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Chris dug frantically through the top drawer of the dresser, looking for the pair of black socks he knew had to be in there somewhere. No matter how careful he was not to show them, Zach would just know instinctively if he wore white socks with this outfit, and somewhere in his irrational train of thought, Chris had convinced himself that this just might be the deal breaker. He had managed to pin all his hopes for the evening – and, if he was honest with himself, many evenings to follow – on managing to find a particular article of clothing that had seemingly vanished.

Panicking, he yanked the whole drawer out and dumped its contents unceremoniously to the floor. Success! No… wait… One. One black sock. And one black sock was just as bad as no black socks – possibly worse, since it had gotten his hopes up. There were navy blue socks, but he might as well show up wearing nothing but Saran wrap and a trucker hat. It might be less embarrassing, in fact.

He willed himself to calm down, taking deep breaths and doing his best to think like a sock. He was an actor, after all. If he could manage to think like a hippie oenophile or a neo-Nazi psychopath or, god forbid, a starship captain, he could think like a sock. Socks were uncomplicated. They only had two main functions, and Chris was pretty sure he could rule out puppetry for the time being. The only thing mysterious about socks was the fact that they tended to disappear from…

The dryer! Of course! Chris hadn’t had the time to fold the clothes he had put in the dryer yesterday, so they must still be there. As he made a mad dash for the laundry room, he silently cursed himself for getting into the situation in the first place.

 

As long as he’d felt it, it had taken Chris until four days ago to tell Zach. This wasn’t so terrible considering that he’d only admitted it to himself and actually given it a name three months ago. They were sitting in the back corner of some dive bar that Zach had found, the lights low and the clientele shifty enough that they wouldn’t draw attention to themselves. 

Neither he nor Zach were as drunk as they pretended to be, but the pretense made it a little easier for Chris to blurt out, in one long breath, that he had kind of a crush on Zach, no, not like his mancrush on Karl, like a real one, and no, he’d never been with a guy before or even thought about a guy this way before, not seriously, but it was driving him crazy and he knew that if Zach didn’t feel the same way, it was cool, he’d get over it, but he was tired of regretting the things he wasn’t brave enough to do and after all this whole Star Trek shit seemed to have worked out pretty well and again it was totally okay if Zach just wanted to pretend like this never happened but Chris really wanted to give it a shot.

As Chris gasped for air, Zach coolly pushed his drink aside, surveyed the younger man with sober eyes, and said, “Okay.”

“Okay?” Chris wheezed.

“Yeah.”

“Just… like that?”

Zach actually had the nerve to roll his eyes at that. “You want me to string you along a little bit first? Make you talk me into it? Because I think you need a breather first. Look, you’re smart, you’re talented, you’re fucking gorgeous, and you’re the only person who’s made me laugh so hard I snorted beer out my nose, so, yeah, I’d like to give it a go.”

Chris was elated, euphoric, jubilant – and also beginning to panic. Not only had he not really thought through what would happen if Zach actually said yes, but now that he had agreed, Chris was rapidly losing control of the situation. Out of sheer perversity of will, he said, “Alright, Quinto, but don’t expect me to just hop into bed. I’m not going to put out until at least – at least – the third date. And you’re gonna have to earn it, too. I mean it. You’re gonna court me if you want this fine ass.”

 

In retrospect, Chris should have realized that the slow, wicked grin that spread across Zach’s mouth was a reason to feel terror, not arrogance. The fear did let up just a little when he found the black socks in the dryer, only to rise anew when the doorbell rang just as he was tugging on the second sock. Of course the son of a bitch was right on time.

He made a beeline for the front door, sliding a bit on the hardwood but managing to catch himself before the embarrassing crash and ensuing concussion. He grabbed his keys and wallet off the table, and took it as a blessing from the Gay Dating Gods when the shoes he intended to wear were among the pairs off to the side of the front hallway.

Chris yanked open the door with a smart-ass comment that died on his lips. Zach always looked good – this should not have been a surprise – but Zach looked downright edible in a dark purple button-down shirt and gray pants. (Chris supposed that a better description would probably include words like “eggplant” and “gunmetal,” but having been straight until quite recently, he felt uneasy with the terminology.) Fortunately, Zach seemed to take Chris’ astonished silence as a compliment. He held out a book – “Flowers seemed a bit inappropriate, but I was in that used bookstore today and I found this.  It’s not a first edition or anything, but I figured you’d like it.”

Taking the old, hardbound copy of The Great Gatsby with wide eyes, Chris momentarily regretted his promise to wait until the third date. Chris loved old books, and this one – with its musty but familiar smell and handwritten notes penciled in the margins – was definitely deserving of some sexual favors.

“Zach, I don’t know what to…” He trailed off helplessly.

“No worries.”

Chris set the book down on the side table, looked back up, and suddenly felt at a complete loss. If Zach had been awkward, or done something ridiculous like offer his arm as though to a debutante, Chris probably would have slammed the door and fled. But Zach just smiled easily, hands in his pockets, and nodded toward the car. “C’mon, we’ve got reservations.”

Despite Zach’s calm, Chris couldn’t help but feel self-conscious. The banter was usually effortless, but Chris couldn’t open his mouth without his brain screaming this is a date DON’T FUCK IT UP. His mind went in to overdrive – what if this was a disaster? They would inevitably be working together again, not to mention their overlapping circle of friends. What if this didn’t work at all? What if he was too straight for Zach? What if…?

But then a car swerved in front of them and when Zach dropped the word “onanistic” into his lengthy verbal abuse of the other driver, Chris broke into helpless peals of laughter. Safely stopped at a red light, Zach turned to look at Chris with a crooked smile. “Get out of your head, man. It’s just me.”

And that Chris could deal with.

 

The restaurant was small, low-key, and Italian; Zach must have known the owner because they were promptly escorted to a table in a nook in the back. The lights were low but candles were burning brightly on the tables. When the owner left them to themselves, Chris rolled his eyes in mock irritation and muttered, “Candles, really? If you try to do that Lady and the Tramp thing where we share the spaghetti noodle, I’m gonna gag.”

Chris immediately went red, terrified he’d set himself up for some gag reflex or blowjob joke that was going to make him incredibly uncomfortable under the circumstances, but Zach didn’t seem to notice the set-up or the blushing. “No need,” he chuckled. “If anyone brings out an accordion, I’m going to run screaming.”

At that, Chris allowed himself to exhale. Once he got his inner monologue under control, things went surprisingly well. Zach ordered the perfect wine and Chris managed to keep himself from nervously nibbling the crust off the bread and then mashing the soft inside into a small, doughy singularity. On-A-Date Zach turned out to be remarkably similar to Regular Zach, only maybe a bit quieter when he teased a marinara-splotched Chris for being the messiest eater on this particular branch of the evolutionary tree.

“Only in comparison to you,” Chris shot back, wiping a bit of sauce from his cheek. “What, do you use Scotch-Guard for aftershave?”

“Industrial deck sealant. It’s the key to my ineffability.”

It was so easy – like any other meal with Zach. Chris had half-prepared himself for lewd pick-up lines or getting felt up under the table or nonstop cooing and kissy-faces – all the ways he would have deflected if he’d been the one doing the courting – but Zach was just Zach and Chris was just Chris. It made the younger man wonder if this was actually their first date at all. But then dessert came out with only one fork and when Chris took the bite of tiramisu that Zach offered him, sighing softly at the light texture and sweetness, Zach’s eyes went dark with such lust that Chris was surprised he didn’t just burst into flames.

Then the moment passed and the waitress came over with a second fork; Chris didn’t know whether to thank her or curse her. Zach paid, and Chris let him without too much squabbling, still a bit dazed from the look on Zach’s face a few minutes earlier.

The car ride home was spent mostly in silence, but a comfortable silence borne of an abundance of good food and good company.   Chris let himself think through something he’d realized at dinner but hadn’t had the time to ponder. He looked back on his admittedly somewhat shady dating history and realized he’d never been pursued. He’d done a bit of pursuing himself – though, truth be told, he’d never really had to expend much effort where women were concerned. Even his more serious relationships had just sort of… happened. He had to think back to high school, when he still had braces and his acne was in full swing, to remember what his friends called “the thrill of the chase.” It hadn’t been all that thrilling then, and later he thought of “the chase” as something only valued by guys who couldn’t actually get laid.

So this was all kind of new to him. And even though the ending might be pretty well known in advance – it wasn’t like Zach seriously had to prove he was worthy of Chris, if anything it should have been the other way around – Chris was actually excited to see how they’d get there.

When they returned to his apartment, Chris nervously cracked a joke about Zach walking him to the door, but Zach just serenely responded with, “What kind of date would this be if I didn’t?”

The night air was cooler than Chris had expected, and he convinced himself that the tiny shiver that shot down his spine had more to do with the breeze than the warmth of the man beside him as they walked up to his front stoop. He had the paranoia and the presence of mind to glance around for paparazzi or interested-looking passersby with cell phones, but the neighborhood seemed pretty empty.

Chris’ mind was racing as he turned the key in the lock. What should he do now? Crack a joke to break the tension? Invite Zach in for coffee? Invite Zach in for “coffee”? Stand there like an idiot, staring at the door? For lack of a better option, he went with the latter, until he heard his name. Even then, Zach had to repeat it before he turned around.

Chris spun around on his heels to see Zach standing much closer than he had expected. He marveled at the injustice in the universe that Zach should look so calm and collected when he felt like he was about to have a stroke. “Did you have a good time?” Zach asked, so close now that Chris could feel the older man’s breath on his cheek.

“Y-yes,” he stammered.

“Good.”

Zach leaned in and Chris’ brain went into overdrive. First he was struck with the bizarre notion that someone with a camera was about to pop out of the bushes, then he thought back to how much garlic he’d had at dinner but then figured that was probably okay because Zach had had garlic too, and as long as the disparity in garlic consumption was not too great, it probably wouldn’t be unpleasant to—

Then Zach’s lips were on his, and Chris’ mind went blissfully blank. For a long time and not nearly long enough, there was only the gentle, sliding pressure of Zach’s lips, the brush of Zach’s fingers curling softly against the nape of his neck, the warmth of Zach’s body blocking the slightly chilled air.

Then Zach was pulling away, and Chris was about to protest until he saw that the look was back in Zach’s eyes. If it had been breathtaking from across the table, it was purely devastating now. Zach was gazing down at him through lowered eyelashes with an intensity that made Chris’ bones melt, and the low light threw shadows across Zach’s angular features that made him look like sin itself.

Wanna come inside? The words – in all their double-entrendrefied glory – were on Chris’ lips when Zach leaned in for one last, quick kiss and then stepped back. “Goodnight, Chris,” he said with a small smile and a slow blink. Then he was gone.

Chris managed to step through the door and lock it behind him before nearly falling against the wall for support, his eyes wide and his mouth still gaping.



“I’m not gonna survive this,” he muttered to no one in particular.

 

Chapter Text

A week and three days later, they still had yet to have their second date. While Chris wasn’t actually all that busy, it seemed like he only had obligations during the slim windows when Zach was free. They had managed coffee together twice, but there had been cameras and autograph seekers and neither dared talk about anything more than superficialities.

It was driving Chris insane. He had woken up the morning after their date ready to turn the tables on Zach, get him as flustered as Chris had felt when Zach kissed him and then promptly said goodnight. Well, maybe not as flustered, but at least get his heart pounding a little. Chris smiled at that thought every time it flitted through his mind.

