Tom enters the room, fingers wringing together nervously thinking about how he can phrase what he wants to ask Hal without sounding thick. Hal looks up at him from the sofa giving him a small smile and returns his eyes back to the TV. He's watching some boring documentary about WW1 but he seems fascinated. Probably cuz he was there, Tom thinks. He inches closer and sits down next to Hal trying to not appear suspicious which of course he fails miserably at. Hal squints sceptically at the usually relaxed man next to him watching him fidget and dart his eyes away quickly whenever he caught Hal's gaze. Sighing Hal switches the TV off using the remote and turns his body slightly to face Tom who is the process of scanning the room and making irritating clicking noises with his tongue.
"Tom? Is there something you would like to talk to me about?" he asks keeping his voice low and patient. Tom looks up at Hal and then as if his brain has suddenly gone into overload he opens his mouth and an indecipherable drawl of words spill from his mouth.
"Well you see it's like this right? You know how I told you I had never dated a girl before? And…well… You've been a vampire, for like ages, right? And so I was thinking you have probably had a lot of experience with the ladies, courting…and kissing and err…stuff? And then that got me thinking that you might be able to help me…with err…something" he finishes lamely looking up into Hal's eyes with what can only be described as a puppy look; his brown eyes glistening and his brows pinched. And that would have worked on Hal if he had been able to actually understand what it was that Tom wanted.
"Help you with what? Courting women? I thought that fiasco at the café was proof enough that I seem to have…lost my talent for it…somewhat" he says frowning at the memory of his rather pathetic attempt. Never again, he thinks.
"Wot are you talking bout? You were much better than I was. Besides you've got nothin to worry about. You're like, handsome, you speak nice and you're hair is all…" he makes some odd gesture with his hands that makes no sense."Poofy. Girls like that" he says as if that one word which Hal hopes is not actually an adjective in the human dictionary will explain it all. But he see's Tom stoking absently on the long red scars that trail from the top of his skull to the base of his neck and wonders if they make him self-conscious.
"I…thank you, I suppose. I'm sure many girl's find you handsome as well" He replies feeling a confused excitement bubble in his stomach. Apparently even after all these years his vanity still appreciates it when someone calls him 'handsome'. Although he had never expected Tom to be the one to say it; let alone think it. Tom shakes his head in disbelief and rubs his neck awkwardly at his neck. "Nah".
He looks at the scars again. "Do they bother you?" he asks momentarily forgetting what the point of their conversation actually was. Tom looks surprised but recovers and smiles looking nostalgic.
"Not now. But when I were younger and my hair were longer it always grew funny. Stuck up all over the place. I looked like a rightt muppet so now I just keep it like this." He says smiling at the memory and running his long fingers over his scalp again. Hal can just imagine Tom looking like that. An awkward but tough boy with spiky hair sticking up everywhere; one hand trying to flatten it down and the other holding a stake. He smiles for a moment but then remembers that Tom had wanted to ask him something.
"So what was it you wanted help with? I'm sure I won't be much help but I'll do what I can" he assures him and watches a pink flush spread across Tom's cheeks.
It takes him a while to process what is actually occurring. Tom is blushing. Tom is never embarrassed! He's like a bull in a china shop Hal thinks, he always just says what he thinks. It must be important…However the words that spring from Tom's mouth are quite possibly the last Hal had expected.
"I want you to teach me how t' kiss" he asks quickly. Hal just gapes at him for a moment. He wasn't sure how long he just sat there staring but he only stopped when Tom waved a hand in front his face.
"So will you help me or wot?" he asks looking nervous but also hopeful as if Hal was the resolution to all his problems. Hal blinks once and then again. Each blink making his brain begin to restart and begin to slowly process Tom's request. He wondered if Tom understood that kissing wasn't really something you can just tell someone. That it involved a great deal of closeness and body contact that he wasn't so sure he would be comfortable with.
