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I like you when you're pretty. I love you when you're mine (the princess remix)

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So the stage door takes forever, and Scott doesn't mind most of the time, because it makes John happy. He's nervous about the ticket sales, even though in public he can rattle off all the reasons the house isn't sold. It's true, all of the reasons, but that doesn't stop John from entertaining all the other false ones. John doesn't say anything out loud, not even at home, but he thinks it, when he presses the cold pack to his eyes after they get home, sprawled on the sofa with the dogs weighing his chest down.

The stage door makes up for it sometimes.

Scott likes to stay in the car, waiting, or lean against the hood and cross his arms, posing for the paparazzi who come by and take pictures of him, pictures they never seem to sell or print. He's Scott, for god's sake, and unless John's hand is on his pants, the press doesn't care. He's okay with that.

It depends on the night. Sometimes John takes forever. Sometimes he's in there cleaning off the makeup, wiping the pancake off because it itches, he says, and sometimes he just swipes the thick darkness off with swabs and cream and comes out in less than twenty, his eyes still dusted with violet. He's always in street clothes, of course, sometimes nicer ones because they're going out. Sometimes he just tosses on whatever he wore to the theatre that day because he wants to go home and fall down. The ankle still hurts. John doesn't talk about that either.

Scott likes when he doesn't take the time to remove it all. The fake eyelashes are left behind, but the mascara that goes on with them pulls his eyes out, it seems, when he opens the door and steps into the darkness, and flashes are going off and Scott rests his arse on the hood of the car and waits. Waits forever, it feels like.

That gives him time to look, and once again, he's okay with that.

Tonight John is wearing his 'Let's get out of here and crash' clothes, and he hasn't bothered to do a very good job with the make up. He'll go home and have a drink, then have a shower, scrubbing his face and complaining. John's complaining is like eating sour cherries in chocolate.

***

John almost trips when he kicks off his trainers and stumbles past the sofa to the bar to make a drink. He leaves the vodka open on the counter and shuffles off to the bedroom. Scott caps the bottle rolls his eyes and throws his keys on the table. Harris and Charlie are still with him, but CJ has followed John, little nails clicking on the hard wood floor; they never clip them, but they should. Soon, he'll be sliding all over the floor, much like John does when he's in socks and they have a few too many.

He's tired too. He's been looking at old plans all afternoon, and his eyes hurt a little, which is disconcerting because when he was younger he was a lot better at working for longer periods. Now bending at the light table for hours makes the small of his back ache. He doesn't like to think about what all that means.

So when he finds John again, he's lying on the bed, his jeans and jacket an unceremonious lump on the floor, his shirt is hitched up and he's scratching his waist, because the hose he wears dig into it and it's been giving him hives, a little line of raised bumps under the skin. He likes when Scott rubs the anti-itch gel in with his fingers, but sometimes he just scratches. Itches can be very satisfying to scratch.

His fingers absently rub and he's trying to toe off his socks, but he's also trying to flip through the channels on the telly with the remote and drink from his glass. He squints to see, and then Scott knows that he's already taken out his contacts. He's fast, this one.

Scott sits on the bed and watches the acrobatic display. "Your eyes are sparkly," he jokes. He calls this John's fairy princess look.

"Oh yeah, I'm gorgeous," John says dryly, trying to sip his drink while lying down. It's difficult, but he manages. John seems to do all kinds of impossible things, but they're always little, unimportant, fun at parties. CJ scrabbles on the edge of the bed and Scott pulls him up and he bum-rushes John, drinking out of the glass. Just their luck they have an alkie dog.

John laughs and pushes the dog away, but then he drinks from his glass again.

Scott kicks CJ off. "You're an enabler."

"I like when he staggers on the carpet."

"You don't like when he sicks in your shoes."

"Hrm." John is non committal, and he turns off the telly and sets it on the nightstand, which is dangerous, they both know, because Harris goes through remotes like nobody's business. When Scott stretches out next to him, he turns his head and smiles. "Hey there."

He's so close he can see the streaks of the dark kohl in John's laugh lines. The make up makes him look older, and foreign. Scott likes and hates it. John flutters his lashes. "Ah made mahself pretteh for you," he says in a bad southern accent.