So when Zach called Chris to tell him he’d finished filming early (and “early” in this sense meant “before midnight”), Chris told him he’d pick Zach up at his house. “And make sure you’re wearing socks,” Chris said, laughing silently at the irony. He couldn’t imagine the older man scrambling around for anything, let alone the right socks. He was pretty sure Zach could actually command socks out of thin air.

As Zach slid into the passenger seat, Chris noticed how exhausted he looked. He wavered for a moment, unsure of his plan, but Zach sighed, “Thank god for this. I haven’t seen anything besides the Heroes set and my own bed in over a week.”

Chris wondered whether he should kiss Zach just then, trying to decide if it was too soon to do the kiss-hello thing, really wanting the feeling of Zach’s mouth against his but also terrified of starting the evening on an awkward note… But Zach settled back into the seat and asked, “So, what are we doing?”

Chris grinned and put the car in gear. “We’re going cosmic bowling.”

Zach rolled his eyes. “Gosh, I’d love to, but my twelfth birthday isn’t for, like, another month.” But he had a smile on his face.

“Oh, c’mon, you love it: teenagers, strobe lights, ear-splitting techno music. I might even teach you to eat onion rings.”

“Bowling, yes. Onion rings, no.”

“Ah, but you have yet to experience the perfect ketchup-to-ring ratio that results in the ultimate deep-fried experience.”

“Well, there’s your problem. I have no desire for any kind of deep-fried experience, ultimate or no.”

“Food elitist.”

“Gustatory plebian.”

 

It was a massacre. Pins flying everywhere – no man left standing.

“It’s all in the wrist.”

Zach groaned. “Well you’d know, wouldn’t you?”

Chris grinned wickedly. “Maybe I would.” He was used to cracking dirty jokes around Zach. He wasn’t used to meaning them, but he was getting there. “Maybe you’d like to find out.” It shut Zach up just long enough to let Chris do his Strike Victory Dance uninterrupted. It was like the Spare Victory Dance, only longer. Much longer, in fact, than the I Actually Managed to Hit Any Pins at All Dance, and with more ass-shaking.

“Classy,” Zach said, shaking his head but laughing as he stood to bowl the next frame. Chris brushed past him, briefly grazing his fingers against Zach’s palm as he went. Despite the strobe lights, the bowling alley was just dark enough – and the clientele sufficiently distracted – for him to lean a little too close to Zach when they bent over the scoring screen, or to reach an arm around him with the pretense of picking up his drink.

“You bowl like Fred Flintstone,” laughed Chris.

“I do not!” Zach huffed irritably, picking up his ball and getting ready to bowl again. Only eight pins left. After an approach that never failed to make Chris giggle in its earnestness, Zach chucked the ball down the lane angrily and some how managed to knock down the rest of the pins. Far too dignified for a victory dance, he merely thrust both hands in the air and said something that sounded like “HUZZAH!”

Chris popped up out of his chair to give Zach a high-five that lingered maybe a little to long. When he was sure he had Zach’s full attention, Chris licked his lips. Not lewdly, just like he normally would, but without taking his eyes off Zach. The older man’s smile faltered for the briefest of moments and heat rose in his eyes. Then it was gone and Zach was grinning widely again. 

“Your turn, Wilma.”

And god, it was fun. Chris felt his own breathing hitch whenever he snuck a touch in passing or caught Zach staring at him. He couldn’t sell Zach on the onion rings, but they compromised on a basket of curly fries that the older man was enjoying way more than he wanted to let on. They were flirting like kids, trying to see what they could get away with, only with the certainty that Zach wasn’t going to wake up tomorrow and decide he was in love with the captain of the football team.

All too soon, however, Zach was yawning between every frame and even Chris was starting to get a headache from the strobe lights. “Let’s go before you turn into a pumpkin,” he said with a grin.

“Alright,” muttered Zach, “just put your pink ball back.” He gestured at the bright fuchsia bowling ball that Chris had repeatedly labeled as “totally the secret to my success.”

Chris stuck out his tongue. “You’re just jealous because you got stuck with the blue balls.”

“Not for much longer,” growled Zach in passing, so low that Chris wasn’t sure he was even supposed to hear it… until Zach turned around and stuck his tongue out at Chris. The younger man grinned and hoped the lighting was dark enough to cover the blush he could feel spreading down his neck.

 

Zach didn’t say a word as Chris walked him up the driveway to his house, and the younger man was grateful for the lack of opportunity to say something entirely stupid. Zach’s front door was openly visible to the street, so they had to slip inside to say goodbye. Zach had barely closed the front door when Chris invaded his space, pressing their mouths together.

After a brief second of awkwardness, Chris got his bearings, resting his hand at Zach’s waist and kissing him properly. The older man parted his lips in invitation, but Chris took his time. Though Chris knew his own lips attracted a lot of attention, he couldn’t imagine a more beautiful mouth than Zach’s. There was something like a deadly precision in the way Zach formed his words, every movement calculated and controlled, and Chris wanted to taste it for himself.

When Chris felt his self-control start to waver, he pulled back. It was incredibly difficult, but – despite popular opinion – he could think beyond instant gratification. And the sweet, open look in Zach’s eyes was worth it.

“Good night, Zach,” he said with a blushing smile, and walked out the door.

He made it all the way to the car before indulging in the I Kissed Zach Victory Dance.

 

&&&

 

Joe Don Baker’s face burned its way onto Zach’s TV screen as the DVD menu looped on unwatched in the background. Their Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathon had ended on “Mitchell.” Begun and ended on “Mitchell,” in fact, despite Chris’ earlier insistence on getting to “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.”

At some point, Zach had gotten up to refill the chip bowl and Chris had snuck a quick thank-you kiss. At some point after that, Zach had settled his thigh against Chris’ on the couch. And at some point after that… well, Chris wasn’t entirely clear on the sequence of events, but pretty soon he was straddling Zach’s lap and shoving his tongue in the older man’s mouth as Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot entertained themselves on the flat screen.

Zach’s mouth was a miracle, no getting around that. He alternated sweet, teasing kisses with slow, deep sweeps of his tongue, always keeping Chris wanting just a little bit more. And Chris was no slouch at this, either – he quickly picked up on the things that made the older man gasp and press harder into his mouth. There was this surprisingly liberating feeling of being a kid again – no fame, no baggage, just sitting on the couch making out with someone he really, really liked. The fact that this someone was male only occasionally popped into his mind. Zach had to be hard, at least as hard as Chris was, but Chris kept just enough space between their bodies that he couldn’t tell for sure.

And Zach really was the perfect gentleman, letting Chris set the pace without pushing him. At that moment, though, his long, clever fingers were sneaking under the hem of Chris’ shirt to tease the sensitive skin at the small of his back. When Chris pulled away to gasp, Zach let his mouth trail down Chris’ jaw to his throat, kissing and nipping gently.

Since his mouth was presently unoccupied, Chris felt the need to pick up the thread of the earlier conversation. “What the base system lacks is – oh – standardization. I mean, we all think we know what we’re talking about, but I knew this girl whose first base included oral sex.”

Zach laughed against Chris’ neck. “How is it that you didn’t marry her on the spot?”

“Believe it or not, turned out she had pretty, uh, pretty low standards.”

“So what base are we at now?”

Chris had gotten so used to faking it for cameras and photo shoots that he had completely forgotten what sexy actually felt like. It had to be this – Zach touching his bare skin like it was the most precious thing he’d ever laid hands on, Zach tasting his mouth like it was a fine wine to be savored leisurely. It made Chris feel delicious and had him aching to return the favor.

“Well, from what I can remember of my high school’s particular version—” Chris’ abs clenched as Zach found the pulse point on his neck and covered it with his mouth, biting down and then, just as suddenly, pulling back.

“Sorry,” Zach gasped. “I’m getting carried away.”

“S’okay,” Chris breathed into Zach’s ear. “I don’t have anything important for a few days. You can mark me.”

Jesus, Chris!” Zach’s arms tensed like it was taking all the strength in his body to keep from pulling Chris’ hips flush with his own. “You can’t say things like that. Not yet, anyway.”

Suddenly, Chris understood for the first time just how much Zach was holding back. Chris wanted so badly to see Zach just let go, but at the same time… “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be a cocktease.”

Zach sighed and closed his eyes, bringing his hands up to rest on Chris’ shoulders. “No, no. I know. But this needs to be on your terms, Chris. I want you so badly, and I can wait, but… you should know that I have limits.”

Chris reached up and took one of Zach’s hands in his own. “You mean you’re not as perfect as you look?”

Zach laughed mirthlessly, opening his eyes again. “God, don’t even say that.” He placed his other hand tenderly against Chris’ cheek. “Look, I’ve felt this for a long time. Longer than I’d like to admit. I’ve only got one chance to win you over, and I’m terrified I’m going to scare you off the second it really sinks in that I’ve got a dick.”

It looked like that had been difficult for Zach to say, and Chris wasn’t sure whether to throw his arms around the older man or smack him upside the back of the head. “Winning me? You think that’s what this is about? Zach, you won me a long time ago. I’m in this. I mean, it’s all new for me, but I’m really in this. And I’m coming to terms with, y’know… your dick.”

There was a second of stunned silence, then both men exploded with laughter. Chris actually slid off Zach’s lap on to the floor, and Zach fell over on the couch, clutching his stomach. “You did NOT just say that!”

“Shut up!” yelped Chris, bounding up from the floor to dig his fingers into Zach’s ribs in a vain attempt to tickle the smartass out of him.

“’I’m coming. To terms. With your dick,’” Zach howled. “That is epic. I want to chisel that on something for posterity.”

Both men eventually laughed themselves out, Chris until he started hiccupping and Zach until his breath stopped coming in wheezes. Chris collapsed sideways, half-sprawled against Zach’s torso. “I feel like I should be really embarrassed right now,” he moaned between hiccups. “But I’m not.”

Zach reached a hand up to trace Chris’ cheekbone. “It’s because you meant it.” Chris pulled a face and Zach gurgled a little, his body obviously still in some kind of laughter refractory period. “No, I know what you were trying to say. I went through all this when I was seventeen, so it’s kind of far away for me. Please, please tell me if I’m pushing you too much.”

“No, Zach, you aren’t, not at all.” Chris took a deep breath, wondering if what he was about to say was crossing the line. “And maybe – not tonight, I don’t think, but soon – you could push a little farther.”

Zach closed his eyes again and Chris watched a shiver run down the full length of his body. “I’m, um,” he said, a little too quietly. “I’m going to need a minute.”

“O-Okay,” Chris stuttered, leaping up off the couch and heading to the kitchen. His mouth suddenly felt dry, and he drained half a glass of cold water before considering dumping the rest over his head. He refrained, though, and when he got back, Zach was looking at the case for the next Mystery Science Theater DVD.

“Did you want to watch this one?” he asked.

“I’d rather just kiss. If that’s alright.”

Zach smiled and scooted over to make room for Chris on the couch. “That sounds amazing.”

 

When the sun hit Chris full in the face the next morning, he woke to find himself sprawled awkwardly on the couch. He had drooled on the cushions, his mouth tasted a bit like feet from omitting his nightly brushing, and his left arm was completely numb where it lay under Zach. Chris smiled.

Chapter Text

Chris felt like shit.

