrees, "she's scarily got her shit together." Scarlett's one of their most fierce editors, and a force all unto herself. Pretty much everyone in the office lives in awe of her, Sebastian included.

"Right, I mean, she's magical. I will be like her one day, when I grow up."

Sebastian chuckles. Somehow, knowing that Chris is just as lost as he is makes him feel better. And, makes Chris just that much more attractive – not that he needs the help. "A worthy life goal. Although maybe with a wardrobe change...unless you're into pencil skirts, I don't judge," he adds, with a cheeky grin.

Chris claps his hands over his chest and lets out a loud, full-bodied laugh. One that delightfully crinkles his eyes at the corners. "Man, not for any amount of money could I rock a skirt. A kilt, maybe, sure, but that's different."

The air in the room crackles with electricity. Or maybe that's just Sebastian's synapses short-circuiting over the idea of Chris' muscular legs in a kilt. "Yeah, well...uh, hey, kilts are awesome. I was in a play in high school where my character wore one, and" – Stop talking, Sebastian, Jesus – "they're pretty freeing."

Chris pauses, his cup halfway to his lips. "Wait, you acted, too?"

"I mean, yeah, a little. It was a good way for me to perfect my American accent and, I dunno, assimilate to American life."

"You're...not American?"

Now that Sebastian thinks about it, it is kinda weird. They've both worked together for years, but there's so much they don't know about each other. This is probably the longest conversation they've ever had, actually. "No, uh, I mean, yeah, I'm an American citizen, but I was born in Romania. My mom and I, we left when I was eight, then lived in Vienna for a couple of years, then moved to New York when I was twelve."

"Wow, that's amazing," Chris replies, sounding impressed. "Do you still know it? Romanian, I mean?

"Yeah, my mom thought it was important that I still be able to speak it."

"Can you say something? In Romanian, I mean?" Chris clarifies.

"Uh...sure?" He thinks for a second about what to say – about what he really wants to say. What he's always wanted to tell Chris, from that first day. And, well, he may never get another opportunity like this. To tell Chris how he really feels. "Vreau să te sărut până când privirea ți se va încețoșa și trupul tău mi se va preda, până când tot ce vei putea simții voi fi doar eu. Vreau să te fut până când singurul trup pe care îl vei mai dorii vreodată va fi doar al meu. Vreau să mă trezesc alături de tine în fiecare dimineață și să adorm cu tine în fiecare noapte. Cred că sunt îndrăgostit de tine."

"That...wow." Chris shifts in his seat. "What did you say?"

"Um..." Sebastian gives a deliberate shrug. "Just that I was looking forward to this weekend."

"That's it?" Chris asks, his eyebrows scrunching together. "Seemed a little long for, you know."

Never let it be said that Sebastian can't deflect with the best of them. "What can I say, I'm effusive in Romanian."

Chris ducks his head and lets out a slightly high-pitched chuckle. "So, um, do you, um...wanna...rehearse?"

"Rehearse?"

"Yeah, I mean..." Chris' cheeks are a rosy shade that perfectly complement his sweater. It's almost festive. "Um, if we're gonna play a convincing couple, we should...be comfortable? With each other? So, maybe, uh, I mean, it would be kinda weird if we just showed up and didn't touch each other or kiss or –"

Kiss? Chris wants to rehearse kissing? Chris wants to rehearse kissing him? Is he still asleep? Nestled in bed dreaming about how much he wants Chris cozied next to him, soft breath fanning his hair, one of those strong arms wrapped around his waist?

Yeah, okay, Sebastian's pretty sure he needs to go breathe into a paper bag, because, fuck, now he can't stop thinking about Chris' broad hands cradling his hips or Chris pressing butterfly kisses to his neck or –

"Is that –" Chris peers at him, concern shining out of those lovely blue eyes – "not okay?"

"Uh, sure?" Sebastian offers. "If, I mean, if you're comfortable with, uh, it?"

"Yeah, I meant, just...here, let's just –" Then, Chris leans across the table and lays his lips over Sebastian's.

Sebastian’s entire being just...goes into lockdown. Meltdown. Something. All he can feel are Chris' lips – pillow-soft and coffee-bitter and fleece-warm – on his. His brain fizzles like champagne bubbles. Chris is kissing him. Chris – Chris – is kissing him. Light and slow and perfect, and Sebastian loses himself to it, rubs his lips against Chris' and savors this fragile, precious moment.

He lifts a hand to rub along the rough scratch of Chris' beard to keep him in place, tongue flicking along Chris' mouth, and has a brief glorifying moment when Chris' tongue touches his before he remembers where they are and who Chris is and that this isn't real and –

He backs away, the apology tripping out faster than his mouth can form the words. "God, I'm sorry, that was too...aggressive." He's sure he's got to be the same shade of red as Chris' coffee cup. Over the speakers, Bing Crosby's crooning about a sleighbells in the snow, the smoothness a mockery.

"No, it's..." Chris ducks his head, and gives Sebastian a bashful smile. "You're a really good ki–uh...actor. I mean...it was...nice. I mean, I know it's all pretend, but I'm okay with it."

"You..." His brain is fizzing again "...what?"

"It's just..." Chris gestures down at himself, all muscle and grace and that innate confidence he carries around like a shield. "When other – I mean, other people I've dated – they look at me and think...y'know, I mean, oh, big guy, probably a total bro –"

"Everyone thinks you're all..." Alpha isn't the right word, not with his goofily endearing jokes and sun-drenched smiles "...that you're the type to take charge."

"Yeah, exactly. And I can take care of myself, I mean, of course I can, it's just...it's nice sometimes not to? Does that even make sense? I'm not even making sense, am I?"

Sebastian's heart is pounding so fast it's threatening to leap out of his chest and onto the table. I could be that person for you, he wants to shout. Let me be that person for you. "No, it makes sense," he says aloud, then summons his most irreverent smirk. "But what I'm hearing is, you want me to be in charge this weekend."

Chris raises an eyebrow, part friendly and part challenge. "Aren't you?"

Sebastian blinks. All of a sudden, the weekend ahead shimmers with possibility and promise. This might be the only chance Sebastian is ever going to have – a few glorious days where he can pretend his late night fantasies are reality. But what if? What if?

And after all, isn't Christmas supposed to be the time for miracles?

"Guess so," he replies, and pops a piece of muffin into his mouth before he ruins it by saying anything else.

***

Chapter Text

Chris’s anticipation wakes him up hours before his alarm does. His mind is already racing: replaying that gentle and terrifying and perfect kiss from the coffee shop on a loop. There’s a whole weekend with Sebastian ahead of him. A whole weekend with his unfairly adorable and talented colleague who he’s been quietly pining for since the iced coffee incident. A whole weekend to make an ass of himself, or a whole weekend to finally make a move. A real kiss, maybe, one without the pretense of rehearsal…

Chris lies in bed and allows his mind to wander, arm slung over his eyes and a dopey grin across his lips. He’s fully naked and barely covered by one thin sheet, overly warm from the powerful gas fireplace he turned on last night.

He imagines running his fingers through Seb’s thick, fluffy hair while he licks at Seb’s plush lips. His other arm reaching behind Seb to slide down the smooth plains of his back towards the full swell of his ass, enough to fill even Chris’s large hand. Chris then remembers that Seb had agreed to be in charge this weekend, and the pure heat from that idea unfurls from Chris’ stomach making him gasp out loud and break into a sweat. Chris can almost feel Seb wrapping his elegant hand around his achingly hard…

“Oof!” Chris’s fantasies are brought to an abrupt stop as Dodger pounces excitedly into bed holding a bright green Little Mermaid leash in his mouth.
“Okay, buddy, I get it!” Chris laughs as Dodger bounces and barks expectantly, “Gimme a sec.”

Chris thanks Dodger internally as he throws on sweatpants and a matching sweatshirt. He admits that it’s probably better that he didn’t finish…that fantasy. Sebastian’s his colleague and they’re going on a fake couples retreat for work, where they will do work things and probably talk about work. He should try to be professional, and getting yourself off to thoughts about your co-worker’s mouth and hands is decidedly not professional. This isn’t a heart-warming, holiday-themed rom-com, and Sebastian isn’t going to fall for him over a cup of hot cocoa at the end. It’s an assignment.

