David goes alone to watch Rob perform and feels every inch the fresher.
Rob is playing a sluttish woman - again - and his turn gets the second-biggest laugh of the night. He deserves it - he deserved the biggest laugh of the night, in fact - but David admits (even if only to himself) that there's an edge of envy to his admiration. Their writing sessions are like this - David watching Rob perform as he tries to learn through observation exactly how they are supposed to work as comedy partners, as people. Rob is on stage more often than he is, older, wiser, works harder, has slept with girls (plural). David's a little jealous.
He's also a little jealous of Rob's legs in that skirt, but that's beside the point.
After it's over, David plans to sneak off back to his own room - Peterhouse, solitude, a book on Suleiman I - but he runs into Rob coming out of the auditorium with a couple of mates.
"I didn't know you were coming to see it," Rob smiles. "Come with us for a drink."
"I don't think-"
"Come on," Rob says, a little more raucous than usual, and half-drags David to Robinson's bar.
"See, this hasn't been so bad. And I see you've mastered the art of drinking without passing out."
"Piss off!" David replies, grinning.
David looks up at Robert, then puts down his pint of lager with a loud thunk and reaches forward, but his hand falters in mid-air when he realises what he's doing. There are a lot of people he doesn't know very well in this room. He pauses for a second before moving the hand to scratch his neck, a failed attempt to look nonchalant.
"You've got a bit of a...there's still lipstick on the corner of your mouth," David says quietly. He's quite close to Rob right now, actually. If he could bring himself to look at him properly they'd be gazing straight into each other's eyes. If he leaned forward-
"Oh," Rob says - perhaps less drunk by David's vague feel of things, but nonetheless inebriated - before sucking on the end of his index finger and rubbing the corner of his mouth to remove the mark. It makes his lips redden.
"You dressed up as a woman for Cinderella," David remembers suddenly.
"It's not a thing," Robert protests, looking amused.
"And this too. You looked like a common tart."
Rob grins. "Oh, really?"
"You were good up there though," David tells him, more than a touch embarrassed even inside his jumbled, drunken mind. "You looked nice."
Rob laughs. "If that's how you flirt with the girls-"
"I can't flirt with the girls at all. I do like girls. They just don't like me."
"You're cute," Rob slurs after a pause (or maybe David's hearing things, because he's sure he isn't cute at all) and David feels his insides twist as he sees Robert unabashedly staring at his lips.
They leave the bar, and Rob leads David past bricks (and more bricks, and more bricks) until they're secreted underneath staircase 'P' and David's heart is pounding. The cooler air gives clarity to his thoughts, makes them sharper, sharpens the feeling of Rob being there. David's suddenly aware of how silent everything is - only the rustle of clothes and the distant, muffled sound of someone's TV on upstairs. No-one's talking, no-one's around. No-one's going to stop them.
Rob holds David firm against the wall and kisses him. David's so surprised, he doesn't kiss him back in the slightest.
"David," Rob mutters, pulling back a little. David starts to stutter. He can feel his back being pressed into the edge of each sharp brick and Rob's hands in his hair.
And then rough, wine-soaked lips cover his own again and Rob sucks gently on his tongue as he slowly moves his hands towards David's waist. It's hot and close, wonderful, but David (damn himself to hell, and who else would use the word wonderful to describe this, anyway?) cannot let himself relax completely. He thinks about what's happening and it makes his mouth go dry; he tries to let himself be pushed away from thought and into feeling, just Rob and this-
"Christ, David," Rob says, his hot breath on David's jaw and his voice frustrated, "you're allowed to touch me, you know."
"Sorry. Oh god, sorry."
David swallows nervously - he's got permission now, but what should he do? - and Rob pauses for one further moment before pressing his body into David's and guiding David's hands to the waistband of his jeans.
There's not much to see in the dull moonlight but David can feel their bodies slip together and hear his short, low breaths. They're both hard - Rob starts to grind against David's crotch as they kiss occasionally and yes, OK, David could get lost in this feeling perhaps, could nearly stop thinking, just for a moment.
With one hand now at the top of David's thigh, there's the slide zip shove of Rob undoing David's trousers and palming David's cock through his underwear. Rob's eyes flash when David gives a guttural moan and, something inside him snaps.
"Need-" says David, unbuttoning Rob's jeans, and Rob gives a low whine like that's sexy, like just David saying need is sexy.
Then oh, yes David's moaning softly as Rob brings David off with one hand and David finally reaches out and returns the favour. (Arousal and alcohol's still making his head spin, but Rob doesn't seem to especially mind that David's efforts are un-coordinated.) David comes first, shuddering and biting down on his bottom lips so he stays silent. A minute or so later, his palm skits across the head of Rob's cock and there's a sticky mess over David's hand.
"We never made it to your room," says David, smiling shyly, not yet moving away.
"Doesn't matter," Rob replies, before leaning in and kissing him again, sweet as a sought-after punchline.