The day had started with a call from his agent to say that he hadn’t gotten the part in that indie movie whose script he was so infatuated with. After a great deal of wheedling – which he now regretted – he had gotten it out of his agent that the director had pronounced Chris “too pretty” for the part.

“What the fuck does that even mean?” he whined to his agent, who was not in a sympathetic mood. 

“It means you’re being unfairly discriminated against. Let me know how the class-action lawsuit turns out.” He could practically hear her eyes roll through the phone. Weren’t agents supposed to be more supportive?

The rest of the day continued in much the same manner – no great tragedies, just a series of annoying incidents so petty that Chris felt ridiculous to let them bother him. Spilled coffee, a new pair of jeans shrinking in the wash to a pornographically tight fit, a blown car stereo fuse without a spare. If Chris had owned a dog, it would have pooped on the rug and then run away; it was just that kind of day.

Things finally started to look up when he got in the car with Zach that evening. “I’m too pretty,” he griped.

“I’ve been saying that for years,” Zach said, and leaned over to thoroughly kiss Chris’ pout away.

Chris sighed. “Can’t we just go back inside and make out?”

“Absolutely not! I haven’t gone to see a movie in the theater in ages, and you owe me for making me watch ‘Mitchell.’” He put his hand on the nape Chris’ neck and gently rubbed at the tension there. “Besides, I’ll make it worth your while.”

Chris relaxed back in the seat and closed his eyes, visions of good old-fashioned movie theater groping dancing in his head.

 

But there was no groping. They barely even got to sit together. Some reality TV “star” managed to crash his car into a lamppost and get into a drunken fight with the responding police officers right in front of the theater. It would have been hilarious if there hadn’t been cameras everywhere. Zach and Chris were spotted right away, and though they easily played it off as friends just catching a movie together, neither dared to do anything more than sit next to the other.

The theater was also more full than Chris had anticipated – he wasn’t sure how much he could whisper to Zach without being overheard, so apart from “More popcorn?” he mostly stayed silent. He had to practically sit on his hands to keep from touching Zach, and he felt guilty for the way he kept glancing at Zach when neither of them could do anything about it. The events of the day had left him feeling, well, needier than usual, and he had sort of hoped that he and Zach might take the next step. 

But the cameras were still around when the movie let out – apparently some drugs had been found in the wrecked car – and they agreed with mutual frustration that Chris should take a cab home. The cab ride was an instant mood killer, not that there had been much of a mood left to kill. The driver had not only recognized him, but actually asked him to do a Shatner impersonation, and Chris wondered if he could survive flinging himself out of a moving vehicle on the highway if he tucked and rolled on the landing.

Somehow Chris managed to make it through the ride and even tip the guy (though not especially generously) without throwing a punch, but when he got inside his apartment, he slammed the door with enough force to knock a picture from the wall and break the glass.

“Fucking perfect,” he muttered, picking up the glass shards.

Chris was just getting ready to call his sister to engage in an epic bitching session when he heard the knock on the door. He half-expected the cabbie to be back, a bunch of his Trekkie friends in tow, but he was greeted with a vision so perfect he was sure he was hallucinating: Zach, his shirt unbuttoned at the collar and rolled up at the sleeves, hair tousled as though he’d not stopped touching it on the car ride over, his eyes wide and his lips parted.

Chris maintained just enough composure to speak one word: “Please.”

Zach had his shoulders pinned solidly to the wall and was well on his way to sucking a spectacular bruise into Chris’ neck before the younger man knew what was happening. “So,” Zach growled, removing his lips from Chris’ throat just long enough to speak. “This is, what, our fourth date?”

“Yeah, if you count… nnnngh, if you count the – oh, fuck yes – the movie here the other night.” Chris scrabbled to find something to hang on to on the lean, hard body writhing against him.

“So I would not” – Zach’s voice was disturbingly steady as he dropped his hands to Chris’ hips – “be remiss in asking whether you’d care to advance our relationship?”

Chris whimpered by way of an answer, finally twisting a hand in that soft black hair and pulling Zach’s head up to kiss him soundly. The low, sweet sound that worked its way up Zach’s chest gave Chris the courage to reach for the older man’s belt and crush their hips together.

He gasped at the feeling of Zach’s erection pressing against him. The sensation was strange, but not disagreeable in the least. All he had to do was rock his hips to make both of them grunt with pleasure. Zach was pressing harder into him now, his kisses becoming messier and less controlled until—

Zach froze. He pulled back to look at Chris, eyes wild. “If you want me to st—“

“Don’t you fucking dare.” The words were out of his mouth as soon as he met Zach’s eyes, and he drove the point home by biting Zach’s lower lip until Zach shoved him back into the wall with such force that he had to gasp for breath.

Zach shoved his knee between Chris’ legs to force them apart, and Chris responded by shoving hard into the other man’s thigh. It was what Chris had been waiting for – the last thread of Zach’s control snapped and he began grinding their hips together with such force that Chris’ feet nearly left the floor.

For his part, Chris just tried to hang the hell on. Dammit, a dry hump against the wall was not supposed to feel this good, but the fabric of his underwear rubbed mercilessly against the head of his cock with each perfect thrust and Zach’s hips were steady and unrelenting as a fucking metronome and before Chris could even moan he was coming, spurting hot and hard in his pants.

Chris’ orgasm seemed to trigger Zach’s own, and Chris had to dig his fingers into Zach’s shoulders to ride it out. Once Chris got his feet back firmly on the floor, he pulled Zach to lean against him, trusting the wall to keep them both upright. They shuddered against each other for a few long moments, foreheads pressed together and mouths slack and panting. Chris, studiously trying to ignore the dry cleaning nightmare he was in for, imagined what the two of them looked like in silhouette, backlit by the bulb near his front door.

“For the record,” said Zach with some effort, “that’s not what I had planned when I knocked on the door.”

Chris huffed out a breath that was too sated to be a real laugh. “Whatever you planned, let me assure you that this was infinitely better.”

“Better than Mad Libs and waffles?”

“Zach, I am, like, 97 percent sure that you do not currently have any waffles on your person.”

Zach leaned in and kissed the corner of his mouth. “You like me better than waffles, anyway.”

“Yeah,” said Chris, totally unable to wipe the stupid grin off his face. “Yeah, I do.”

 

&&&

 

It started with a text from Hayden.

Zs had a rough day - he needs u

Half an hour later, Chris finagled his way onto the Heroes set, carrying a bag of Thai takeaway and a couple of beers. He’d been to the set before, but Zach had always been there to convince security that Chris wasn’t, in fact, some nut trying to sneak illicit YouTube footage on a cell phone camera. He started to feel guilty for actually using the line “Don’t you know who I am?” – cliché and asshole-ish all in one go – but then he saw the relieved look on Hayden’s face when she spotted him.

“Love him good,” she said, lifting up on her toes to peck him on the cheek as she passed. 

Chris had the thought that perhaps he should be embarrassed at a 19-year-old girl commenting on his love life, but he was mostly just happy that Zach’s friends had now become his friends. He knocked on the door to Zach’s trailer and got an ambiguous grunt in response.

Zach looked exhausted. He’d taken a shower, at least, but he was wearing a gray t-shirt/sweatpants combo. Chris didn’t think Zach realized it, but his clothing choices were practically a mood ring. Chris decided to just get down to it. “What happened?”

“Don’t really want to talk about it,” Zach said, slumping down into a chair.

“Fair enough. I brought food.” Chris set it down on the table.

Zach sighed and finally met his eyes. “Look, I can’t be Zach the Dashing Gentleman Caller tonight. I’m tired and I’m cranky and I’m likely to take it out on you.”

Please,” Chris retorted with mock annoyance. “I’ve dealt with Cranky Zach before. Haven’t seen much of him since his eyebrows grew back in, but I think I still remember well enough.”

Zach groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingertips. “I’m serious, Chris.”

“So am I.” Chris moved to stand behind Zach and set his hands on the older man’s shoulders, thankful when he didn’t pull away. “Zach, I don’t want you to feel like you always need to be on when you’re with me. It’s great when you’re charming and funny, but you’ve got to take a break sometimes and let me give something back.” He started to knead the muscles in Zach’s shoulders and was surprised at the tension there. “Holy hell, what are they doing to you here?”

“Yanking me around on a string for one thing,” Zach said, easing back into Chris’ touch. “Both metaphorically and literally. I’m lobbying for an episode where Sylar gets to be evil while reclining on a stack of pillows and eating raspberries.”

Chris chuckled, digging into a particularly nasty knot. “Villainous pillows? Evil raspberries?”

“The evilest.”

“Hey, let’s move this party to the couch.” 

Once there, Chris maneuvered an unusually pliant Zach until the older man’s head rested on Chris’ knees. He brushed his fingers up Zach’s neck, ran them through his hair. Zach made the most beautiful sound just then, a breathy oh so soft Chris might not have even heard it had the trailer not been completely quiet. He shifted his focus to the older man’s scalp, rubbing the pads of his fingers in slow, firm circles, thoroughly enjoying the feel of Zach’s hair in his hands. He had never gotten to touch it when it was free of whatever gels and mousses and sculpting wax its owner put in there – Chris knew Zach hated the look of his hair without them, but it was so thick and soft to the touch that Chris had fleeting thoughts of flat-out begging Zach to leave it clean. Maybe the offer of more scalp massages would sweeten the deal.

If the shift of Zach’s hips was any indication, Chris might not have to do any begging after all. He gathered up a good deal of hair between his fingers and tugged lightly and, yes, certain parts of Zach’s body were definitely not too tired or cranky for him. Carefully slipping up and off the couch, Chris placed a pillow under Zach’s head and moved down to kneel between his legs on the cushions. Zach made a quiet, confused noise and his eyes held an intoxicating mixture of puzzlement and arousal. Chris leaned over him, not putting all his weight down but allowing Zach to feel the press of his body as he kissed him. He felt a little more of the tension ebb out of Zach and concentrated all his energy into making the older man melt beneath him.

“Chris,” Zach whispered as the younger man drew back, looking at Chris with what had to be the epitome, the Platonic Form of bedroom eyes. He took a moment to wonder how he had lived this long without knowing that, with little more than the touch of his hands and his lips, he could get Zach to look at him like this. 

Before he could do or say something so utterly sappy that it would inevitably ruin the mood, Chris kissed Zach’s jaw, enjoying the now-familiar texture of stubble against his lips. He trailed his mouth down Zach’s throat to the small ridge of collarbone visible at the neck of his t-shirt. He suppressed his urge to bite down, knowing all too well the consequences of incurring the wrath of the makeup department.

Chris scooted back far enough to push the hem of Zach’s shirt up, enjoying the sight and the feel of the skin he bared. The torso beneath the ribs was a vulnerable area, and Chris suddenly felt oddly protective of the man beneath him. He brushed his lips lightly against the soft, warm skin, setting off small tremors in the muscle beneath.

“Careful,” Zach sighed, running his fingers through Chris’ hair. “I’m ticklish.”

The younger man chuckled, but took care to stay away from any spots that made Zach twitch. He dipped his tongue in Zach’s (clean, of course) bellybutton and nuzzled the skin around it, trying not to laugh at the hair that tickled his own nose. “Shit, this isn’t a happy trail. This is a happy highway. A happy thoroughfare. A happy—“

Zach smacked his cheek lightly. “How clever. Now get up here so I can kiss you.”