Chris stays focused throughout the rest of the early morning. He swears. He takes Dodger out for a jog, takes a cool shower and grooms his hair and beard without thinking of Seb’s bright eyes and the adorable way they crinkle when he smiles. He packs warm and outdoorsy clothes for the weekend and throws in a Star Wars shirt, because he likes Star Wars, not because of their conversation in the coffee shop.

Sebastian had decided that they’d be driving separately to the resort. Chris had been a little disappointed and concerned that his co-worker was regretting inviting him, but Sebastian was right. Chris had to take Dodger to his folks place and would be coming from a different part of the city entirely. It didn’t logistically make any sense, but that didn’t stop Chris from fretting about coming on too strong or seeming too eager to…practice.

 

The drive to the resort isn’t excessively long, but his mind is wandering back to Sebastian anyways. Seb probably listens to the coolest, you’ve-never-heard-of-it music, and Chris can’t go a day without Disney songs and NPR. Chris currently has NPR turned up way louder than necessary and is getting simultaneously enraptured and enraged by the latest political and international news. He eventually slaps the radio off in rage.

With all distractions gone Chris finally takes a moment to take in the stunning scenery.

While New York City boasts about the bustling streets, cheerful shoppers and twinkling lights during this time of year, there is something magical about driving down a road through the forest in the winter. All the leaves have long since fallen and have been replaced by a light dusting of untouched fluffy snow.

The temperature drops as Chris leaves the area of urban heat, but the roads to the resort have been salted and are well-maintained. He still takes it slow. Keeping a watchful eye on the herd of deer he can see through the naked trees who are watching him back. How dare he interrupt the serenity of their forest?

It’s beautiful, and so relaxing. He didn’t realize how much he needed it until he feels the tension melt from his neck and shoulders.

Chris pulls into a full but quiet parking lot that runs along the long side of the…castle?! Sebastian wasn’t exaggerating in the least. It’s definitely a Victorian castle. The peaks and valleys of red on the roof and the green and white siding come together to mimic the traditional decor of the Holidays. There are actual spires, way too many chimneys, and exposed wood beams complimenting the natural surroundings. It’s tall and sprawling and wraps all the way around one side of a frozen lake. All nervous energy and fretting aside, Chris is so happy to be here. To be here with Seb.

Just as he puts the car into park he hears the buzz of a text. It’s from Seb, of course:

Are you here yet?

Before Chris can even read, process and respond to the question another, more frantic-sounding text comes through:

If you’re not, it’s totally fine… I’m a little early. Just take your time, I was just wondering : )

Chris can’t help but let out a breathy laugh. He sends back:

I’m here. In the parking lot. This place is…wow

Just moment later Sebastian pulls up to the left of him in his casually cool all-black Audi. He rolls down his passenger window and catches Chris off guard with a wide, generous smile. Seb is gesturing wildly and trying to say something. It takes Chris way too long to get the point and roll down his window so he can hear.

“Hey, uh, sorry.” Chris interrupts. Seb smiles again. If Chris has to be perpetually embarrassed the whole weekend to get him to smile like that, it would be worth it. “What are we doing first? I have a couple bags to haul in if we can stop by the room. I read that they’re really…nice.” Nice? Chris isn’t sure if he’s a writer, anymore.

“Yeah, they’re supposed to be. We’ll have to ask to take a look later, though. We don’t have a room, actually…” Seb is looking at his phone, presumably at the reservation details forwarded to him by Anthony and Joe. “Uh, follow me, I guess.”

I would follow you anywhere, Chris thinks.

Wow, that was cheesy even for him.

Wait. They don’t have a room? But Seb's window is already rolled back up and he’s backing up to leave the parking lot. So Chris follows him.

 

Seb leads him down a gravel road away from the castle and deeper into the forest. It clicks for Chris once they pass a small white cottage surrounded by trees. They have reservations for a cottage. They will be staying together in a cottage. Away from the castle, secluded in the forest. Away from prying eyes and thin walls and…

They pass two more cottages and then at least a half a mile of forest before they start to slow down in front of a small, rustic oak cabin with a large stone chimney. Chris can see a side deck and a screened in porch, all light browns and smoky greys. A solid wall of green pine trees provides the background, and there is a dusting of snow on the yard around it. Cozy is an understatement, as is romantic. It’s perfect.

Seb is already parked and jumping out of his car. Looking absolutely pleased with himself in his usual effortlessly cool outfit. Chris can’t help but to wonder if Seb chose this cottage for a reason, it has to cost more than a regular room…

Chris grabs the two bags on his passenger seat and joins Seb at the front, where Seb is already trying to unlock the door. He must’ve checked in before Chris got there.

“So we’ll look around the cottage later, just drop your stuff in the living room and change into some exercise clothes. You did bring exercise clothes, right? I mean, you look like you exercise…yep…” Seb trails off. He stops fiddling with the door and gives Chris a questioning look. “Is this alright or am I being too…pushy?”

“No…it’s great.” Chris gives him an encouraging smile. “Please don’t stop.” Seb lets out a breath that sort of sounds like a sigh and returns his attention to the door. Chris shivers.

“Where are we going?” Chris asks.

“Do you meditate?” Seb responds as he finally pushes the door open.

“Yeah, uh, sometimes. Not as much as I probably should.” Chris is still a bit confused, but he trusts Seb. He’s in charge.

“Good. They have a spa here, with guided meditation. One person was like $115 and two was $185. With that price cut it just made sense. Anyways, that’s what couples these days do, right?” Seb is rambling a bit.

“And the cottage? Is that what couples these days do, too? Or is there another reason for the seclusion?” Chris smirks.

Seb gives him a shit-eating grin and then apparently thinks better of it, “I’m going to change.”

 

They return to the castle with just enough time to make their noon appointment at the spa. They’re greeted by their instructor Mark, who has dark wavy hair splattered with grey and the most welcoming voice.

“Thank you for joining me, Mr. and Mr. Stan. I’ve got a great session planned for you both.” He seems genuinely excited. Which is probably why he looks so hurt when Chris and Sebastian go completely white at the greeting.

“Uh, we’re not married.” Chris says before he can stop himself.

“Yet!” Seb jumps in and unsubtlety grabs Chris’s hand. “Not yet. But thank you, Mark.”

Chris’s entire being is focused on Seb’s hand in his. It’s softer than he even imagined this morning. He absently follows Seb into the meditation room, focused on keeping their hands entwined as long as possible. He’s led into a dimly lit, spacious room and they both sit side by side facing Mark, crossing their legs and closing their eyes at Mark’s command.

Mark guides them through deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation and some light stretching. Chris only peeks a few times to the left to see Seb’s profile. Long eyelashes resting on his cheeks, strong jaw relaxed and untroubled and his lips slightly parted. He’s so breathtaking.

Chris eventually finds his focus and thoroughly enjoys Mark’s session. His mind feels clear and calm for the first time in…Chris isn’t sure how long, and his limbs feels loose and lighter. And Seb? He looks exactly the opposite of when he entered the elevator just the other day: joyful, relaxed and comfortable. He’s angelic. Chris reaches for his hand as they walk out and Seb doesn’t hesitate, forming a connection so they can share their post-meditation bliss.

 

When they arrive back at the cabin they both take the time to look around. There is a large room with a king sized bed, a smaller room with two twin sized beds and a kitchenette. It smells strongly of fireplace and pine wood. It’s all probably a little too much for just their short weekend here. Of course, Chris’s mom had already packed an excessive bag of treats and groceries for him to take when he arrived to drop Dodger off, so he starts to put things away in the cabinets and refrigerator while Sebastian wanders out onto the deck.

Chris also takes this chance to heat up some milk, and make two steaming mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows and chocolate jimmies. He sips one to make sure it’s perfect and takes them both outside to the deck where he finds Seb leaning on the railing an staring deeply into the forest.

“Here, I made this for you. No caffeine. Just way too much sugar.” Chris interrupts and gives a shy smile.

“Wow, uh, thank you. Where did you find hot cocoa?” Seb takes the mug and immediately lifts it to his mouth. Moaning when he takes a small sip, and diving right back in for more.

“My mom thinks everyone should pack their own groceries when they travel. It’s saves money. I think she’s just used to have to feed a huge family on vacation.” Chris laughs.

Seb giggles, and Chris thinks he could live solely on that giggle. “She’s right, though. The food and drinks definitely aren’t cheap here, luckily it’s all going on the company card, so we don’t have to worry about it!” Seb lets out an overdramatic, maniacal laugh, and Chris can help but smile at this new relaxed and dorky Seb he’s getting to see.