His lips still have the lipstick scent, that oily stuff he uses on stage, not the cheap Cover Girl that he uses sometimes when they get drunk and decide to play 'gorgeous bitch gives a blowjob.' Scott licks them, because he likes to take the stuff off with his tongue, likes to lean back a little and run the pads of his a fingers across John's eyelids, coming away with a moth dusting of violet on his fingers, and then he paints the powder down John's cheeks.

John laughs then, eyes closed, hands reaching, fingers looking for him, skidding over clothes, fluttering his glass almost tipping on his chest. He abandons the glass on the floor and rolls to his side so that they can press their foreheads together.

"I'm tired," John murmurs. "I've been dancing my arse off." This is always his excuse for everything, and it would be tired if it weren't true. But it's easy then, to wiggle John out of his underwear, toss them on the floor, kiss the smooth skin of his legs (there's a little stubble; he's waxed a while ago and now it's all about waiting again), let him flop his knees to the sides.

John snorts when Scott breathes on his cock, and he scrabbles the fingers of one hand in Scott's hair. He reaches up to John's face, rubs just under the eyebrows for a little more sparkle to apply to John's cock, a fairy dusting, a little magic in the make up there, something that tastes like show business and salt when he runs his tongue along John's cock.

"Mm," he mumbles before he mouths John, because John loves humming, singing, whispering, any noise the human throat can make during sex.

John starts to say something, but instead he presses his arse into the bed, grinding when Scott takes him down. It's been years and years of this, Scott thinks, fucking and rolling and blowjobs, and that's comforting in a way, this reaction he gets like clockwork, times and blocked like a performance, except that John doesn't perform for him; that's an unspoken agreement. He works his mouth on it, licking the underside, hollowing his cheeks, sucking. John's hands pet his hair, never grab, never ever, and Scott thinks that he might like the grabbing, but that's not what they do.

"You know," John grates out, or rather wheezes in, talking on the intake, "I should be the one—"

Scott slaps his thigh and John arches his back, only managing to cough a chuckle when Scott pulls off his cock and mumbles something about audience participation. He licks his lavender fingers because he can't not, buries his face in the skin at the base of John's cock; he hasn't showered, so it's all sweat and John and it's probably gross, but Scott likes it anyway. If he didn't he wouldn't be there.

He finishes John off in quick order, listening for his groans and hitches with a small bit of satisfaction and when he flops down next to him, John just blinks and grins lazily. "I got the star treatment."

Scott shakes his head. "Diva." Then he rolls off the side of the bed. "Shower before that spackle dries out your face."

John groans and rolls over, grabbing the pillow and shoving his face into it. "I'm gonna pass out."

He's lying, actually. Scott pulls off his shirt and unbuckles his belt on the way to the ensuite and turns on the shower, shaking his head at the blue plastic tarp like he does every time he sees it, every damn day.

"We have to do something about this," he says into the bedroom, just like he does once a week, every week for the past ten years.

"Then get some siding and appliques," John calls back, his voice getting louder as he nears the door. "We could mosaic my face on there. Or CJ's."

Scott loves the dogs, but they don't need to watch him wash himself every day.

He strips his denims off and kicks them to the corner. John has already stripped off his shirt and is in the spray, letting the water assault the makeup right off his face, down into the drain. Scott watches him, just for a minute, watches him stand there with one hand on the blue tarp, the other rubbing the bumps at his waist, his hair slowly plastering itself to his head, eyes closed, and he thinks of an old photo John had done one, some cheesecake car wash like scene.

He's older now, thicker, but he moves like he's twenty. He wants to be twenty, even though he loves being forty. Scott contemplates the way john favors his ankle a little bit, a war injury on the altar of dance, John calls it, and he wonders what the next ten years will be like.

Then John turns his head, wipes the water from his eyes and blinks when some mascara obviously stings him. He opens the sliding door and sticks his head out. "You coming?"

Scott smiles then, because he has forgotten to, and uncrosses his arms. "Yeah, I am."

END