“Hmmm…” mused Chris, pretending to think it over. “Nope.”

“‘Nope’? You think you’ll get a better offer tonight?”

Chris cut him off by tugging at the waistband of his sweatpants and biting the swell of Zach’s hipbone. “Got a better idea.”

“Chris, you don’t have to—“

“I want to.”

Zach propped himself up on his elbows. “Well, if you expected Cranky Zach to put up any more resistance, you’re shit out of luck.” He lifted his hips to let Chris pull his sweatpants down.

If Chris was honest with himself, he had to admit that he held his breath as he laid Zach bare. He could safely say this was the closest he’d ever been to another man’s junk, and for one horrible moment he thought he was going to laugh out of sheer nerves, and he knew from experience that that was never a good way to start a blowjob.

But, as it turned out, there was no thunder or earthquakes and his face didn’t melt like the guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was just a cock. A fairly nice one, too, though Chris didn’t have enough experience to judge in any kind of objective sense. It was a good size, half-hard, and – most importantly – attached to Zach, who was gazing down at Chris with far more patience than he would’ve had if their positions were reversed.

Chris let out the breath he had been holding, and even that little bit of stimulation was enough to make Zach’s cock twitch, harden a little bit more. Chris felt the pressure of the moment and, not wanting to look like the fumbling teenager he felt like, drew up the courage to take Zach in his hand.

It was a truly odd feeling, familiar and yet not, a mirror image of a well-known action that left Chris briefly disoriented. But Zach seemed to find even the motionless grip of Chris’ hand arousing, and pushed his hips up against it.

Chris got the message. Experimentally, he stroked Zach once, firmly, from root to tip. It made Zach growl, and anything that made Zach growl was worth repeating. So he did. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been surprised to feel the other man’s cock lengthen and harden in his hand, but he was slightly amazed nonetheless. I did that, he thought, somewhat ridiculously, and set about finding other ways to produce the same result.

Chris tried to think about what he liked. A twist of his wrist at the end of a stroke resulted in a pleased hum, but a thumb swiped roughly over the head earned him a stuttered gasp. He glanced up briefly almost as an afterthought and his jaw dropped open at the obvious pleasure washing over Zach’s expressive features. He’d clearly been looking in the wrong direction – all the action was up there. Chris turned his focus to Zach’s face, navigating entirely by touch as he tried to read every twitch of Zach’s lips, every shift of his eyes beneath closed lids.

Zach was fully hard now, and Chris soon felt wetness against his thumb. He looked back down to Zach’s cock and bit his lip, suddenly nervous again. He started to panic a little – he did want to taste Zach, to learn the feel of him in his mouth, but what if he was terrible at it? And if he wasn’t, did he have to swallow? Oh god, what if he hurt Zach somehow…

Chris,” Zach said, either sensing the turmoil in Chris’ head or simply desperate for him to continue. It didn’t matter; Chris saw the raw desire in his friend’s eyes and knew he couldn’t ever resist that even if he wanted to.

Still keeping his hand around Zach’s cock, Chris swiped his tongue across the glistening glans. Zach had a salty, bitter flavor – not great, but not horrible, either. Steeling his nerves, Chris held his breath and tried to swallow Zach all in one go. And promptly gagged when the other man’s cock hit the back of his throat.

He pulled back, choking and coughing. “I can’t—“ he wheezed. “Zach, I don’t think I can—“

“Don’t worry about it,” said Zach with surprising calm, all things considered. “Trust me, it’s overrated anyway. Just focus on the head and the vein on the underside.”

One day soon, Chris was going to have to quiz him about the “overrated” comment, but for now, he just nodded and shifted back into place. This time, he used just the tip of his tongue to trace the vein, and Zach made that wonderful growling sound again.   Next, he tried a long, flat lick, followed by hard, sucking kisses all along the length.

He heard a breathless “More” from up on the couch, and swirled his tongue around the head. He was rewarded with a deep groan and a “God, that feels amazing,” so he repeated the action. A little wiser this time, he took Zach full in his mouth just to feel the weight of him on his tongue. After a few lazy sweeps of his tongue, he closed his lips around Zach and sucked.

Without any warning, Zach’s hips bucked up and Chris was barely able to pull back in time.

“Hold my hips down,” Zach gasped.

Already back in position, Chris ignored every stricture he’d ever heard against talking with his mouth full and said “Huh?” Or at least he tried to – all that came out was a low vibration, one that made Zach fling his head back and swear.

Fuck, I don’t want to choke you. Hold me down.”

Any stupid comment Chris was about to make about Zach’s high opinion of his own size got washed away in the flood of lust at the realization that Chris was rapidly making Zach lose control.   He anchored Zach’s hips with his forearms and went to work in earnest.

He bobbed his head the best he could, feeling awkward as hell but buoyed by the sweet, pleading sounds Zach was making. His jaw ached a little already and he felt like a bit of a wimp for it, but Zach was obviously getting close, so Chris sucked harder, moaning around Zach’s cock in sympathy.

Zach gasped out, “I’m about to— Oh, god, Chris, I’m gonna—“ and then he was coming in long, hot pulses in Chris’ mouth. Chris tried to swallow, he really did, but it was too much, too fast and most of it spilled on Zach’s stomach. 

After one last, soft lick, Chris released Zach’s spent cock and hazarded a look up at his face. And though Chris felt like an inexperienced teenager, his lips rubbed raw and Zach’s cum dripping down his chin, Zach was looking at him as though Chris had just finished painting the Sistine Chapel.

Something snapped in Chris’ brain and he started babbling, vaguely horrified at the insipid words coming out of his mouth. “I didn’t— I’m sorry, I couldn’t swallow, I wanted to, but—“

But Zach just sighed “Shut up” and pushed up on slightly shaky arms to lick Chris’ chin clean before kissing him soundly.

Chris gasped around Zach’s invading tongue, surprised that the other man would want to kiss him after that, but Zach didn’t let up until Chris was breathless and suddenly, gloriously hard. He’d been too nervous at first, and then too wrapped up in Zach’s reactions to notice his own arousal, but now he felt all the pent-up lust hit him at once.

“I think,” Zach said between kisses, “bravery like that should be rewarded.”

Chris thought that giving his boyfriend a blowjob hardly counted as bravery, but Zach was unzipping his fly and pulling him out of his pants and boxers, so Chris happily kept mum on the subject. It wouldn’t be until much later that he’d realize he had thought the word boyfriend without any hesitation.

But at the moment, Chris was entirely focused on whatever marvelous, wicked thing Zach’s hand was doing to him. He wanted to actually look, because damn, but Zach’s mouth was keeping his too busy. His orgasm came quickly, and he cried out against Zach’s mouth as he plummeted over the edge.

They ended up sort of slumped together, Zach against the couch and Chris against Zach. Chris hated to break the mood, feeling sated and content to rest against Zach’s shoulder, but his stomach would not be ignored. “Food’s getting cold,” he said.

Zach laughed, a low rumble in his chest. “Food and sex – is that all you ever think about? ‘Sex is done, let’s get to the food!’”

Chris sat up and nipped at Zach’s ear. “Brought the food for you, you twit.”

“And I’m grateful,” Zach murmured. He shifted up off the couch. “Let’s get cleaned up first.”

Chris flopped back on the cushions, happy to indulge in a few last moments of bonelessness. “For the record,” he said, “that’s exactly what I had planned when I knocked on the door.” 

Chapter Text

“We’re going to have to actually talk about this at some point,” Zach said in between sips of tea. Like he was referring to a discussion of the finer points of Marx’s historical materialism and not…

Chris mentally steeled himself to finish the thought: “and not whose cock goes up whose ass.” Because as hard as he’d fallen for Zach, as much as he’d enjoyed what they’d done together so far, the unspoken thought still troubled his mind – is this really going to happen? And how much do I want it to?

“I don’t want to pressure you,” Zach said quietly, leaning forward. “I’m fine with where we are now – I love where we are now. And we can stay here as long as you want. But we need to talk about it.”

Zach was a top. Chris had known enough gay men to understand that, and understand what it meant. He’d never asked Zach if he’d consider bottoming – Chris was just getting around to being able to think the question in the first place. It wasn’t like he was repulsed by the idea of Zach… doing that… to him. And he’d certainly spent plenty of time getting to know Zach’s man-bits very intimately. It was just – and he was trying desperately to phrase it right so he could say it without sounding like a dickhead – that 29-ish years as a straight man in contemporary American culture hadn’t prepared him to discuss anal sex with another man, let alone have it.

He opened his mouth to say this, but nothing came out.

“Found a way to render Chris Pine speechless,” Zach said with a wry grin. He took Chris’ hand in his across the table. “Will wonders never cease?”

 

“So I’ve got all these words,” Chris said, trying to focus on the road. “But I don’t think any of them are the right ones.”

“Why not?”

“Too clinical.”

“Try me.”

“Penetration. Lubricant. Sphincter.”

Zach made a choking sound. “Don’t say sphincter. Never say sphincter.”

“I regretted it the moment it left my mouth.”

“Okay,” said Zach, recovering quickly. “Two things: first, that’s what she said.” He dissolved into giggles and Chris smacked him in the shoulder while trying very, very hard not to laugh himself.

“Alright, Michael Scott. Second thing?”

“Penetration. Let’s work with that.”

“So… it has to happen, right?” Chris asked, afraid the rising intonation would give him away.

Zach knew anyway. “Well, there’s no law that says it has to happen. Matter of fact, there are several laws that say it shouldn’t, but most of those are off the books now anyway.”

“You’re deflecting.”

“I’m not convinced we should have this conversation while you’re driving.”

“As magnificent as your dick is, I don’t think discussing it is going to make me run off the road.”

“It’s been known to happen,” quipped Zach, but he remained silent for the remainder of the short drive back to his house.

Chris pulled into the driveway, shut off the ignition, and tipped his head back to rest against the seat. “But you want it to happen. Penetration, I mean. Not driving off the road.”

“I want it, yes. But that doesn’t make it the quintessence of sex.”

“But it kind of is, isn’t it?” Chris sat up, turning to face Zach. “Not that penetration is the only thing or the best thing, but it’s still the thing. I mean, there’s all kinds of intimacy involved, and trust, and deep… emotional… shit. More so than with other things. And words are failing me completely now.”

“You’re doing fine.”

Chris bit his lip, then decided to just go for it. “Would you bottom for me? If I wanted that?”

“Yes,” Zach said without any hesitation. He’d obviously thought about it – Zach didn’t do anything without careful consideration, and that more than anything else made up Chris’ mind for him.

“Well… that’s not what I want. Not for now, anyway.”

“Okay.”

With anyone else there might have been some kind of admission in the word, whether victory or defeat, anticipation or dread. But with Zach, it was just “okay,” just acknowledgment that he heard Chris. That he understood.

Zach held his gaze for a long time, put a comforting hand on his shoulder. Then his face broke into a grin. “You’re far too tense. Let’s go inside so I can suck you off.”

Chris laughed gratefully. “Sounds like a plan.”

 

Chris felt a little bit guilty for wasting water; he really did. But the prospect of having Zach naked and wet and completely free of other distractions did strange things to his sense of ecological responsibility. Thus yet another shower had turned into a heavy makeout session only marginally involving soap.

