Tom’s apartment was quiet, soothing with the click-clack of the laptop keys and the muffled clinking of Tom making tea in the next room. It was nice; Chris probably would have even found it humorously domestic if he hadn’t been concentrating so intensely on his computer screen.
He heaved a frustrated sigh as he tapped the return key and filled the modest living room with more clicking. Then he made a pleased sound and - without looking away from the screen - called through to his companion.
“Tom, I found it!”
There was a loud clatter and a muttered ‘oh Christ’ – ‘He’s dropped the spoon again’ Chris thought fondly, – before Tom nudged the door open with his hip and sidled in, offering Chris a cup as he settled himself down on the other end of the couch.
Tom took a sip of his tea before resting it on his lap, middle finger looped through the handle. “You know you didn’t have to go through all the trouble; It’s not a big deal that you missed it, you’ve seen plenty of my interviews after all,” he reassured the blond, smiling that damn adorable smile of his.
“Nah mate, I want to; it’s a little piece of Oz, I used to listen to these guys all the time back home. Besides, I can make sure you didn’t make any inappropriate passes at Scarlett,” Chris teased, startling a laugh from Tom who nodded to give the go-ahead.
Still grinning, Chris adjusted the slider of the podcast and let it play, placing the laptop between them on the center couch seat.
Immediately they were dropped mid-sentence into the Kyle and Jackie O Show recording. They listened patiently as someone won the phone-in contest, and then – there;
“Now Scarlett Johansson’s coming up next-“
Chris raised a questioning eyebrow. Tom just smiled and shrugged his shoulder, taking a long sip of tea through the brief interlude before the Aussie hosts picked up again. Scarlett was a particularly hot topic between them.
“She was a real sweetheart- she looked fabulous,”
“No camel-toe? ”
The men snorted.
“No, none of that!” Jackie laughed.
“Jackie was in London, and sat down face to face with Scarlett Johansson” Kyle continued, before prattling further about he would have been more interested in attending the London premiere had he known about the perk of meeting the starlet.
Chris ran a hand through his hair and tapped an indistinct rhythm against his teacup, earning an amused side-glance from Tom.
Chris visibly perked up when Jackie took over.
“Yes, she was there with - yeah she is a sweetie, and she was there, I interviewed her, actually, with Tom Hiddleston. Now he plays Loki in this new Avengers movie where all the su-“
The end of her sentence was indiscernible as Kyle suddenly spoke over her, audibly reproving.
“Ah don’t you just hate that, when they jam a no name with a big, big star?”
Chris blinked, staring dumbly at the machine whirring quietly between them. Had he really just heard…
He was distracted when the woman’s laughter rattled from the speakers. He turned in his seat, listening intently as he frowned.
“Yeah! And you just have to talk to him as well,” Jackie giggled, seemingly picking up the slanderous line of conversation with ease.
“You feel obliged to chuck him a dumb question, ”
Tom flinched, drawing Chris’ attention. The ire in his chest spiked when he saw the man staring into his cup, expression twisted into discomfort.
Tom wasn’t a self-conscious man, but he was always mindful of the fact that he was a new face amongst stars, an unknown name against movie-heroes, and it was a cruel jab at his insecurity.
“I know, I know right? So anyway, Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki,” she audibly scoffed “Yeah, yeah, whatev-”
Chris stabbed the power button with his finger, cutting the mocking, grating voices short as the laptop died with a dejected mrrrr.
The silence that followed was smothering, heavy and awkward as Chris trembling with anger and Tom stared mutely into his teacup. The blond glared at his clenched fists, knuckles white as he tried to focus on the feeling of his nails pricking his palms rather than the fury roiling in his stomach.
“You know…” Chris almost missed the words, they were said so quietly. He jerked his head round to look at Tom, scowl softening at the sight of the man hunched over his cup. “Scarlett and I joined the show seconds after that…” he put his cup down. “…Live, they said all that live and then I…I was completely oblivious.” Tom scrubbed his face with his hands, and Chris was suddenly filled with the urge to bundle Tom up and hide him away from the world. He didn’t deserve that, to be slandered on Australian radio, to have his character -who he was emotionally invested in- completely disregarded, and then be introduced without a whit of knowledge about what had just been said about him.
“I feel so humiliated,” Tom muttered. Chris pushed his laptop aside and took its place beside Tom and embraced him tightly, surprising the Brit as he wound an arm around his waist and ran his free hand through his curly hair. His nose nudged Tom’s cheek, and grey eyes gave him a side-long look, sad and confused, as if learning for the first time that the world was a harsh place filled with mean people, and not understanding why.
“They don’t know a thing,” Chris rumbled, brow furrowing when Tom simply gave a bland smile. His fingers tightened fractionally in Tom’s hair and he drew the Brit’s head back to look him square in the eye. “You are famous Tom, you are a celebrity, you have a-a terrifyingly loyal fan-base, you are renowned as an articulate, handsome, perfect human being and you literally have an army of voices out there to protest against those two-two…” he curled his lip, unable to find an insult suitable as he flicked through his mental list of profanities.
He hadn’t managed to settle on one when he was distracted by Tom trembling in his arms, and for a moment he panicked. Then there was that distinctive sound which made Chris’ lips twitch helplessly, that giggly little Ehehehe as Tom tittered in his arms.
“My fans are not terrifying!” he protested, smacking Chris’ chest as the blond grinned broadly, planting an affectionate kiss to Tom’s temple.
“Now,” Tom pushed Chris away and collected their cups, casting Chris a small, grateful smile. “You are going to pick a DVD for us to watch and I am going to make more tea, and this time you are actually going to drink it,” he warned, raising a brow pointedly at the still-full cup.
Chris chuckled and ambled towards the DVD rack to peruse the titles as Tom slipped out the door, the pad of his finger skimming the smooth cases as he heard the kettle hiss and the cups clack as they were set on the counter, muffled by distance. His grin only grew when he heard the distinctive clatter and muttered‘God Damnit’ drift in from the kitchen moments later.
’Dropped the spoon again,’ he thought fondly as he plucked ‘Heat’ from the shelf.