“Are we going to indulge, Seb?” Chris is definitely flirting now. There’s no two ways about it.

Seb stares at him for a long time after that comment. Chris is just about ready to laugh awkwardly and brush off his flirting as a bad joke when Seb takes a step closer. He’s so close and his breath smells like chocolate and he looks right in Chris’s eyes when he says, “I think we need to practice again, Chris.”

Seb brushes past him back into the cabin, and Chris freezes for a brief moment trying to comprehend what Seb had just said. He spins around and runs back inside after Seb. He is just sitting cross-legged on the small couch clutching his mug with both hands, looking so innocent.

“Do you...want to…again?” Seb asks, his earlier confidence slipping.

“Yes. Please.” He nearly hisses. Chris isn’t breathing as he sits next to Seb on the small couch.

Seb seems to regain his confidence every time Chris says please, and Seb leans his upper body over the mug in his lap and presses his lips to Chris’s. It’s more insistent than the first time, but still slow and agonizingly gentle. Seb’s lips are slightly sticky from the sugar and Chris can’t help but to lick them softly. Seb hums in agreement, and parts his lips to let Chris’s tongue in deeper. Seb licks back and sucks on Chris’s lips as he tries to pull back for a breath, and Chris goes right back in for more.

Chris is losing himself, his fantasies becoming realty so quickly after first dreaming them up that it takes his breath away and makes him dizzy. Or maybe it’s just because Seb is an amazing kisser and he’s getting lightheaded and overwhelmed with sensation. Chris is moaning. He is moaning out loud over a kiss. He can’t be ashamed, though. It’s too perfect.

Seb eventually has to put a hand on Chris’s chest and gently push him back to end the kiss. Chris slowly blinks his eyes open and Seb is smiling fondly at him, his eyes are slightly glazed over, slightly darker with…lust? Chris can only hope.

“You’re really great at that.” Seb sighs.

“Yeah, thanks. You’re…you’re really great.” Chris blushes. He doesn’t want to stop, but Seb looks like he needs something, so Chris listens.

“I need to change and we should probably go explore more. I do actually have to write an article about the resort, not just how amazing you taste.” Seb smirks. Chris is lost again at Seb’s words, his imagination running way past kissing with the way Seb’s says taste…

Snap out of it Chris!

“Oh yeah, of course. Yeah, let’s get moving.” Chris is laughing it off again, trying to break free from the spell Seb has put on him. So, maybe Seb isn’t going to fall for him over a cup of hot cocoa at the end, but that’s not stopping Chris from falling head over heels right now.

Chapter Text

“Assume I’m available anytime you have an assignment like this.” Chris said around a bite of chocolate.

Sebastian’s own mouth was preoccupied with rich, red, chocolatey-smoky wine and so instead of a response, he smiled as best he could. They’d been flirting at the cottage. Kissing. It felt good and Chris sounded (tasted) incredible and.

Well. Next time there was an assignment. Acting like they were a couple. Sebastian might have been reading things wrong. He didn’t think he was, but. Maybe. Not outside the realm of possibility.

“-Not that I’m just. Here for the trip. I’m not –I don’t want you to think I’m only here because of the trip. I mean, I am, because you invited me, but that’s not the only reason I’m here. I like you, I like your company, too. Um. –I’m,” Chris looked around frantically and grabbed his next glass of wine set up for the tasting, “drinking my wine. Yes. Not talking.”

He’d spoken so fast, Sebastian hadn’t had a chance to interject. Sebastian glanced around, to the few other tables of couples (not pretending to be couples) at the tasting. The space was cozy and inviting without being cramped, the tables a dark, thick grained wood. There was a fireplace in the far corner and each table was set with a series of glasses, bottles, and a slate with assorted (fancy) chocolates.

Sebastian was reasonably sure that if they hadn’t been on their third glass of the tasting, Chris might not have been as willing to say what he had. Maybe. He was shy, sometimes, after all. There wasn’t all that much wine in the glasses, to be fair, and Sebastian was having some difficulty restraining himself from glancing to his fingertips with concern and muttering I think it’s effecting me. Chris liked Star Wars and Sebastian was tempted to make a Lord of the Rings joke. Just to see if Chris was Really Super Perfect.  

Sebastian was completely sure that if it hadn’t been for Chris’ bumbling and the wine, he’d never have reached over, taken Chris’ hand, and run his thumb in what he hoped was a reassuring gesture over Chris’ knuckles.

“I like you, too. No acting required.” Sebastian ventured. And then blushed (to his toes. He could feel it).

***

Chris swallowed his sip of wine so hard he nearly set off a coughing fit. Easy, Evans. Without taking his eyes off Chris (were either of them blinking?) Sebastian reached blindly for a chocolate and pressed it lightly against Chris’ lips.

Chris had the opportunity to think about what might happen next. He didn’t take it. Instead he tasted dark chocolate and subtle spice and then warm tang of skin. He made sure none of the chocolate had left melted traces on Sebastian’s fingertips.

Sebastian was getting closer.

“Newlyweds?” Came a voice from somewhere behind Chris. Sebastian leaned out of Chris’ space the slightest bit. (Too far, too far.)

“Oh, ah. No. –Soon, though.” Sebastian’s smile was stretched too tight and Chris shifted his hand under Sebastian’s to run his fingertips against Sebastian’s palm.

There. Sebastian’s smile turned into something genuine and he inconspicuously closed his hand around Chris’ wrist, gently but firmly anchoring him in place.

Chris turned to see the person that belonged to the interruption and also to (maybe, hopefully) mask a shiver that ran down his spine. 

“Next month, actually. Starting a new year, starting a new chapter.” He chipped in. “This is our pre-wedding honeymoon.”

“Oh how lovely!” The tasting host had overheard on her round to refill water glasses and bring the second and final round of wines and chocolates to each table. “How did you know?”

“Excuse me?” 

She turned her smile on Sebastian at his question. “How did you know he was The One?” She leaned in the slightest bit closer and lowered her voice. “My favorite part of the couples getaways are the stories.”

“Oh! Right.” Sebastian tossed a mischievous smile Chris’ way. “We met at work. He’s an amazing writer and I’d always admired his integrity. But I knew for sure the day he brought me soup and tea. I was recovering from a cold and he stopped by my desk to drop off food and wish me well.”

Chris took a deep gulp of his water. That wasn’t a fabrication. It also wasn’t recent. Two years ago, Sebastian had had a cold. Had had pneumonia. He’d been out for three weeks before Chris saw him in the office again looking wan and thin and cold and Chris was pretty sure he shouldn’t have been anyplace but at home still recovering. So he’d brought him soup (his mother’s recipe, his favorite, and the easiest to make) and Sebastian’s favorite tea (hibiscus, only a little sugar) and maybe also some Kleenex and well-wishes.

Sebastian turned his gaze to Chris, smiling and cheeks only a little pink. The host, Janice, her nametag read, turned to Chris. Expectant.

“Oh. I –um.” Chris knew. He knew the exact moment he’d fallen in love with Sebastian and he was so sure Sebastian wouldn’t remember it, he found himself untying his tongue from the knot it was in. “He handed me a coffee cup. I, uh. I’d lost mine. Or I thought it was lost. And I’m making coffee and it’d been months since I’d seen the mug and I’d been making due with another one, and Sebastian was at the machine first, already pouring a cup. And he turned around and saw me and handed me the cup he’d made for himself and said ‘Here, I’ll make myself another one, this seems like a mug you’d like anyway.’ And I did. It was the mug I’d been looking for."

It’d been washed and shoved to the very back of the top shelf in the communal kitchen and he hadn’t seen it in his search it was set so far back. It was grey with cartoon dog heads all over it and it’d been a gift from his mother and he loved it. Sebastian had had no idea and Chris had never told him. He’d meant to, but it always seemed silly, when he thought about it too much (which was usually). 

Janice aww’ed and insisted they were adorable and got back to her rounds of refilling glasses.

Sebastian was staring at Chris with an unreadable expression, eyes soft and a tiny furrow between his brow, one hand hovering by his water glass, movement forgotten.

“What?” 

Sebastian shook his head. “Nothing. I – nothing. Just. Looking forward to later on. Dinner and dancing, at that Christmas party they throw.”