He loved the feeling of hot water flowing down his body, so much so that he almost didn’t notice one of Zach’s hands drifting down his back, lower and lower until the older man’s fingers were dipping between… Immediately Chris’ brain came back on line and though he consciously tried not to stiffen, Zach felt his discomfort anyway.

“Relax,” Zach whispered, mouthing at Chris’ earlobe. “I just want you to get used to being touched here.”

“I know,” replied Chris, willing the tension out of his body and spreading his legs a little in invitation. “It’s just… weird, is all.”

Zach let his fingers slowly circle Chris’ hole, not pushing in but gently stimulating the delicate skin there. Chris was already so turned on that it felt fantastic, awkwardness aside, and he buried his head in Zach’s neck to focus on the sensation.

“Good?” asked Zach.

Chris grunted his assent against Zach’s skin, slowly starting to rock his hips.

The older man changed his pattern from circling to a simple up-and-down motion in time with Chris’ movements. “There’s nothing dirty or shameful about this,” Zach whispered, and Chris was glad the older man couldn’t see him blush. “It’s just you and me, and whatever feels good, feels good.”

Chris moaned his agreement, rocking a little harder, a little faster into Zach. He didn’t mean to distract the older man, but there again, hotwetnaked Zach short-circuited his higher thought processes. When Zach finally brought his other hand around to encircle both their erections in a hot, slippery, perfect grip, Chris nearly keened with relief.

 

“So I don’t want you to take this as a reflection on you, but you must have dated some really stupid girls.”

“Not stupid.”

Zach rolled his eyes from his position between Chris’ spread legs.

“Okay, not uniformly stupid. But my type is – was – the sweet, innocent—“

Zach actually cackled at that. “Not the type to stick their fingers up your ass, in other words.”

“Not so much.” Chris relaxed back onto the surfeit of pillows behind him. Those were the last words he spoke for a while, leaning more toward stuttered gasps and moans as Zach bent over his cock and proceeded to drive Chris insane with his mouth.

“Shit, Zach, I’m gonna—“

Zach pulled away, and even though Chris had expected it, that didn’t make it any less frustrating. Chris dug his fingers into the blanket to keep from either reaching for himself or grabbing Zach by the hair and forcing him to finish what he’d started. Zach still had a great deal to teach him about patience.

“Just can’t believe no one’s done this to you before,” Zach muttered almost to himself as he warmed the lube up in his hands. Fortunately, he wasted no time once he was ready, slowly but insistently pressing against Chris’ entrance. “Gotta relax for me, Chris. Think about that time I went down on you in the backseat of that limo, my mouth around your cock, your hand stuffed in your mouth so you wouldn’t moan…”

The words had the desired effect, and Chris relaxed enough to let Zach push a finger into his body, though he couldn’t help but gasp at the intrusion.

“Okay?”

“Yeah, but… fuck, that feels really strange.”

“I know,” said Zach, reaching a slick hand up to pump Chris’ erection, which had flagged a bit from nerves. “It gets better.”

Zach let him adjust before slowly adding a second finger. Chris tried his best not to squirm at the unusual fullness, but once he relaxed, he could kind of start to see how this might, under certain circumstances, feel good.

So he was a little unnerved to open his eyes and see Zach grinning down at him like a deranged Cheshire cat. “What?” he asked. No answer. “What?”

Zach’s grin, if possible, became wider. “Oh, nothing. I just want to make sure I see the look on your face.”

Another question was forming on Chris’ lips when he felt Zach crook his fingers slightly and press up and… And then someone held a blazing match to Chris’ spine, which lit up like a trail of gunpowder. He half-expected the top of his head to blow off and almost looked forward to collapsing dead on the pillows, but Zach was squeezing his cock with one hand while the other kept working its voodoo, and then Chris was coming hard, body wracked with spasms of bone-deep pleasure.

When he could once again muster the will to speak, he moaned “What the fuck?” Or he tried to – it came out as mostly vowels.

Zach’s eyes practically danced with glee. “Chris Pine,” he stated regally, doing a piss-poor job of keeping the laughter out of his voice. “I’d like you to meet your prostate.”

“Son of a bitch.”

&&&

It was a Wednesday. Or maybe a Thursday. Probably Wednesday. The point was, it was just another day of the week. As per usual when they ended up spending the night together, Zach was up first, and Chris woke to the smell of pancakes cooking in the kitchen.

He dragged himself out of bed, knowing that if he wanted bacon he would have to make it himself, since Zach refused to even touch “those slabs of greasy pig fat.” Chris would eventually wear him down; oh yes, he would. The mystical power of bacon was on his side.

It was close quarters with the two of them both at the stove, but it worked. Chris playfully maligned Zach’s pancake-flipping abilities and Zach threatened to withhold the fruits of his labor until Chris apologized, which he did. Mostly with his tongue. Breakfast was a largely quiet affair, punctuated by Chris slurping his juice and Zach admonishing him for slurping his juice, and Chris slurping his juice even louder. Zach washed the dishes and Chris dried – the dishwasher was broken again.

Zach gently reminded him to call a repairman because, dammit, he was not getting dishpan hands because of Chris’ stubbornness, but Chris stopped him with a kiss, surprisingly sweet and tender.

“Tonight,” Chris said.

Zach’s eyebrows shot up. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“I won’t hold you to it, I mean, if—“

Tonight,” Chris repeated.

The smile that spread across Zach’s face lit up Chris’ insides like the Vegas strip. “Okay. Tonight.”

 

There was no way Chris was letting Zach off the hook, not after the day he’d had. It hadn’t been bad – not at all, in fact – but once Chris had spoken to Zach that morning, all he could think about was sex. And not in an “I’m a guy, so I think about sex all the time” way. In a pathological, self-destructive way. He spent a long meeting with his agent trying desperately not to think about Zach bending him over the big mahogany desk. She had figured out something was up, but Chris prayed that she hadn’t identified precisely what, as inexplicable boners tended to complicate working relationships.

By the time he got back home from a full day of meetings and errands, the situation was almost comical. He’d gotten stuck in traffic next to a construction site and in the steady thumping of a nail gun he’d practically felt the rhythm of Zach thrusting into him. Luckily, the gentleman in the car behind him had been kind enough to bring Chris back to reality by leaning on his horn and gesturing enthusiastically.

Once home, he flopped down on the couch and tried to come up with ways to distract himself until Zach got there. He had pretty much narrowed his choices down to a Simpsons marathon or epic masturbation when his cell phone chirped. The text was from Zach:

Fortune favors the bold – I’m done for the day. I’ll pick up food on the way home.

Chris laughed aloud at the image of Zach hunched over his much-hated phone; it had probably taken him half an hour to type that out and included frustrated mutterings like “Milo, where the hell is the emdash on this godforsaken thing?”

He put the nervous energy to work by cleaning. Everything. Nothing in his place was dirty, exactly – not with Zach staying there so often – but he had to do something, so he wiped down the kitchen counters and reorganized the bookshelves. In a fit of sappiness, he even put fresh sheets on the bed, but then reasserted his manly aloofness by flopping down on the bed and rumpling them a bit.

By the time he heard Zach’s key in the door, he was ready to jump out of his skin. It took a large part of his willpower not to run to the door and tackle Zach, and Chris was quite pleased with himself that he waited until after the older man had set the food down before kissing him senseless.

Zach chuckled against the younger man’s mouth. “Been thinking about me?” Chris blissfully hummed an affirmative. “Good. But food first.”

“Zaaa-aaach.”

The older man grinned sinfully. “Gonna need our strength.”

It was all Chris could do not to wolf down his dinner, but he figured heartburn would be a mood killer. Besides, the moment was too good to rush. It was a distinctly odd feeling, knowing exactly what was coming. He didn’t have to flirt or be nervous or try to impress Zach with his stellar wit. Of course, he did all those things anyway, but he didn’t have to – when dinner was finished, when the plates were cleared away and the leftovers packed into the fridge, Chris knew with absolute certainty that Zach would take him by the hand and lead him back to the bedroom.

So he asked about Zach’s day and tried hard to listen to the answer instead of staring at Zach’s lips and imagining the feel of them on his skin. He “accidentally” brushed Zach’s leg under the table and blushed to the tips of his ears at the shamelessly lustful look Zach shot him. The tension was exciting and luscious and Chris almost didn’t want the meal to end. But it had to eventually, and as Chris rinsed the last dish, he felt Zach’s arms wrap around his waist.

“C’mon,” Zach whispered softly into Chris’ ear, and the younger man didn’t bother to hide the shiver that arced down his spine.

It was actually Chris who led Zach back to the bedroom, pausing every few steps for a kiss and a grope until they both stumbled, laughing, into the room. They began a familiar dance – Zach’s hands sliding under the hem of Chris’ shirt. Chris tugging impatiently at Zach’s belt. Zach refusing to stop kissing Chris long enough to take off either of their shirts. Chris teasing Zach about the unnecessary tightness of his pants.

Soon they were both stripped bare and kissing hungrily, still standing in the center of the room. Zach moved to bring them both over to the bed, and for the smallest fraction of a second, Chris hesitated. He couldn’t have said why – he wanted this, wanted it badly – but his body seemed to lag behind his mind. Zach released his mouth to pull back and look him in the eye, and for one terrible moment Chris thought he was going to say something like Are you sure you’re ready? or We don’t have to do this tonight and Chris wasn’t sure he’d have the words to answer.

But Zach merely brought a hand up to cup his face, tracing his thumb over the younger man’s cheekbone. There was so much want in those dark brown eyes that Chris felt his throat tighten and his own eyes start to burn. Zach leaned in to kiss his forehead, his eyelids, the tip of his nose, and Chris had never thought that being taken care of could feel so sexy. He felt broken open and defenseless and alive, so he took a shuddery breath, kissed Zach’s cheek and whispered, “Let’s do this.”

Zach grinned one of his luminous, face-splitting grins and walked Chris backwards until the backs of his knees hit the bed. The younger man fell backward, pulling Zach on top of him. They wrestled a little for position, Chris wanting to feel the strength of his lover’s body. Soon enough, Zach had him back against the pillows and was working him open with slick, agile fingers.

Chris kept his nerves at bay by focusing on the hungry look in Zach’s eyes, the now familiar press of his fingers. “Talk to me,” Chris moaned.

“Wanted this for so long,” Zach murmured, pressing a kiss to the younger man’s raised knee.

“How long?” Chris was genuinely curious; he knew Zach must have felt something for him before he made his Unusually Decent Proposal (as Zach liked to call it), but they hadn’t talked about it.

“Forever. But I couldn’t let myself want you because I thought you were straight.”

This made Chris grin. “I was straight. When did you change your mind?”

“I think it was around the time you begged me to seduce you.”

Chris struggled to keep up with the conversation as Zach’s fingers kept grazing his prostate. “I don’t recall any – oh, god – begging. And you must’ve thought, uh… thought about it before that.”

“Maybe. A little.”

Chris squirmed giddily. “Tell me.”

“That day in Paris when you spilled coffee on yourself.”

“What?”

“You said your shirt was irrevocably stained.”

“So?”

Zach blushed, like he was getting worked up just over the memory. “Irrevocably. It’s a sexy word.”

Chris felt his heart swell in his chest and he couldn’t keep the laughter inside. “You kinky bastard.” Then Zach met his eyes and Chris felt ready to fall apart. “Zach, I’m ready. Please.”

