Stupidly enough, he’s going to miss the two hours it takes him to get in costume every morning.
Not that he likes the activity in itself –it’s tiring and boring- but he likes the banter, the jokes that fly far, far above his head when the makeup crew takes over the costume crew and start working on his face. He likes hearing them joke around and exchange words with them and, most of all, he likes it when Chris comes in.
Of course, he’s not here now, but usually. Usually, he comes in about an hour and a half into the preparation and starts taking jibes at everyone, Tom especially, because he knows that’s where he’ll get the best answers from. Tom likes that, because when Chris is here, the best parts of him manage to finally see the light. Well, maybe not the best but… let’s say, the aspects Tom doesn’t normally allow to show.
Tom is past thirty, and yet there are things he has never told anyone but Chris. Things that would sound ridiculous to anyone else, things that sound unimportant. Like how Tom doesn’t drink a lot because he is terrified of how he’d act if he were drunk crazy enough when he’s sober, or how he feels ridiculous, inappropriate, awkward nervous every time he has to phone someone he’s never met, and sometimes even his friends or family. Tom passes those things as jokes, as trivial details, but he still says them. And sometimes, somehow –maybe his posture gives him away, maybe it’s a special power- Chris seems to get how bad these things are, and Tom gets a one-armed hug out of the deal.
Most of the time, those leave him with his heart torn between feeling comforted and safe, or feeling like he’s going to start bleeding with the knowledge that it will never go further than that.
All this, however, is going to end. This is Tom’s last day of filming on The Avengers III,and he looks at the clock with his throat tight.
When the makeup artists ask, he says it’s because he doesn’t want the moment to end.
He’s been told several times already, that it’s no big deal. That there will be a Thor IIIand that he will probably be cast as Loki again –that he is Loki now, just as Heath Ledger was the Joker… minus the dying part, of course.
But he knows it isn’t true.
He knows that even when –if- they end up doing Thor III together, things won’t be the same. He knows that there will be no more Chris standing there and teasing him, no more slumping against each other in one of their trailers late at night. No more late night conversations that last for hours without either of them caring about the time that passes, no more falling asleep in the same bed and waking up back to back with bedheads and droopy eyes.
He knows there won’t be any of that, at the very least not for a while.
Not because Chris is married.
Or at least, not only because of that. Of course, he knew about that from the very beginning. Chris is married, he has a life, a family… a baby even, soon. Tom never expected Chris to make him his priority, far from it. He values Chris’ happiness way too much for that, and he is happy for his friend, he really is.
It won’t stop because Tom is a man, either. Chris doesn’t have that kind of prejudice. Well, he did have that slightly weirded out face for a few seconds, but it is, quite honestly, far better than what Tom was preparing himself to –because it’s better to expect the worse, in this kind of situation. And to be honest, aside from the first few seconds, Chris’ attitude didn’t change one iota, because in Chris’ own words: “I don’t understand how you can not like women, but then again I don’t understand how you can like watermelon either so, you know.” Then he shrugged, and Tom said watermelon is delicious, to which Chris replied that it was watery, and the squabbled like kids over the issue, and that was that.
No, things won’t change because Tom is a man, or because they’re past the age where their lives can revolve entirely around their friends, or because Chris is married.
They will change because loving someone isn’t something you pick up along with your morning paper, and it’s beautiful and spirit-lifting until you realize it’s gotten way beyond the crush stage, and then it hurts. It hurts because the other person didn’t get any more choice than you did, and they don’t have any more switch than you do, and there is a terrible, horrible awkwardness born of compassion when a friend says ‘I love you’ and you can’t answer anything but ‘I don’t’.
Things will change because even though Tom understands, and Chris understand, and they care about each other, they just can’t watch the other long for something different in his corner, and have to remember every step of the way that it is what they are, what they feel that made things difficult.
Things will change because it’s either that, or spending way too much time thinking if I were straight, if I were gay, if I were a woman, if I loved him like he loves me, and still not really want to change the way their hearts work, because the love, the pain, the longing they feel is so strong that it’s practically a part of them now.
So when the clock shows that it’s nearly a quarter of an hour past the time Chris usually joins in, Tom knows he won’t come at all. And he understands, he does. He’s been in Chris’ position before, and he’s played the ostrich too.
It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, though.
So when Mark catches him before he goes to film and hugs him and whispers ‘I know, and I’m sorry’, Tom wraps his arms around his waist, hides his face in the other man’s neck, and feels grateful for waterproof make-up.