“You like to dance?” Chris felt his smile stretch his cheeks just a little too wide.

“Yeah. I’m not a great dancer but,” he shrugged, “I like it. I doubt I’m as good as you.” He held another chocolate out for Chris to take.

“You have no idea how good I am –or how good I’m not.” Chris leaned forward to take the chocolate with his mouth instead of his hand. Again. 

“Oh,” Sebastian’s eyes seemed darker, glacier-blue laser focus on Chris’ face, his mouth, “I think you’re very good.”

Chris couldn’t suppress a shiver, that time.

***

By the time the wine and chocolate tasting was over, Sebastian was feeling pleasantly light and just a little bold. Bold enough to not only take Chris’ hand on their way out of the main resort castle, but brush a light kiss across the back.

There were concierges and staff present. They were pretending to be engaged. Right.

The crisp, cold air shocked some of the tingle out from under his skin left there by the wine. “I was going to suggest a hike before the Christmas party tonight but…it’s cold.” 

Chris tilted his head curiously. “And it’s getting dark. Maybe tomorrow instead?”

“Yeah - I mean, if you want. You like the outdoors and sports and – I thought it might be nice.”

Chris beamed. “It is nice.” He squeezed Sebastian’s hand. “For now, maybe let’s get some more cocoa back at the cottage and get ready for the Christmas party?” 

Sebastian leaned into Chris’ shoulder. He leaned into Chris’ shoulder. Oh. No. Well, yes, but, no. He leaned away. Maybe that was too much. He wasn’t sure. Chris was flirting with him, eating chocolate out of his hands. But Chris had also been kind enough to join him on this assignment for work. Maybe it was all in Sebastian’s head and Chris was trying to be nice because he didn’t want to make it awkward this weekend or back at the office. Sebastian had to try harder to remember that. 

“Cocoa sounds nice.” He was pretty sure he didn’t sound resigned.

Chris searched Sebastian’s face, apparently catching something off in Sebastian’s tone, but merely nodded. 

***

Chris could dance. Sebastian knew it. Had heard him talk about it with coworkers in passing and, once at a company holiday party, had seen Chris dance.  He was no less in awe of Chris’ skills that evening after dinner when Chris, shy but sure, asked Sebastian to dance. The band was lovely – classic rock and blues and a little jazz, mixing classic Christmas songs with their own twists on ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’. Sebastian was hard-pressed to keep from smiling too wide.

“You’re a good dancer.” Chris gave Sebastian’s had a squeeze. Chris had chosen a storm grey sweater and dark blue jeans and Sebastian tried not to run his hands along his arms (and chest, and back and – Sebastian, get a grip).

“I’m alright. Mama would teach me, in the kitchens of our apartments.” Chris was leading, because Sebastian was good, but Chris was better. “You’re wonderful.”

Chris blushed, dusty pink brushing high on his cheekbones. All the way up to the tips of his ears. “Thank you, for inviting me. This is –this is fun. And…you look. Really handsome.” Sebastian glanced down at his deep blue sweater and black jeans. 

He wanted to shrug off the compliment but instead he indulged (he was only human) and gave Chris’ arm a squeeze. For research purposes. For his article. Yes. Chris blushed again and Sebastian swore Chris held him just the slightest bit closer. Well then. They’d had a fun, relaxing day so far and their bellies were full of delicious food and they had apple-cinnamon-spicy holiday drink on their breaths and.

And Sebastian wasn’t in the business of wasting opportunities. It was the evening of their first day of their getaway (assignment). They’d had a full day together pretending to be a couple: holding hands and rehearsing their backstory and kissing. Some public, some private, all heart-racing-incredible. Sebastian was sure it wasn’t in his head. Not anymore. He leaned in to Chris’ ear. 

“Please, tell me if I’m wrong. I know this is a business trip, but I want you. And I’m pretty sure you want me. More than just for this weekend.” 

*** 

Chris tightened his hold around Sebastian’s waist. Tried and succeeded, (only a little), in holding in a gasp of surprise and anticipation.

Sebastian was incredible. Incredibly brave, incredibly intelligent and funny, and incredibly, interested in Chris.

“I,” Chris leaned back just far enough to see Sebastian, “I, uh.” Chris was terrible with words when he wasn’t writing them down.

“Oh. Oh, God. Chris, I’m so sorry. Oh my God, what was I thinking? This is so unprofessional, I’m so sorry.” Sebastian leaned back farther, scarlet shame brightening his cheeks. It was only when Sebastian shifted away, to move out of Chris’ grasp entirely, that Chris’ brain finally reconnected with the rest of his body.

 

Chapter Text

Sebastian felt a strong grip on his wrist and was one part yanked, two parts twirled back in towards Chris who blurted, “Of course I want you!” before crashing his lips against Seb’s own. He sank into the kiss and felt a tongue gently trying to part his lips. He opened up for Chris and brought one hand up to Chris’ chin to gently rub his fingers through his beard. The kiss didn’t last long though before Seb’s unstoppable grin broke them apart. He couldn’t help it; he was just so thrilled to get to kiss Chris Evans without the pretense of acting.

“You would not believe how happy I am to hear you say that you want me,” Chris rushed to get out. “Mackie has been ribbing me forever about carrying a torch for you and those kisses felt too good to be true but just this morning I was…” Chris paused and turned Santa's suit red. “Well, I was thinking about how excited I was, am, to spend this weekend with you.”

Seb could tell that he was lying to avoid revealing something more embarrassing but he let it slide. He mentally made a note to have a discussion with Mackie about knowing Chris’ true feelings and about his failure to disclose it with Sebastian himself. Maybe he was just being a good confidant, but come on - all that time wasted pining after the gorgeous sports journalist, too embarrassed to make a move before now!

“God, you’re perfect,” Seb sighed before leaning in for another kiss. This time, the room spun in a delightful Christmas dance, his ears rang until the band was distant like in a dream, and all he could hear was his pounding pulse and Chris’ soft breathing. The kiss deepened and chastened and deepened again in swells like the sweet baritone themes behind them. Which were becoming foreground sounds again.

They leaned apart.

And noticed that they had attracted some attention. Oh right, Sebastian had forgotten that they weren’t exactly on the outer edge of the dance floor. He looked behind his shoulder at the band and the elderly lady playing saxophone gave him a knowing wink without missing a beat.

He blushed holly berry red. Turning back to Chris, he was glad to find he wasn’t the only one looking sheepish. “How about we finish this out in the hall?” he suggested.

Chris looked relieved and offered to retrieve their winter jackets from the coat check area. Sebastian meandered toward the exit but not without stopping to put a nice tip in Saxophone Lady’s case.

 

 

Chris entered the hallway and took a moment to admire his beautiful date who was busy admiring a painting of a boy and his bow-bedecked puppy playing at the foot of an armoire with a menorah on top. Sebastian looked so… happy. So much better than he did on the gray mornings when he entered the office and made a beeline to his desk without his usual grin and small talk with everyone he passed.

Chris made a silent vow to help Seb find that happiness every day, even if for only a moment. Then he cleared his throat and suggested, “There are a lot more paintings down that way. Would you like to explore with me?”

Sebastian turned and grinned. “I was just about to ask you the same!”

Chris wrapped their jackets over one arm before offering the other one escort-style to Seb who giggled, giggled (Success!), and accepted.

They spent more time kissing between paintings than looking at paintings but neither man seemed to mind. After about thirty minutes they had circled around to the resort lobby where Seb happened to look inside the resort gift shop. “Christmas-themed kilts! You should try one on!”

“Pardon?” Chris was not following.

“You had said you’d never wear a skirt for any amount of money but that you might try a kilt. Um, wait. Here.”

Chris stared at the quarter and weighed the pros and cons of this ridiculous offer before acquiescing. He grabbed the coin and made his counter offer. “I’ll try on a kilt if ,” he dropped the coin back in Seb’s pocket, “you put one on too.”

 

 

Sebastian took a deep breath and pushed the curtains aside, stepping out into the mirrored area. He doesn’t look half bad in a kilt! A little silly maybe, but not bad. He was eyeing the attachable family crest flasks when Chris emerged looking absolutely delicious in his gray sweater and Christmas kilt. His defined calves peeked out, flirting with Seb, conjuring images of them wrapped around his back as he thrust forward…

“Haha! You look great!” Chris chuckled joyfully, hands clasped against his chest. “We need to get a selfie for sure.” He pulled Sebastian in towards him and snapped three or four photos of them grinning in their matching kilts. “I'll text them to you.”