That was all the encouragement Zach needed. He leaned up to favor Chris with a deep, soul-searching kiss as he removed his fingers. Chris heard him slick himself with lube, then felt something hard and significantly larger than fingers pressing against his entrance. With one last, quick glance, Zach asked for permission, and Chris gave it.

It was more intense than anything Chris had ever felt before, a slow, burning pressure invading his body. He felt the strange sensation of opening to Zach, and that in itself was enough to make him gasp, but then Zach let out a stifled, desperate noise and despite the pain, Chris panted, “More.”

Zach pushed in torturously slowly, Chris’ fingers digging harder and harder into Zach’s shoulders as he went. It felt like being split in two, but above him, Zach was trembling, breath huffing out in quiet little sobs that Chris could feel in his bones, and that made everything worth it. When Zach was finally buried in him to the hilt, body quaking with the effort of holding still, Chris whimpered, “Kiss me.”

The kiss was messy, unfocused, and exactly what Chris needed. He caught a glimpse at Zach’s face and the ache in his body melted away at the vulnerability there, the need and the deep, unspoken love. “Oh, Zach,” whispered Chris. “Please… whatever you want… I’m yours.”

And Chris could feel Zach trying to be gentle, the first few stuttered thrusts and pained gasps. But then Chris yanked Zach’s head down for another kiss and dug his fingers into Zach’s ass and the older man’s resolve broke. That’s when it got good. Zach’s hips pistoned smooth and deep into Chris’ body with all the sensual grace he knew Zach was capable of. The burn eased with each fluid push of Zach’s hips, and when the older man hooked his arm under the small of Chris’ back to change the angle, things went from good to amazing.

Zach was already so close, and with every moan of god, yes, Chris, so good, you feel so fucking good, Chris could hear and feel his control slipping. Chris urged him on, pushing back to meet his thrusts and pleading for more, harder, faster, just more. Zach’s rhythm began to falter and when he finally fell over the edge, he keened Chris’ name into his ear. It was easily the sweetest sound he’d ever heard.

Chris held Zach tight as he collapsed upon the younger man’s chest. Chris rubbed a hand across his back, stroked his hair as Zach’s body continued to shudder with pleasure. Chris fully expected him to be out for a while, but soon Zach was rising up on shaky arms, kissing the younger man while carefully pulling out. Chris gasped, suddenly feeling empty where he didn’t know it was possible to feel empty.

The hollowed-out sensation hit him square in the chest, and suddenly Chris couldn’t get enough air in his lungs. He panted awkwardly, wondering vaguely why the hell he was panicking now. But Zach was there, lips soft on Chris’ mouth, his jaw, his throat. “Shhh, it’s okay. I’ve got you. Just breathe, Chris. Slow and deep, okay? I’m right here.”

Zach trailed his lips lazily down Chris’ body to his still-hard cock. Chris began breathing hard for a completely different reason when Zach took him deep without any preamble, sucking so hard Chris’ eyes rolled back in his head. With a sharp cry, he came hard down Zach’s throat, all his muscles tensing at once before going completely, utterly boneless.

As Zach crawled back up his body, running his fingertips over every inch of skin he passed, Chris regained the presence of mind to feel like an absolute mess. He was sweaty and kept shaking even as orgasm turned into afterglow. He’d mentally prepared himself for the pain, maybe a bit of awkwardness, but not this utterly anchorless feeling like the crash after an adrenaline rush. Chris clutched Zach gratefully as the older man rubbed his sides, his back, his arms, slowly bringing Chris back to his body. He wanted to say something profound or witty or even just polysyllabic, but all that came out was Zach’s name, and that seemed to be enough.

“Good?” Zach asked, and it was all Chris could do to nod his head. Zach just smiled tenderly, pressing his lips to Chris’ hairline. “It gets even better, I promise.”

“Better than that? How is that possible?”

Zach chuckled against Chris’ forehead. “Let’s revisit that thought in the morning.”

“I’m gonna be sore as a mofo tomorrow, aren’t I?”

“Depends. Just how sore is a mofo, anyway?” 

“Pretty sore, if he’s been fo-ing your mo all night.”

“Hey, leave my mo out of this.”

Chris laughed, still a little breathless, and Zach tilted his chin up until their eyes met, suddenly serious. “Chris, that was incredible. It hasn’t been like that… I don’t know if it’s ever been like that. I…” He trailed off.

Chris knew. He wasn’t sure that now was the right time to say it, but he knew. “Yeah. Me, too.”

Zach kissed him then, a slow, meaningful union of lips and hands and bodies that had Chris sinking languidly into sleep.  Distantly he felt Zach shift to pull the blanket over both of then, then he finally succumbed to exhaustion and everything faded into the warmth of his body curled against Zach's.

Chapter Text

It started first thing in the morning.

They'd been missing each other for days – Zach had to spend nearly a week in San Diego for a shoot, then their schedules just didn’t match up, then Chris had to fly to New York for a series of meetings that led absolutely nowhere. Chris had gotten back into town the night before, but by the time he’d gotten to Zach’s place, the older man was already asleep. He woke up long enough to pull the covers back and yank Chris down to throw an arm and a leg around him, but when Chris arose late the next morning, he was alone in bed. It wasn’t a surprise – Zach had an early call – but the note taped to the bathroom mirror was.
Chris almost missed it at first, bleary-eyed as he was, but his eyes landed on the words as he brushed his teeth.

Came hard in the shower thinking about your mouth. ~Z

In addition to being more turned on than he’d ever been with a toothbrush in his mouth, Chris was faintly amused that his boyfriend had stopped to sign the note. But it was such a Zach move that it made Chris groan aloud with want, thinking about that elegant hand clutching a pen when just minutes before it had been clutching...

Chris quickly spat and rinsed before he could choke on the toothpaste. He just had to get through the day without asphyxiating or otherwise ending up in the hospital and Zach would be all his. And oh, that thought was not helping to dismantle the tent in his boxers.

What he had to do, Chris thought, was fight back. He mulled it over all through breakfast. His first thought was to make a close-up video of his mouth as he slowly, pornographically licked his lips and send it to Zach’s phone. But that seemed too obvious, and his perfectionist instincts would probably require multiple takes, and the whole thing would probably look ridiculous out of context. No, he needed something more subtle. He finally crafted the perfect text message.

Making a list of things to do to you when you get home – numbers 1-12 involve my tongue…

Well, maybe “subtle” was the wrong word. Chris grabbed a stack of scripts from his bag and headed out; it was too pretty a day to stay cooped up inside, and he needed something to distract him anyway.

It took Zach a couple of hours to reply – he was probably actually busy, the overachiever.

Can’t fucking wait, but remember we have Zoe’s thing tonight.

Chris smacked himself on the forehead. He’d forgotten all about Zoe’s party. A good friend of hers had just sold a script, and she had been very excited to hear both Zach and Chris would be in town and able to make it. Chris was tempted to try to beg out, but deep down he knew Zoe would find new and imaginative ways to make him suffer if he tried. He sent a quick text to Zach.

Shit, does that mean I have to dress up?

The reply came relatively quickly – Chris had forced Zach to get a phone with a full keyboard so he could type in words per minute, rather than minutes per word.

Yeah, wear that tight blue shirt so I can rip it off you later.

Chris had to shut his eyes and let the shiver work its way down his spine before he could breathe again. God, nearly two weeks without Zach and a text message about clothing was enough to make Chris tremble. He could still tease back, though.

I’ll wear the shirt, but if you rip it, I’ll make you pay, nice and slow…

He chuckled to himself at the thought of Zach having to walk around the Heroes set all day, just pondering over all the ways Chris would make him pay… Until, of course, he got an answering message.

Not if I tie you up first, you won’t.

Chris gulped loudly. By now he should really know better than to think he could win a war of words with Zachary Quinto.

 

Zach got held up on set and Chris had to meet him at Zoe’s place. It was just as well – if they’d met up before the party, they never would’ve made it. Probably would’ve just ended up a sweaty, exhausted mess on the floor, and damn did that sound infinitely preferable to playing nice and hobnobbing with Zoe’s friends. They seemed like perfectly interesting people, but Chris couldn’t keep his eyes from wandering toward the doorway to see if Zach had arrived.

Chris was in the middle of an honest-to-god conversation with a stunt guy he had met once before at some party or other when he heard Zach’s laughter from another room. His hand immediately tightened on his glass, and it took all his concentration not to just stop midsentence, turn on his heels, and charge off toward the sound. But he managed to be civil, waiting another minute before finishing his drink and excusing himself to go get another.

When Chris reached the foyer, Zach was chatting with Zoe and her new boyfriend on the far side of the room. Stifling the urge to head straight for him, Chris took a moment to lean against the doorframe and simply watch. Zach was always a pleasure to look at, and though he loved performing, he was even more alluring when he didn’t know he was being watched. At the moment, he was chuckling at whatever wacky story Zoe was telling – complete with animated hand gestures and repeated interruptions from the boyfriend – a wide, easy smile lighting up his face. This was how Chris loved him best, relaxed and happy. He held himself so elegantly, and Chris found he could barely look away from the long, slender fingers gracefully stroking his tie.

It seemed that Zach was keeping an eye out, too, because it wasn’t long before he spotted Chris across the room. With a quick kiss to Zoe’s cheek and a shake of the boyfriend’s hand, he let them get back to greeting other guests and began to wend his way through the crowded room to Chris. Even that sight made Chris a little lightheaded – Zach weaving through the crowd, all sinuous hips and predatory eyes. That’s right, come to me, Chris thought giddily. You’re mine.

Chris didn’t lean in to kiss him like he wanted to. Zoe knew, of course – Zoe had known before they even told her – as did most of their friends, but neither of them was ready to go public, so he had to settle for surreptitiously brushing his fingers against Zach’s palm, a secret gesture that never failed to send the blood rushing faster through his veins.

“Thought you’d never get here,” Chris murmured.

“Fun times with Dave the Diva,” Zach replied with an eye roll, naming an assistant director who couldn’t seem to get along with any other crew members. He quickly raked his eyes over Chris’ body, clad in the infamous blue shirt, and Chris’ heartbeat sped up from the attention. “Fuck, you look delicious tonight,” he breathed, dropping his voice so it was just barely audible. “How long before I can have you naked and under me?”

Chris fought down the blush that was spreading up his neck and tried to keep an innocent face. “Oh, a couple of hours at least. I think Zoe’s giving a toast in a little while, and you know she’d just be heartbroken if we left before that.”

Zach gave a quiet growl at that, and Chris had to clutch his glass tightly to keep from winding his fingers in Zach’s tie and pulling him into a hard, wet kiss. But then Zach blinked at him, plastered on a fake, cheery smile, and said, “Well, then, we best not tempt temptation. Keep fifteen – no, twenty feet between us at all times. Only way to make it through the night!” With that, he walked off to go mingle, leaving Chris standing utterly bereft – and aroused – in the doorway.

Chris shook his head disbelievingly and went for the kitchen – he was going to need another drink if this was how the night was going to go. He refilled his glass with ice, pressing it to his forehead in a literal attempt to cool himself down. He was torn between exasperation for letting Zach wind him up and admiration for how easily his boyfriend could keep him on the knife-edge of desire for hours at a time. It was fucking annoying for Zach to blow him off like that, though, and Chris was working up to genuine irritation when he felt his phone buzz in his pocket.

One new message.

Keep me interested for the next two hours, Pine, and I’ll make it worth your while.

