Dan had been looking forward to the end-of-the-season party since they finished filming a week ago. The night was meant for everyone on the cast to get together, drink a little (or a lot), and celebrate a job well done. At this point, the cast was like a giant family; everyone was friends with everyone else and they all respected each other and their acting skills. Not to mention that they were all pretty wild when they wanted to be, and that was always a good thing.
“Oh, Dan,” Katrina said as they embraced. Dan smiled and when they pulled away she lovingly ran a hand down his arm and clasped his hand briefly. “I loved working with you this season.” Dan and Katrina quickly became best friends when they started shooting this season, elevating from their previous status as mere aqcuaintances during Blood and Sand. It was no surprise, seeing as Katrina was such a nice person and had a lively personality, her and Dan got along very well.
“I’m gonna miss you, Kat,” he said. “Who am I going to stand next to and stare at all the half-naked guys with anymore, huh?” It had become the way they bonded throughout the season; Katrina and Dan standing off to the side while all the muscular, scantily-clad men walked around the set. They occassionally spoke about who was hotter than and once got off into a tanget about wrestling in chocolate sauce and how awesome it would be to witness that.
“We still have next season,” she assured him. Suddenly, Dan’s eyes were somewhere else; he had caught a glimpse of someone, and just like all the other times when he saw this person, he felt his heart beat speed up. Katrina noticed the glance and looked behind her, and before Dan could say anything she pulled him down by the hand and placed a kiss on his cheek, then walked away to greet Liam and some of the others.
Dan swallowed and picked up the wine he had set on the table next to him, bringing the glass up to his lips and taking a sip to moisten his tongue. He walked towards Pana casually, acting as if this was one friend going over to greet the other after not seeing them for a week. And it was exactly that, if not a little more.
“Hi,” Dan said when he approached, and Pana turned away from who he was talking to, his face already bright with the recognition of Dan’s voice, and they embraced. Dan felt a certain weight lifted off of his shoulders as soon as he felt the other man’s arms around him. It was almost as if he needed to make sure that Pana was real, and this wasn’t some wild dream. Dan watched silently as Pana turned back to who he was talking to and excused himself, and then felt himself led by the hand to an emptier part of the restaurant.
After they both slid into the booth, it seemed as if they were at a loss for words. They could talk for hours on set, and then countless more after they were done shooting for the day, but at the same time they could say nothing at all and still learn so much. Dan looked down and saw that Pana’s hand was still on his, but he didn’t protest or pull away from the warm touch.
“I—” They both started at the same time and then stopped, sharing a brief laugh. Dan nodded towards Pana, signaling for him to continue.
“I’m gonna miss you.” Pana said. Which was all Dan wanted to say, anyway. In the few months it took for them to shoot Vengeance, they had become extremely close, and in an odd way it seemed as if their friendship grew along with their on-screen relationship. The problem was that neither knew where it would go, seeing as Dan had an apartment in Australia and Pana lived in New Zealand, so they both felt as if this was the end of something.
“You don’t have to,” Dan said. If anyone saw them at that moment, huddled together and speaking in low volumes, they would have known. And in one way, it was alright, because some of their closest friends on the cast (especially Katrina), had always had an inkling suspicion of some type of growing feelings between the actors, and never mentioned it or spoke about it. Dan and Pana trusted the people they worked with.
Pana smiled weakly and looked up at Dan’s eyes. ”It’ll be a few more months before we start shooting for the third season. And with the interviews and all, you’ll be busy, Dan.” Pana spoke in that soft, gentle voice he seemed to use only with Dan, and even in their hushed toned his accent still came through, and Dan squeezed his hand affectionately. “The holidays are coming up and you said you’re staying with your parents for a bit, and—”
“I can visit,” Dan interrupted. “I’ll do it. I’ll come by and you can teach me to surf.” An ongoing joke between Dan and Pana that had begun after Pana refused to believe that Dan was an Aussie and had never even attempted to surf. Insanity, Pana had called it.
“Okay,” Pana said, “but don’t break your promise.” He tried to keep the joking tone in his words but failed midway. He was serious, and Dan knew it.
Dan smirked, and suddenly words were tumbling out of his mouth, “I want to kiss you,” he said. Plain as day, as if he was talking about jump squats and bench presses with Manu. Pana raised an eyebrow and Dan wanted to round up what he just said and shove the words back into his mouth, but it was too late.
They never discussed what they had. Never at length, anyway. And maybe it was normal; the way Dan’s heart would speed up when he would see Pana, or the way Pana called him at 1AM sometimes simply to talk or tell him a joke he heard, the way Dan would catch himself staring at Pana, and it would be up to Katrina or Cynthia to nudge him and make him stop. Maybe this was just a deep friendship, much like the one Dan had with Katrina; completely loving yet platonic. Dan noticed his hand beginning to sweat and pulled away to wipe it on his jeans. He looked at Pana for a moment, really looked. Pana, with his dark complexion and his hair (sans the extensions he had in for his role) that didn’t quite reach his shoulders. The scruff on his chin and cheeks that had grown in, and the way he managed to pull off wearing a tee under a sleeveless blazer. The way he was just… himself.
Dan looked up at Pana’s lips again and snapped out of his reverie. Right, he just said something completely stupid to his best friend. It’s not like he’d never kissed Pana before, because he obviously had, but that was scripted. That was in a room full of people with DeKnight himself watching them, and that was Agron kissing Nasir. Dan wanted to kiss Pana. He was surprised, though, when he saw that Pana had a smirk upon those lips and an inquisitive, if not entertained, look in his eyes.
“I’m sorry Dan, you want to what?” He was joking but it still made Dan squirm in his seat a little. “Dan,” Pana repeated, “come closer, I can’t hear you,” and Dan leaned in closer, because, maybe Pana really couldn’t hear him, and it’s not like he’d hold it against the guy. So he leaned in close, perhaps closer than he needed to because he could smell Pana’s cologne, and while he’s thinking about that, Pana pressed a kiss to Dan’s lips, and in an instant Dan was kissing him back and had a hand on the back of Pana’s neck, bringing him deeper so their mouths opened and Dan could taste him. Pana’s hands were on his chest and he could probably feel his heart beat, but it didn’t matter because Pana’s mouth was warm and tasted like wine, and it reminded him of when they were shooting that scene, but at the same time it was completely foreign.
They pulled away and realized that yes, they were in public, and that anyone could walk by and see them, so they didn’t kiss again, but Pana ran his hand through Dan’s hair and tugged on it a little with a sly smirk on his lips, which did nothing to help the situation.
“We should probably leave and go socialize,” Dan said, albeit a bit breathless. He was kind of confused and very, very pleased at the moment, but he didn’t question it. Some things just happen, and he could accept that. Their foreheads rested against each others and Dan couldn’t resist, he leaned in to kiss Pana again but before their lips could meet someone walked by in the distance and he reigned himself in. They wordlessly slipped out of the booth and stood in front of each other.
“Don’t leave without me,” Pana said. He meant don’t leave the party without me, but Dan caught a hint of something else in the way he said it, and he nodded.
“I won’t,” he promised.