“That way we both have access to blackmail material?” Seb joked as he slid back into the changing room.

“Exactly! You never know when a picture like that might come in handy,” came Chris’ voice across the partition.

They hung the kilts back up before leaving the store (far too expensive for a gag purchase), stopping long enough to sneak a kiss behind the clothing rack. The cashier wouldn't have minded - it's couples retreat weekend after all - but something felt more magical and youthful about making the moment completely their own.

 

 

Chris was awfully quiet on the walk out to Sebastian's car and eerily silent as Seb pulled out of the parking lot to drive them back to the cottage. They'd had quite the shock when they left the gift store.

On the other side of the lobby was the resort's less expensive bar and restaurant. Still nice, but more likely to be understaffed and overcrowded with couples looking for a fun evening.

Chris and Seb had been meandering toward the exit to the parking lot when they heard, “YOU FUCKING, UNGRATEFUL CUNT!” followed by the unmistakable sound of someone being struck across the face. Sebastian barely had time to register what he'd heard before he noticed that Chris was sprinting into the bar.

Seb picked up the jackets Chris had dropped and followed him. He turned the corner into the restaurant and nearly ran into Chris who was pinning a man against the wall, gripping his shirt front tightly in his fist. “You do not treat anyone like that. Especially your wife! ” Chris snarled deeply.

Shivers went down Seb’s spine. He turned and located the woman holding her cheek and crying. “Are you okay? Can I call someone for you?” He fluttered helplessly near her.

Chris stared in the side view mirror, watching the trees pass behind the car, as he digested the events that had just transpired. The two journalists had waited with the fighting couple for hotel security to take care of the angry drunken husband and for the wife's sister and brother-in-law to come downstairs from their room to comfort her. The woman was too shaken up to recount the argument that had provoked the outburst but she promised to give hotel security a full report when she could gather herself together enough to step into the relative privacy of the late night lobby.

Chris and Sebastian had left at that point, recognizing that there were too many cooks in the kitchen, but they did give the woman and security team their cell numbers in case they needed help with anything or just more information for the report.

“I hate anybody who is capable of hurting the ones they've promised to love,” Chris whispered.

Sebastian pulled the car in front of the cottage. “I know, baby… It's awful.”

“It's unforgivable.”

Seb sighed and reached over for Chris’ hand. “Look, I know you won't believe me but you were a hero tonight.”

Chris scoffed.

“Come on. Let's go inside and get ready for bed.”

Chris looked hesitant as he gently closed Seb’s Audi passenger door. “Um, what are the sleeping arrangements?”

Sebastian glanced over while unlocking the cottage, “I was originally going to offer to take one of the twin beds and let you have the big bed. But. Given tonight's events, I think maybe we should share. If you're okay with that?”

“Well, yeah. If you think that's best.”

“I do. That's me taking charge. Making an executive decision. For us.”

A cup of tea and a change into pajama pants later found the guys in bed, ready for sleep.

“It's okay,” Seb reminded Chris, who was obviously still fuming. “She's safe with her family, you're safe with me. You're okay. We're okay.”

“Yeah. We're okay,” Chris responded meekly.

Seb took a deep breath of bravery before rolling onto Chris’ side of the bed and wrapping the stronger man up in his arms. “Sleep.”

 

 

Early, early in the morning, things were starting to look up again. One thing in particular, Sebastian noted. He tried to gently scoot his crotch away from Chris’ gorgeous ass without waking him but a hand shot out and held his hip in place.

“Feels good,” Chris admitted in a whisper. He wiggled back against Seb to prove his point.

“Mmmmmm! Not fair!” Seb whined, minutely moving his hips too.

“What's not fair?”

“You're teasing me.”

Chris flipped over and boldly reached out to grab Seb’s straining erection which had already made a small wet spot on the front of his pajamas. “I promise to do more than just tease.”

That's how Chris ended up climbing on top of Seb, making out with him, and grinding against him until both of them came, shouting (thank goodness for the secluded cabin!) each other's names, still clad in their bed clothing like horny schoolboys. It wasn't perfect but it sure was an amazing first orgasm together. Sebastian felt a pang of fondness in his heart when Chris collapsed on the bed next to him. And immediately fell back asleep.

Sebastian got up to shower and beam at every bathroom fixture because Chris Evans just made him come! He sat on the tiled floor in his towel, water dripping out of his hair, as he checked his phone to pass the time until he felt it safe to wake his partner again.

An email from Anthony Mackie asked how he'd been feeling lately and if he could help with anything. His reply included a playful scolding for not telling him about Chris earlier and a startling truth: “I can't remember the last time I've been this happy.”

Then he flipped to the notepad app and wrote a to-do list for the day:

  • Go hiking with Chris
  • Write a review on the guided meditation, the cottage, the wine tasting event, and the Christmas party
  • Check out rooms inside the resort for the article
  • Have Chris teach me how to ice skate?
  • Check out the outdoor hot spring tubs for the article

He looked out the bathroom window as the sun was coming up. It was snowing. He laughed as he imagined the surprised look on Chris’ face when the steam from the hot springs combined with the frigid temperatures to freeze his hair and eyebrows. Maybe they should wait to see if it stops snowing first.

 

 

Chris hummed as he flipped the pancakes he made from the batter his mom had packed for them. He just got off the phone with her before he rolled out of bed, freshened up in the other bedroom’s bathroom, and pulled on his Star Wars shirt to impress Sebastian. His mom had called to tell him about Dodger’s new Mufasa themed harness. She told him all about his dog's adventures at the dog park and he laughed along to his pal’s antics.

“I smell pancakes!”

Chris looked up to Sebastian leaning against the doorway. Wearing his Star Wars shirt? No wait. Slightly different coloring but otherwise the same shirt.

They both laughed at the realization and Chris pulled his camera out for another twinning selfie. “Stop copying me!” He winked.

“Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” Seb flirted back.

They spent breakfast talking about the day ahead and flirting shamelessly. When Sebastian mentioned that Chris’ cooking is probably superior to the Winter Resort's busy morning biscuit bar and that he was glad to be intimately dining in the cottage instead, Chris gave him a sly smile before proclaiming, “Ah! Perhaps you've never heard of second breakfast!”

Seb choked on his orange juice. “A Lord of the Rings joke! You truly are Really Super Perfect!” He leapt across the table to devour Chris in a deep kiss until he seemed to remember himself and sat back down, ears tinged pink.

Chris chuckled at the cute burst of excitement. “I'm glad you think so.” He knew now was as good a time as any to ask a brave question like his sweet Seb did last night. He swallowed his bite of pancake and began, “Sebastian? Why are we pretending to be a couple?”

“Like, why is it necessary? It's couples retreat weekend. The resort gets so booked that they discourage other groups of people from making reservations.”

“No, I mean, why are we pretending ?”

Chapter Text

“No,” Chris says, setting his fork down on the edge of his plate, “I mean, why are we pretending?” He glances up from his food and meets those steely blue eyes and Sebastian’s heart threatens to beat right out of his chest.

“Oh, I, uh,” Seb stutters and stumbles, trying desperately to force himself to stop and think before he just blurts something out like he always does. He’s sure he’s red all the way down to his toes and he stuffs a forkful of food in his mouth to buy himself another moment.

“I mean,” he says finally, fork still between his lips and eyes flitting about the counter, “before last night I, well, I didn’t even think that was something you’d, uh, want,” he admits.

“And now?” Chris asks. He reaches a hand out across the counter and tips Sebastian’s chin up, forcing the younger man to meet his eyes again.

Seb feels his heart stop for what feels like an eternity. “I dunno,” is the most intelligent response he can muster for a long moment. Then he finally manages, “Would you, uh, like to stop? Pretending, I mean. I mean, would you, uh, like to be a couple? For real?”

Chris is turning pink now too despite his boldness a moment earlier and he chuckles softly as he leans across the counter to steal a kiss. “I would love that,” he whispers against the other man’s lips.

 

After breakfast Sebastian pulls out his laptop while Chris heads into the shower. He really does need to get started on his article, after all. His thoughts are racing from the events of the past twenty-four hours (and from the mental image of Chris naked and wet just a room away) but he tries to shove them to the back of his mind and focus. This started out as work, after all, and while he’s getting more of a… realistic experience than he had been anticipating, it is still work.