Oh, it was on.

Chris mentally listed his options. He could flirt around a bit – that would have Zach’s pulse through the roof – but he felt bad leading somebody on. A good, slow striptease always held Zach’s attention, but this was hardly the right venue, and Zoe would probably never forgive him for upstaging her party. He’d just have to wing it. He texted Zach back, asking him to precisely define “worth your while,” and then sauntered back out into the living room, purposefully ignoring the other man.

He had struck up a conversation with some of Zoe’s dancer friends when his phone buzzed in his pocket. Excusing himself briefly – Chris was a stickler on cell phone etiquette even when he wasn’t exchanging dirty texts with his boyfriend across a crowded room – he read:

You pick the time and the place; I narrate every exquisitely filthy thing I do to you.

It took an enormous amount of composure not to moan aloud. Chris never lasted long once Zach started talking, hot breath in his ear and that low, rough voice flowing through his veins like honey. Just the thought of it necessitated some adjustment of his pants, but he wasn’t letting Zach win that easily. He quickly typed out and sent a reply.

YOU pick the time. Just how long do you think you can resist me?

He watched Zach across the room as he reached for his phone and read the text. The older man’s eyes darted briefly over to Chris, who shot him a salacious look. Zach responded with a small, wicked quirk of his lips before Chris turned back to the dancers.

 

It took exactly fifty-two minutes and thirteen more text messages. Impressive, really.

Chris had just joined a group around the newly-professional screenwriter; it wasn’t long before someone cracked a “to boldly go” joke, which led to an argument about split infinitives. Apparently Zach was close enough to listen in, because Chris had just made a comment about the irrationality of imposing a Latinate grammar on a largely Anglo-Saxon lexical base when Zach swooped in out of nowhere, grabbing him by the arm and muttering something that sounded like “Chris, I need to talk to you for a moment.”

Before he knew it, Chris found himself being dragged down the hallway to Zoe’s guest bedroom before Zach shoved him inside and locked the door behind them.

“I guess this is the place,” Chris gasped as he yanked at Zach’s lapels, pulling the other man’s body flush against his own and his lips into a bruising kiss.

Zach pulled back to nip at his jaw, apparently unconcerned about marking him. “Damn it, Chris, you know you can’t talk grammar when we’re in public.”

Chris opened his mouth for a witty rejoinder, but Zach cut him off swiftly with another ferocious kiss. He loved that he could push Zach this far, get under that calm façade and rattle him almost as much as Chris felt rattled. Zach already had Chris’ shirt untucked and was tugging him toward the bed when Chris stopped him.

“It’d be a shame to defile that perfectly-made bed,” he murmured with a naughty grin. “And you never know, Zoe might not be too happy with us on laundry day.”

Zach ground his hips up against Chris’ and asked, “What do you suggest?”

Finally getting to do what he’d been imagining all evening, Chris grabbed Zach’s tie and tugged him until his own back was against the wall. Zach quirked an eyebrow. With a quick peck on the lips and an impish smile, Chris turned to face the wall.

“Oh, you dirty boy,” Zach groaned. “Should’ve known better than to tease you.” His hands made quick work of his belt while Chris unbuttoned his own pants and shoved them to his knees.

Chris looked over his shoulder and chuckled as he saw Zach pull a packet of lube from his blazer pocket. “And you call me dirty? I didn’t show up at our dear friend’s party ready to fuck.”

“The hell you didn’t,” murmured Zach as he slicked his fingers. “That look you gave me when you first saw me talking to Zoe? You wanted to haul me down and have your wicked way with me right there.”

Chris was in no state of mind to deny that when Zach’s fingers were pressing into him. He spread his legs the best he could with his pants around his ankles, and soon he was thrusting back on to Zach’s hand and gasping, “Don’t you have some narrating to do?”

“Maybe. If you can stay quiet.”

Chris bit back a groan – staying quiet was not his forte. “That wasn’t part of the deal.”

“No, but it’s part of not getting caught fucking in Zoe’s guest room. Unless that gets you off. Does it? The thought that someone could walk in here right now and see you like this, pants around your ankles and three of my fingers in your gorgeous ass?”

Chris let out a strangled sound as he heard Zach lower his zipper.

“What a show they’d get, too. Look at you, so desperate for my cock.” With that, Zach slowly started pushing in and Chris braced his forearms on the wall for leverage.

“Did – oh, god – did you lock the door?”

Zach chuckled wickedly. “Maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe someone will hear strange sounds in here and come in to investigate. And, of course, when one person sees, everybody will want to see. Not every day you get a show like this. Would you like that, Chris?”

And as much as that thought turned him on in theory, he knew his real answer. “No, Zach, I’m yours. All yours.”

“Yes. Fuck, yes,” Zach moaned into the back of Chris’ neck, grasping his hips and beginning to thrust in deep, leisurely strokes. “So fucking hot, Chris. So good. Gonna make you see stars, baby.”

“Yeah, Zach, do it,” Chris breathed, spreading his legs as best he could with his pants around his ankles. “Tell me.”

“Been so hot for you all day. You’re all I could think about, first in the shower, then on set. Loved reading your filthy words on my phone. God, that wicked brain of yours, Christopher. Wanna live out all those dirty fantasies inside your head, fuck you so hard and deep you forget anything that isn’t my cock.”

Zach was pounding into him now, Chris biting down hard on his lip to keep from crying out. He tried to cushion each thrust with his forearms, but anyone walking down the hallway might hear the telltale thumping, reach for the door…

“Touch me, Zach. Please, need your hand on me.”

“That what you want, my fist around your thick, leaking cock? My fingers gripping and stroking you?” Chris whimpered an affirmative. “Mmm, not yet. You feel so fucking good – wanna make this last.”

But Chris wasn’t sure either of them could last. It was too good, this collision of want and frustration and secrecy. Zach was speeding up, and Chris was shoving back on each thrust. He clenched tight around Zach on the outstroke, and the older man finally gave in and wrapped his hand around Chris’ erection, pumping hard and sure. Chris bit into his forearm to stifle his moans as Zach leaned in, tilting Chris’ hips and finding the perfect angle and then Chris was coming, bucking hard into Zach’s grip until stars sparkled at the edge of his vision.

Chris kept the tension in his arms as long as he could, letting Zach rut into him until he found his own release with a quiet “Chris” that never failed to shoot straight to the younger man’s heart. Zach relaxed his bruising grip on Chris’ hip, leaning forward to brace his hand on the wall and entwine their fingers. They stayed like that for a long time, no sound but their own breathing and the muffled voices outside the door.

A slow, lazy grin spread across Chris’ face. “Y’know,” he says, “you’ve gotten a lot faster at texting.”

Zach groaned. “That’s the first thing you have to say? What, am I losing my edge already?”

“Never,” Chris replied. “You just drove all the other coherent thoughts out of my mind.”

“Nice save,” Zach muttered as he pulled back, separating himself from Chris with a slight grimace.

Though it was more than a little awkward, what with his pants around his ankles, Chris turned to loop an arm around Zach’s shoulders. “Sorry for ruining the mood. I missed this. I missed you.”

“Me too,” Zach whispered, gently tracing Chris’ cheekbone with the pad of his thumb. He pulled Chris in for an easy, tender kiss, and the younger man tried to freeze this moment in his mind, the utter perfection of Zach’s lips soft on his while pleasure still sizzled through his veins and the rest of the world waited outside.

But reality set in quickly enough with the mutual realization that they were both entirely unpresentable to polite society. Luckily, the guest room came complete with an ensuite bathroom, so they headed towards it. Zach walked; Chris shuffled, not wanting to pull his pants up until he’d cleaned himself up a bit. The preposterousness of the situation intensified when Zach flipped on the bathroom light and they caught their reflections in the mirror. Both were severely disheveled, lips red and swollen from kissing and cheeks pink with exertion. Chris also had a mark on his jaw from Zach’s teeth, and Zach’s once perfectly-coiffed hair was sticking out in all directions.

Zach turned to Chris, a strand of hair falling across his forehead in a way that always made Chris want to kiss him senseless. “Think they’ll know what we’ve been up to?”

Mindful of the time, Chris settled for tucking that strand of hair behind Zach’s ear. “I think they could probably make an educated guess.”

 

They emerged from the guest room, clothing straightened and hair slicked back, just in time to catch Zoe’s toast. Zach snagged two flutes of champagne and handed one to Chris, their fingers brushing ever so slightly as it changed hands. Zoe caught Chris’ eye as she lavished praise on her screenwriter friend, and he gave her his broadest smile and a quick wink. She narrowed her eyes ever so slightly, and Chris was struck with the sudden conviction that Zoe knew exactly how they’d availed themselves of her guest room.

“Zach,” he said out of the corner of his mouth, “we’d better send her a fruit basket. Or something.”

Then Zoe finished her toast to a round of applause and the sound of “Cheers!” and clinking glasses.

Zach’s mouth quirked up as he touched his glass to Chris’. “To doors with locks.”

Chris grinned back. “To unlimited text messaging.”

&&&

The blue shirt lost two buttons, but it was actually Zach’s pants that came out the worse for wear. Forgetting how strong Chris was, he had used them as an impromptu tie for the younger man’s wrists, only to have Chris stretch them all to hell in his… enthusiasm. The knot would probably never come out.

Zach rarely slept naked – Chris counted it as a personal victory whenever he could wear Zach out so thoroughly that he didn’t bother to search for pajama bottoms before falling asleep. So it was a rare treat, waking to the sight of the sunlight caressing the length of Zach’s body, from the back of his neck, down the groove of his spine, over that firm, perfect ass to the tops of his thighs.

It always made Chris’ heart swell with pride, waking up with this beautiful man in his bed. Made him all gooey and sentimental, too, thinking back to the night he had made the odd proposition to Zach over cheap beer in some nameless bar. At the time, he hadn’t dared think ahead to Zach’s answer, let alone the possible outcomes if Zach took him up on it. He doubted he would ever have anticipated this, and it might have frightened him a little if he had, now that words like together and ours and love were at the front of his mind.

But now was not the time for sentimentality, not when he could be tasting the late morning sunlight on Zach’s delectable skin. Zach’s breathing was still deep and even, and Chris tried hard not to wake him while pressing soft, open-mouthed kisses to his sun-drenched body. Zach was always so active when he had Chris to himself and it was amazing, of course, but Zach would so rarely just lie back and let Chris properly lavish him with pleasure like he deserved. For all the teasing about yoga positions and ludicrously expensive body scrubs, Chris loved how well Zach took care of himself, loved that he treated his body with such respect. Zach was such a rare find in so many ways, which made Chris want to hold on to him all the more.

His fingers joined his lips skating down Zach’s sides, his shoulders, his back, and as gentle as Chris was, he soon heard a quiet hum of delight that meant Zach was awake.

“I’m smashing my alarm clock with a hammer – from now on, you get to wake me up every day.”

“Not that I wouldn’t relish the privilege,” Chris murmured with a smile against Zach’s shoulder blade, “but if you’re looking into hiring human alarm clocks, you might want to get one who will actually wake up before you do on a regular basis.”

Zach sighed wistfully. “I’m never going to convince you to become a morning person, am I?”

“There’s no convincing involved. It’s a genetic thing – the Pines are largely nocturnal creatures.”

“So that’s why I hear you running around on your giant hamster wheel in the middle of the night.”