Come on Sebastian, he tells himself, focus.

He knows he won’t finish the article before the end of the trip - there’s still plenty of stuff they haven’t done, after all - but he at least manages to get half way through an outline by the time Chris emerges from the bathroom in nothing but a towel wrapped loosely around his waist, his hair still dripping down his neck and over his chest. And it’s a damn good thing he got that much work done, he thinks, because at the sight, his brain short circuits.

Despite their, er... intimate activities earlier in the morning, he still hadn’t even seen Chris shirtless. Shit and is that a sight.

“Earth to Sebastian,” Chris laughs, the tips of his ears turning pink as he waves a hand to get the other man’s attention.

“Oh my god I’m sorry!” Seb blurts, laughing nervously and blushing himself. “What did you say?”

“I asked what you had on the agenda for today,” Chris repeats himself with a chuckle, making his way to the dresser. He hesitates for a moment and Seb sees that blush start to travel down his back before he drops the towel to pull on a clean pair of boxer briefs.

“Now you’re just showing off,” Sebastian chokes out, he forces a nervous laugh as he forces himself to look away, back down to his work. He saves one last time before closing it out and allowing himself to look back up at Chris (who is mostly dressed by now, a thing which his heart is thankful for). “I have a few things I wanted to do,” he says, sounding mostly normal again, “but I figured we would start with hiking and go from there?”

“Sounds good,” Chris says, refolding the shirt in his hands and tucking it back into the drawer. “Guess I should put on something warmer then,” he teases.

 

The trails are snow-dusted and winding, like something out of a fairy tale, like something out of Sebastian’s sweetest, most wonderful dreams. It was the perfect choice, unbelievably romantic, and Sebastian knows he’s going to rave about it in his article. He takes about a million pictures and only half of them are of Chris. It’s the best first date he’s ever had (because yes, he’s counting it).

But the trails are also cold and by the time they make it back to their cabin Seb finds himself trembling. His skin starts to thaw but he still feels the cold all the way in his bones. God, he hates being cold.

“Well, I know you wanted to try ice skating, but why don’t we go check out the hot springs instead?” Chris suggests, taking a cold hand between both of his and placing a kiss to the back of it. “And then, once you’re properly warmed up, we can grab dinner.”

Sebastian knows he’d be blushing like mad if he wasn’t already so pink from the cold as he lets Chris pull him close. “Th-that sounds nice,” he says. “Ice skating can wait until tomorrow.”

So they layer up – sweatpants over swim trunks and a bag with some nicer clothes for dinner after – and drive over to the main hotel. And, boy, if Sebastian thought he was shivering after the hike, that short half-naked trek from the locker room to the hot, steaming water feels like climbing Mount Everest. The second he sinks into that water, though, damn is it worth it. It stings just a little, but he can’t really bring himself to care.

Chris slides in next to him and instinctively wraps an arm around his shoulders, pulling him close. “How’s that feel?” he asks, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

“Better,” Sebastian chatters out, slipping his legs across Chris’ lap as he curls into his side. He’s grateful for the extra body heat.

“You know,” Chris starts after a moment of shared silence, “Mackie’s never going to let me live this down.”

“Probably not,” Seb agrees with a quiet laugh. But the comment gets him thinking. There’s a beat, and then he asks, “So what does this mean? When we go back?”

He can’t stand the thought of all this ending, and it still kind of feels like it will, like they’re just pretending. And what is Chris even like as a boyfriend back in the real world? What kind of boyfriend will he be once the romantic vacation is over? Will he be this affectionate? He can’t imagine Chris any other way, he’s seen how sweet he is even as just a friend. But still. Sometimes you think you know people…

“What do you mean?” Chris asks, pulling him from his spiraling thoughts.

“I mean,” Sebastian lets out a thoughtful hum before continuing, “like, do we tell everyone at work? Do we hold hands in the lunch room? Should I buy an extra tooth brush for your bathroom?” He’s mostly kidding about that last one, and he’s sure Chris knows it, but it gets his point across.  

Chris stays silent for a moment, his fingers ghosting along Sebastian’s arm, then he asks. “Well, what do you want out of our relationship?” He’s got a smile on his face that makes Seb think he’s already got his own answer figured out.

Sebastian, still a little in awe over this whole thing and how quickly his wildest dreams have come together, can’t help but feel bashful.  He rests his head on the other man’s shoulder so he doesn’t have to look at him as he answers.

“I want all of it,” he admits. “The PDA, hand-holding, lunches together, everyone whispering about how we’re the cutest couple ever. Sweet, cozy dates in and romantic dates out and, eventually, toothbrushes at each other’s houses.”

There’s a beat where Chris says nothing and Sebastian holds his breath. Then the older man takes his hand and laces their fingers together. “Then I’ll give you it all,” he says, pressing a kiss to the top of his head.

Chapter Text

By some stroke of luck, they’re the only couple who have come up to have a soak, so they alternate between making out and splashing one another like children. Hands stay strictly above the waist, Chris notices, but he finds he doesn’t mind at all. Of course he wants to touch Sebastian further, to be able to map out the expanse of smooth skin and toned muscles and feel him tremble as he comes apart beneath him.

But this thing between them--relationship? Was Seb his boyfriend now? Holy shit, Seb was most likely probably his boyfriend and it was awesome--was still new, fragile and delicate, like freshly spun sugar, and Chris was by no means in any rush. As far as he was concerned, and hopefully Seb felt the same way, they had ages. Possibly forever.

Hopefully forever.

The realization causes Chris to break out of his back float and sputter up water. It’s not exactly a surprise, because of course he’s in love with Seb, probably has been since the day he handed him that treasured mug of coffee. How could he not, when the kid was so beautiful, so kind.

Still, it’s not like he was expecting to have this epiphany with the two of them half naked in a hot spring.

Sebastian cracks open an eye from where he’d been lounging against the side, nose wrinkling in concern while Chris coughs up half the spring. “You all right?”

“Sure,” Chris assures, voice raspy from choking and just an octave too high, “just dandy.”

Seb frowns, standing up to push off the wall and wading over. One hand goes to Chris’s waist while the other reaches up to brush Chris’s wet bangs from his face. “You don’t sound dandy. In fact, you sound like you’re dying.” And really, how dare this man make everything he says or does so damn adorable?

“I’m fine.” Chris dips his head to peck Seb’s forehead. “Really, just lost concentration for a bit, almost drowned in like four feet of water, no big deal.”

Seb rolls his eyes, smacking a hand to Chris’s wet chest as his lips twitch. “Doofus. Anyway, you want to start heading back? I’m starting to feel like a raisin.”

“Aww man,” Chris whines. “Heading back to the cabin is gonna suck. Wanna make a run for it?”

“And bust our asses on the hiking trail?”

“Sure. Matching his and his ass fractures.”

“Oh my God, you dork.” Sebastian buries his face in one hand, then extends the other to Chris. “All right, let’s get dressed and then take off.”

They tug their clothing over water slick skin and jam their feet into their shoes, before sprinting back down the trail, clinging to one another and laughing like maniacs. When they finally stumble through the door of the cabin they’re both winded, simultaneously overheated from the run and shivering from the cold winter snap.

“You go change,” Chris offers, like the knight in shining armor he is. “I’ll get a fire going.” He waits until Seb nods in agreement and sets off down the hall before kneeling before the grate. Luckily, there’s already fresh wood in place, so he merely needs to set the logs ablaze. He takes a few moments to bask in the warmth of the fire before the chafing of his wet swim trunks get the better of him, and he climbs to his feet to trundle down the hallway after Sebastian.

He finds Seb in the master bedroom, clad only in boxers and illuminated from the soft glow of the lamp of the bedside table. His swim trunks are crumpled in a corner, most likely having been kicked off. Chris hesitates for a moment, unsure as to whether or not they’ve reached the stage of seeing each other naked yet, when Sebastian murmurs out a quiet “Let me” and begins working on the tie to his shorts. Chris steps out of them, thankful that his flush is hidden in the dim light, when he feels Sebastian herding him towards the bed and gently nudging him to sit on the mattress. He slides Chris’s feet though a pair of soft boxers--they’re Seb’s, Chris realizes with a thrill--pressing a kiss to the knob of one ankle, then the other. Then he presses one to Chris’s inner thigh and a final one to his hipbone before pulling the underwear the rest of the way up. Then Seb leans forward and kisses his lips.

There’s nothing sexual about it, but it carries an intimacy all the same, and Chris feels his heart melt into a puddle of goo. This is love, pure and simple; every kiss, every shared sip of cocoa and laughter.

Chris pulls away a fraction, tipping his forehead against Seb’s, grinning softly. “Let’s goes out to the living room. Oh, and grab all the pillows and blankets you can find.” Then he smacks a final kiss to Seb’s lips before jumping up and skidding out the door, cackling at Sebastian’s surprised protest. Chris strips the twin beds of their linens, then gathers a few pillows and another blanket from the hall closet. He meets Seb back in the living room, standing beside a pile of sheets and blankets balled up on the sofa and looking utterly dumbfounded.

“Uh, Chris?” Sebastian asks tentatively, “What are we doing?”

Chris just grins. “Go make some cocoa, I’ll take care of this. Extra whipped cream please!” he calls after Sebastian’s retreating back. Then he dumps the blankets and pillows before the fireplace and sets to work until he’s created something resembling a nest. He stands back to admire his handiwork and hears a soft “Oh.”

Chris turns to see Seb standing behind him with two mugs of hot cocoa, both liberally dolloped with whipped cream, eyes soft and expression filled with wonder. Chris offers his own soft smile in return, gesturing dramatically to the blanket fort. “Figured we could use some actual R and R. You know. Just... talk, cuddle. Drink cocoa. That sort of thing,” he finishes lamely, feeling suddenly self-conscious.

He watches as Sebastian carefully sets the mugs on a nearby table, then grasps Chris by the back of the neck to pull him in for a fierce kiss. “Thank you,” he mumbles, barely pulling back from Chris’s mouth. “This is amazing and one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me.”

They settle into their blanket fort with the cocoa, idling away the hours with talk of work and childhood memories; Chris taking some time here and there to sing Disney tunes against Seb's collarbone. At some point, they wind up cocooned within the mass of blankets, Seb’s head pillowed against Chris’s chest, empty mugs on standby.

“Thank you,” Seb says, wiggling closer and beaming when Chris’s arms tighten around him. When Chris makes a questioning noise he adds, “For agreeing to this trip. For the blanket fort. For being you, and being with me.”

Chris hums thoughtfully, carding his fingers through Seb’s dark strands. “Like I said,” he says, voice soft and tender, “I want everything. I’m all in, Seb, for the long haul. As long as you’ll have me.”

Sebastian buries his grin against Chris’s neck.

“I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”

Chapter Text

“Seb?”

Sebastian grunts a sleepy “Mph?” against Chris’s collarbone. For how strapping and tall Sebastian is, the guy can sure put on the preening pose of a newly slumbering kitten. But Chris can’t help but love him.

“Just want to take a quick shower before we hunker in for the night,” he whispers. “Hot springs got me a little salty.”

He can feel eyelashes flutter on his skin as Sebastian blinks himself awake, and Chris has to fight the full-body chill that runs through his veins at the feather-light sensation. Sebastian eventually pushes off him, and rolls to one side. His hand is splayed over his naked belly, lower lip stained with the chocolate residue of his hot cocoa. Chris has to stand up and practically Frankenstein-walk to the shower to stop himself from leaning in and sucking that lower lip into his mouth.

His shower is short, just soaping down and washing off.  When he exits the bathroom, Sebastian is there to waltz past him, a towel draped over his own shoulder. “Shower sounded like a good idea. You better be back in the fort when I get out,” he murmurs, pressing a kiss to Chris’s cheek as he goes. Chris ducks his head, feeling so very young and so very, very out of practice.


“I knew, by the way,” Sebastian says suddenly.

“Knew what?”

They’re back in the blanket fort, the smell of the resort’s rosewater body wash still fragrant on their skin. Sebastian looks up to meet Chris’s gaze, and Chris seriously cannot believe how fucking lucky he is, that these grey-glass eyes are looking at him and they see him, see right to the marrow of him, that they chose him. “I knew that was your mug. The one with the dogs on it.”

Chris’s heart skips. “The mug.”

“Yeah.” Sebastian bites his lip, because he’s Satan. “You were using it every time I walked past your desk. I figured you really liked it. So when I saw it that day in the back of the cupboard, I figured you’d want it back.”

“You remember that?”

“Yeah. I mean...” A high flush dapples Sebastian’s cheeks, emphasizing the cut of those fine bones in his face. “That sounds totally creepy, doesn’t it. It was just a funny mug with all the dog heads on it and I thought, well, of course you like that one, it’s a cute mug, and you’re cute, and you remind me of, like, a puppy sometimes, because you’re so enthusiastic and you care about people, and and I know that you’re particular about stuff, and I’m just going to stop talking and smother myself with a pillow –”

“I love you.”

As it falls out of his mouth, Chris feels a jolt of both weightless exhilaration and blind, pants-crapping terror. He watches, helpless, as Sebastian’s lips form a perfect O.

Everything in Chris’s body is both burning hot and snowdrift cold. He vaguely, hysterically, contemplates running through the nearest wall and leaving a Chris Evans-shaped hole, but then.

Then.

Then Sebastian is cupping his jaw with those long, graceful hands, piano-playing fingers stroking back the hair that’s fallen in his face. (Does Sebastian play piano? He should.)

Chris suddenly can’t breathe.

Sebastian’s mouth is moving, but the air is fuzzy Chris’s ears and he can’t hear what’s happening, but then Sebastian is kissing him, so it might not be as bad as Chris feared. The kiss seems to pop the strange deafness in the air, and Chris can definitely hear himself say “What?”

Sebastian laughs, that small yet rich sound that Chris can’t get enough of. Will never get enough of. “I said I love you too. And that I think it still counts if I said it first and you didn’t understand it.”

What.

Sebastian flushes, and kisses him again. Chris chases his mouth when it ends but Sebastian’s too quick, and like a cat, lays flush on top of him. “When you asked me to tell you something in Romanian. I said...I said, Cred că sunt îndrăgostit de tine.’ It means, ‘I might be in love with you.’ But I didn’t want to say it out loud in English. I guess...I guess I didn’t need to be worried?”

In some other world, some other time, when Chris had the perfect riposte prepared for this kind of moment, the night would have ended with glorious witty banter about how love transcends language or some bullshit. But this isn’t some other world, or some other time, and Chris is just Chris Evans, a boy from Boston, hopelessly in love with Sebastian Stan.

So he just tips Sebastian’s chin down and claims that beautifully red, kiss-bitten mouth, hoping it’s a good substitute for repartee. It seems so – Sebastian utters a moan of contentment and gives as good as he gets. Chris’s arms wrap tight around Sebastian’s midsection and hold him close, feeling every bit of that warm, golden skin against his. He tastes cocoa and marshmallows on Sebastian’s lips, but Chris’s tongue registers all of that plus Sebastian, Sebastian , and he might die from it. Or at least, go into a very blissful coma.

He moans. He can’t help it. Sebastian’s mouth is so good, so soft, against his, still a little warm from the shower. Next time they should both get in there, Chris thinks. Hell, it’s big enough for four people. Chris could push Sebastian up against the wet tile wall, go to town on him with his tongue, or just bend him over –  

The kiss gets deeper, the warmth of the blanket nest suddenly making everything hotter, more slick, dragging Chris into the present moment. He breaks off to suck a mark into Sebastian’s neck, and the sound Sebastian makes has Chris’s cock go from being pretty interested to hard as steel in a manner of seconds. He grinds his hips up, eager to feel if Sebastian is as turned on by this as he is. “Oh, hello,” he grins, because he definitely is.

Sebastian makes a broken sort of noise, like the sound is being torn out of his throat. It shatters what's left of Chris’s composure. His hands drift down to the curve of Sebastian’s hips and yank down his boxers over the swell of his ass, eager to sink fingers into warm, inviting flesh. Sebastian responds by slipping one leg between Chris’s, and the friction might just send Chris into orbit.

“Fuck, you feel amazing,” Sebastian scrapes out. Chris can only make a sound from somewhere deep inside his chest. Sebastian moves his leg just far enough for Chris to get his own boxers off.

Sebastian’s body is everything Chris had ever imagined. Lean, golden skin, broken up with scattered hair. Strong shoulders and arms. Slightly curved, hard cock, already pearlescent at the tip. Chris’s brain is melting.