“Gotta get my exercise,” Chris said with a chuckle and a nip at the back of Zach’s neck. The older man had yet to move from his prone, sprawled position, and Chris took it as permission to keep touching him. “Why are you so lazy this morning?”

“Don’t know if you noticed, but I was doing most of the work last night. Both times.”

Chris laughed and began to massage Zach’s shoulders. “Is that a complaint I hear? Because I’m not above a little manual labor myself. Or oral labor. Or pelvic labor. Okay, scratch the last one – sounded too much like childbirth.”

Zach’s body shook with laughter that was mostly muffled by the pillow. “You’re insane. I need to tape these conversations. When I finally write my memoir, no one will believe you actually said this shit.”

Chris gasped with faux indignation as he worked his hands lower. “Our pillow talk is going in your memoir? Zach, that’s just… scandalous.”

“Gotta have some juicy tidbits in there or no one will buy it. Otherwise it’s all, So then Tyler said ‘Fuck it; I’m just going to throw some milk at you. Try to look pissed.’

“Oh, how you suffer for your art,” Chris sighed with a cluck of his tongue, and Zach just grunted as Chris worked on a particularly tough knot at the small of his back.

They lapsed into a comfortable silence then, Chris soaking up every contented exhale as Zach’s muscles loosened under his careful touch. He frowned a little when Zach pushed up on his elbows, but then the older man reached for the lube on the nightstand and Chris forgot to be annoyed. In a surprising move, Zach twisted around to set the lube in Chris’ hand before lying back down in his previous position.

Chris stared dumbly at the bottle in his hand. “Is this…? Do you…?”

“Yes, and yes,” Zach said with a lazy grin that Chris could hear. “You’re a smart lad, Christopher. I’m hoping you’ve learned a few things by now.”

A snarky reply bubbled up in Chris’ head, but he let it go. Maybe it was a holdover from his earlier sappiness, but this seemed like kind of a capital-m Moment and Chris wanted to remember it: Zach so relaxed and trusting, his body both an invitation and a promise. Chris shifted to the side to let Zach spread his thighs, then settled back between them. He placed his hands on Zach’s hips and kissed a warm trail down the length of his spine, ending with a soft bite at his tailbone.

Chris slicked his fingers and brought them to gently circle Zach’s entrance. For both their sakes, he needed to go slow – he knew Zach didn’t do this often, and he wanted to make it so good that Zach would never want it from anyone else. Chris worked the tip of his finger in, and Zach was so tight that his breath caught at the sensation.

“’s good,” Zach whispered, and Chris felt him consciously relax as he pressed further in. With his other hand, he rubbed soothing circles against Zach’s lower back. “More,” Zach murmured after another few moments, and Chris carefully added a second finger. He closed his eyes and focused on the other man’s breathing, the slick sound of his fingers working him open. He curled his fingers as Zach had so often done, and the older man let out a low, hungry sound. Chris added a third finger, and even though he was still so tight, Zach was soon pushing back on Chris’ hand.

Chris withdrew his hand deftly and squeezed Zach’s hip. “Turn over,” he said. “I need to see you.”

As Zach rolled over, he pulled Chris down for a deep, lingering kiss. Chris carefully positioned himself and began easing his way into Zach, catching the older man’s soft gasps with his own lips. When he was buried to the hilt, he forced his hips into stillness, tipping his head back to look in Zach’s eyes. They were so open and vulnerable, pupils wide with desire, the corners crinkled just a little with pain. Chris leaned in, tried to kiss the hurt away as he let Zach adjust to the unfamiliar sensation.

Sooner that Chris expected, Zach whispered, “I’m ready – Chris, please,” and wrapped a leg around Chris’ hip.

Chris nodded, not entirely sure he was ready, but his arms were starting to shake with the effort of holding still. Zach was so hot and tight and perfect around him, and it was wreaking hell on his self-control. But as he started to draw back, Zach dug his fingers into Chris’ back and gasped softly, and that was enough to push Chris into motion. He tried to keep his thrusts long and deliberate, but it was nearly impossible to keep the pace slow when Zach was gazing up at him with so much love and trust in his eyes.

Zach shifted his hips, and together they found an angle that made the older man moan and push back hard on every thrust. Soon, much sooner than he wanted, Chris was close, and he was desperate to have Zach there with him. He balanced his weight on one arm, bringing the other hand to wrap tightly around Zach’s cock. He tried valiantly to time his strokes with the push of his hips, but the pleasure sizzling up his spine was making it hard to focus on anything but the sweet, irresistible heat of Zach’s body, and Chris keened with relief when Zach’s fingers twined with his. Together they stroked Zach’s cock until he was on the edge, and with a few short, sharp thrusts he was going over, thrusting hard into their joined hands and spilling his release between them.

Within moments, Zach was tightening his leg around Chris, urging him faster and harder. “C’mon,” Zach whispered. “I’ve got you. Let go.” And Chris did, coming deep in Zach’s body as the older man rocked against him.

Chris’ arms must have given out, because the next thing he knew, he had collapsed on Zach’s chest and the older man was stroking his hair and gently running his short nails up and down his back. When Chris tried to speak, all that came out was Zach’s name.

Zach just smiled and held him tighter. “You okay?”

“Might never walk again, but other than that…”

“Come now, I’m good, but I’m not paralysis-inducing.”

“It was just… really, really intense.” Chris picked his head up to look Zach in the eyes. “Is it like that for you?”

Zach touched his temple, ran his finger tips down Chris’ cheek. “With you? All the time.”

Chris bit his lip expectantly. “You think that, um, means something?”

“It means we love each other, you idiot.”

“Oh. Well you could’ve just said so.”

Zach laughed, wrapping his arms around Chris and rolling them both over. He kissed Chris long and deep, and when he pulled back, the sun filtering in through the blinds had nothing on the brightness of his smile.

“Just so there’s no doubt,” he said softly, stroking his thumb over Chris’ lower lip. “I love you."

“I know,” Chris replied, wrapping his fingers around Zach’s wrist to feel the motion of the muscles and tendons there. “And I love you back.”

&&&

“Zaaa-aaach, we’re gonna be late!”

“Don’t get your panties in a twist,” came the loud grumble from the bedroom.

Chris padded in to see Zach standing barefoot in front of the closet. “What’s the hold-up?”

“Swear to god, I had a pair right here.” He turned to Chris. “You haven’t seen my black socks, have you?”

Chris raised his eyebrows innocently. “You only have one pair?”

“Didn’t used to, but ever since someone moved in, they keep disappearing,” he said, narrowing his eyes and letting them scan down Chris’ front, past his belt, past his pants… “You’re wearing them right now, aren’t you?”

“Now what would make you think that?”

Zach shot Chris a dark look, and they both stood frozen for several seconds. Until Zach lunged, grabbing Chris around the waist and tackling him to the bed.

“Noah!” Chris yelped. “Send help!”

 

They were half an hour late for dinner

Zoe took one look at Chris and rolled her eyes.  "Zach, why did you let him leave the house wearing white socks with that outfit?

Chapter Text

They had nearly reached the front door of the restaurant when Chris stopped Zach with a hand on his arm. “Are you sure you want to do this?” It wasn’t the first time he’d asked that question over the last few weeks, but it was the first time he’d asked it with the subtext because I’m not sure I want to.

Zach gave him a concerned look. “This was your idea.”

“I know, but…” Chris started, letting his arm drop. Zach glanced around and quickly led Chris around the side of the building. It wasn’t a private area by any means, but at least it was away from the sidewalk and the people passing by.

“Alright, what’s going on?”

“I’m afraid I bullied you into this,” Chris blurted, pointing his eyes firmly at the ground.

“Chris, you ignorant slut,” Zach quipped, trying to get Chris to crack a smile. It didn’t work. “C’mon, you know you can’t bully me into anything. You’re too damn adorable.”

At least it made Chris finally look up. “But you were so adamant before. And you said it yourself – we can’t take it back.”

Zach looked hard into Chris’ eyes, trying to figure out what the problem was. They’d been over all of this before, multiple times, in excruciating detail. They’d fought and screamed and made up, and done it all over again the next week. It had taken Zach all that time to make his decision and he was too firmly convinced to reconsider. “Hey,” he said lightly, “are you trying to talk me out of this now?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m trying to get you to talk me back into it.”

“Chris, you were right.” That got his attention. “How often do I say that?”

“Like, twice. Ever.”

“Uh-huh. It took me a while to see it, but you’re right. This needs to happen. And if you’re having last minute nerves, that’s fine. We can postpone this if you want.”

Chris bit his lip. “Do you want to postpone it?”

“No,” Zach said with a gentle smile. “I think the timing is perfect. I’m ready.”

Chris still looked shaky, and Zach fought back the urge to wrap his arms around Chris, hold him tightly until the jitters went away. “Chris,” he started, “You remember what you said to me in that shitty bar that started all of this?”

Chris laughed, surprised. “I said a lot of things.”

“You said you were tired of regretting the things you weren’t brave enough to do. That’s always stuck with me. And you are quite possibly the bravest person I’ve ever met.”

Zach paused to let that sink in and Chris appeared to mull it over. Finally, he asked, “Didn’t you meet that guy who got his arm ripped off by a shark but still goes surfing anyway?”

Zach laughed and nodded. “That’s what I’m saying. I know how hard it was for you to be so open with me. You spent your whole life thinking about yourself one way – as straight – but you had the courage to completely reevaluate that. And you did it for me. Don’t think I don’t appreciate that every single day.”

When Chris looked up, Zach could see he was blinking back tears. “Could you, um, could you kiss me right now?”

Zach grinned and leaned in, wrapping his hands around Chris’ waist and kissing him tenderly, trying to pour all his love and support for Chris into the soft brush of his lips. By the time he pulled back, Chris seemed to have gotten himself together – his hands were no longer shaking and his eyes were clear. “Okay,” he said, “let’s do this.”

They walked into the restaurant together, and Zach scanned the crowd for the petite brunette he was supposed to meet. They’d picked her out specially – a young up-and-coming journalist who had just written a book on celebrity charity work in Africa that hadn’t received nearly enough publicity. Zach had talked with her briefly on the phone and liked her immediately.

He spotted her in a corner booth, head down, reading a book – they were a few minutes late by now. She didn’t look up until they got to her table. “Oh, Mr. Quinto!” she said, startled.

“Please, call me Zach,” he said, offering his hand. “So sorry we’re late.”

Zach saw it register on her face that he hadn’t come alone and barely kept himself from laughing at the perfect double take she did when she saw Chris. “Oh my god, Chr— Mr. Pine!”

“It’s Chris,” he said, shaking her hand while Zach slid into the booth. Chris followed a moment later, and they didn’t bother to sit a respectable distance away from each other.

“I, um, I didn’t know I’d be speaking to both of you,” she said, fumbling with her tape recorder as she pulled it from her bag.

“It was meant to be a surprise,” Zach said. “One of several, actually.”

“I hope that’s okay,” Chris cut in quickly, setting his hands on the table.

“Yes, yes, fine,” she said brightly, finally getting the recorder set up and switching it on.

Zach took a deep breath and glanced at Chris, who nodded solemnly. Then Zach reached up and set his hand over Chris’ on the table, twining their fingers. The young woman tried very hard not to stare at their joined hands, but failed. Zach laughed softly and began.

“It started about three months after Star Trek came out…”