Sebastian hovers over Chris’s body, taking him in with a look that’s so nakedly hungry Chris can feel the blush spread all over his skin. “See anything good?”

“That day when I talked to you in Romanian, I said I wanted to fuck you,” Sebastian says, voice akin to a growl. “But now...holy shit. I want to tear you apart.

Chris takes Sebastian’s hand and puts it directly on his cock. “Please?”

Sebastian really does growl then, and Chris might come before they even do anything.


“Fuck,” Chris hisses, as Sebastian’s fingers gently scissor to open him up, the cool lube he found in one of the hotel room drawers contrasting against the heat of his hand. The rug doesn’t feel too bad on Chris’s stomach, but even better is the feel of Sebastian’s lips and tongue trailing over his back and neck. He keens as Sebastian grazes the spot that makes him light up from the inside, and pushes his ass back to chase the delicious burn. “Ready…”

“Just wanted to make sure,” Sebastian smirks. A sudden fire across Chris’s ass – Sebastian’s palm hitting, then squeezing it in playful affection. His fingers withdraw, and Chris hisses at the loss as several drawers are opened and shut before Sebastian triumphantly returns to the blanket fort with a condom. “I love this place,” he announces. Chris laughs into the rug, but the laugh breaks off as he feels the head of Sebastian’s cock teasing his hole.

“Wait.” Chris flips onto his back, and pulls Sebastian on top of him. His legs wrap around Sebastian’s torso, tilting his hips up. He kisses Sebastian, hard and deep.

The look on Sebastian’s face when they break apart makes every single fucking thing that’s ever gone wrong in Chris’s life worth it. Because he gets to watch as Sebastian – his boyfriend , the love of his life – braces his hands on either side of Chris’s head and slides that beautiful cock inside of him, and it's everything he could ever want.

“Jesus,” Sebastian swears. “You feel so good, Chris. So good.”

The burn is exquisite, just enough to throw the night into stark clarity. Sebastian closes his eyes, and Chris pulls him down, laying him flush across so their bodies align for just a moment. When Sebastian begins to move, Chris can’t help but take deep breaths to keep from screaming the roof down because it’s all so. Fucking. Good.

Sebastian goes slow, torturously so, until Chris feels like he’s going to go cross-eyed with want, and then Sebastian seems to read his mind because the thrusts change pace, hitting Chris right on the place that lights him up with fireworks on the inside. His hands wander down to squeeze Sebastian’s ass, keeping him pressed close, no room to tell where their bodies end and begin. He's gonna have one hell of a rug burn on his back. Worth it.

There’s no ramp-up to Chris's orgasm: he’s aroused, and then he’s coming, untouched, spurting hot between their bellies. He forces his eyes open to watch Sebastian’s face as he follows Chris over the edge, and it's the most beautiful sight he's ever seen.

When it’s over, and Sebastian has tied up and thrown out the condom and procured tissues from someplace to wipe them both up, it’s Chris’s turn to nuzzle into Sebastian’s chest, feeling boneless and wrung out and so happy his skin feels tight with it. “That was…” he starts, then loses his way.

Sebastian’s chest softly shakes; silent laughter. “Yeah. That was."

They don’t move for a long, long time.

Chapter Text

Sex in a blanket fort. Heat and cocoa, marshmallows and quiet jokes about how much they love this place—condoms on demand, and oh well it is designed for romance, after all—and soft happy kisses, traded, shared, full of laughter at the delicious wonderful holiday joy of reality.

Everything, Sebastian thinks. Everything.

He’s got a comfortable solid expanse of Chris Evans tucked alongside him, keeping him warm and grounded and weightless all at once, exuberant. Chris nuzzles into Sebastian’s neck, yawns, cuddles a bit more tightly. Sebastian smiles, cuddles right back, tangles their legs together, and breathes Chris in.

The long haul, Chris had said. All of this. Both of them. Right here and now, and also gazing at the future, their future, written in snowfall and long soaking in hot tubs and trying on kilts and coffee in the morning. From their mugs. Maybe he can get a kitty one to match.

The fire crackles in approval of this plan.

He says, “I love your mug.”

Chris, who is not exactly asleep, mumbles, “I love your face too.”

Sebastian snorts, pokes him in the ribs, and then kisses him. “I love you.” He can say it. They can both say it. Incredible.

He says it again just because he can. Chris kisses him halfway through the last word, deep and rich and sweet, drinking in the syllables.

Sebastian, naked in firelight, kissed by Chris Evans, runs fingers through Chris’s hair, along Chris’s arm, over Chris’s chest: touching Chris.

Several lazy gilded moments or hours later, he murmurs, “I should be taking notes.”

“On this?” Chris shifts position. Smirks. Moves hands. “Or this?”

“You can never stop doing that, thank you. I thought of an opening line.”

“A line about—”

“Openings, thanks, I heard that one as I said it.” And, clearly, so did Chris. Perfect for each other. He beams. “Yes. No. I mean for the story!”

“Right.” Chris’s hands pause. “You did have an assignment…”

Sebastian wriggles under him. “And you’re here with me. And you’ll be with me after I get back. Oh—that’s not a problem, is it—”

Chris traces a heart over his skin: reassured, contented, in love. “Nah. We’re not in the same fields, not covering the same stories, no competition. And anyway no rules about fraternization. And anyway I kinda like, um. Helping you with your stories. Opening line?”

“Yes.” He can see it, can hear it, can taste it. It’ll be a good story, vivid and sensual, laced with opulence and detail and decadent experiences come to life for readers. The firelight pools symphonies over his skin, over Chris’s tattoos, ink and tiny faint freckles. Sebastian wants to put his mouth on every one. “About fairytales. That’s what this place sells, right? The resort, the romance—the lube in the dresser—the place where happy endings get made out of winter enchantment. Like magic.”

“Like Disneyland,” Chris says, and Sebastian has to laugh. “Magical, yes. But with very different…rides.”

This time Chris collapses into laughter. Sebastian, smug, lies back on elbows, and grins. Of course Chris Evans loves Disneyland. Chris Evans is a Disney prince, coming to the rescue of strangers, and to the rescue of Sebastian himself, for this assignment. Back when Chris had thought it was only an assignment, and nevertheless offered anyway, regardless of hurt to his own heart, if Sebastian needed company.

Chris deserves to be loved and kissed and taken to animation-themed amusement parks always. Good thing Sebastian’s prepared to do exactly that.

Maybe he can suggest that the next travel article focus on Disneyland. Or all the Disney parks. Visiting each one. Comparison purposes.

“What were you thinking?” Chris surfaces from merriment and drops a kiss on his nose. “God, you’re gorgeous. The way you smile when you’re thinkin’ about something that makes you happy. It’s just like…you light up the room. Cliché, I know, terrible writing, sorry, but I kinda want to try to make you smile like that forever.”

“I like your clichés. You mean them. I was thinking about blanket forts.” Sebastian puts arms back around his Chris. Their fire jumps with glee. Cushions brush his toes. “And about how you know what I need before I even do. How you’re always here for me. It’s about fairytales. The line.”

“Yeah?” Chris reaches over, strokes hair out of Sebastian’s face: simple and simply poignant, tender in firegleam, cozy as fleece. “So you are thinking Disney.”

“This place is a fairytale,” Sebastian says. “Constructed, of course; it’s a daydream, a hope, an imagined world. But it makes you believe. That fairytales can be real.” He pauses, catches Chris’s eyes, holds them with his. “It makes me believe.”

“Oh, Seb,” Chris whispers. “Sebastian…”

“That’s the beginning,” Sebastian tells him, and sees Chris get it: a story, their story, a beginning. He thinks that he could see them coming back here. Letting the story continue. Year after year. Love, and love, and maybe learning to ice skate, or maybe not, but either way holding Chris’s hand, fingers entwined. His imagination runs ahead, and creates all those worlds. A future. A question. Asked and answered, and two shimmering matching bits of jewelry on those hands. Yes, he thinks, yes. Not yet, too soon, but someday, someday: yes. “I’m not writing about you, about us, not exactly—I’m not sharing this—”

“I love you,” Chris says, with gratifying promptness and appreciation for where Sebastian’s fingers’ve traveled.

“I love you. —I’ll write a story about how,” Sebastian decides, “this place gives fairytales room to be true.”