"You've…never…kissed anyone before?" he asks incredulously, a virgin fine, but surely…
"Oh yeah. I have" Tom nods and Hal almost releases the breath he was holding in relief until Tom continues "I were 10 years old. An this girl, Emma, was playing Rapunzel and I was her prince. After I rescued her from the bad men, she held out her hand and I kissed it." Tom says seriously and Hal can do little but stare again.
"You're being serious aren't you? That's it?" he asks hoping that this was just some sort of joke ignoring Tom's slightly hurt face at Hal's disbelief. No-one is like this. Not in this century. No-one keeps themselves…for want of a better word…so…pure, Hal thinks.
Despite the fact that Tom has killed people; somehow he's managed to retain that innocence. It was sweet really; Hal can honestly admit he has never met anyone like Tom before. But that does not mean he is comfortable with kissing him. More so in fact now that he knows he would be Tom's first proper kiss.
"Tom…I why don't you ask Annie?" he suggests but Tom is already shaking his head.
"Annie? Nah it would be like kissing my older sister or something" he says.
Hal is confounded that he would be the next appropriate choice. "I appreciate that you don't have anyone else who can…can show you the ropes but you do realise that kissing isn't something you can just explain." He asks desperately hoping Tom will back out now understanding his error. But he doesn't he just sits there and waits expectantly, head cocked to the side slightly in a way that does NOT remind Hal of puppy…in ANY way.
"Tom…in order for me to show you how…I would have to kiss you…" he trails off watching Tom process the information. Tom bites at his lip drawing Hal's attention to it momentarily and begins speaking slowly as if he is trying to convince himself as well as Hal.
"But…it wudn't be a proper kiss…" he starts but Hal cuts him off.
"No, Tom it would be a 'proper' kiss. We would be kissing. As in you and me...kissing" Hal reiterates. Tom squints at Hal slightly.
"Is it cuz I'm a bloke?" he asks throwing Hal completely off track, it was like banging his head against a brick wall. It wasn't that Hal hadn't dabbled in that arena. But Tom...had never given any inclination that he was anything other than a completely straight man.
"What? No…that's…does that not bother you?" he asks seriously wanting to know. Tom looks at Hal for a moment, eyes searching his face and smiles slightly.
"Not really. I like girls an that. I've never liked boys but I don't think I would mind if it was you." He says as if that is somehow supposed to explain his apparent bisexuality in Hal's presence.
"Why would you not mind if it was me?" Hal ask genuinely wanting to know the answer but fearing a reply as vague and unhelpful as the previous ones.
"We're friends. I've got your back and you've got mine. I…err" Tom is evidently trying to think of way to explain himself clearly "I trust ya" he states. Hal tries in vain to ignore the warm feeling in his chest at Tom's words; I am not some giddy teenage girl he growls to himself in his head, but the words 'friends' 'trust you' float back into his memory. Hal attempted to think of some way to tell Tom that the feelings were mutual. But nothing came to his mind except…
Tom's head snaps up in surprise. "You'll teach me? You sure?" he asks slightly panicked but also sounding excited.
"Yes. Now please do shut up. This is going to be awkward enough without you bouncing around like an over-active puppy" he says mentally wincing at his verbal admittance that Tom reminded him of a puppy. Tom however looks likes quite pleased and beams at him.
"Alright…" Hal began to get nervous. It had been so long since he kissed anyone. He was in no danger of biting Tom; doing so would be a death sentence. But he was worried that perhaps this was another skill he had lost. Tom shifts closer and Hal does the same. They are sitting knee to knee now, bodies twisted so that they are facing each other.
"Right. I want you to close your eyes and lean forward slightly" Hal instructs, he has no idea when his voice had gotten so low and quiet but it seems somehow more appropriate. He watches Tom close his eyes completely trusting, long eyelashes fanning out against his upper cheeks. Hal had never really noticed Tom before. Never had the opportunity to study him this closely. He was handsome, not in the same way Hal was, more rough around the edges but equally, if not more, endearing.
"Hal..."Tom interrupts his thoughts.
"Shut up...Tom" he replies; needing to focus.
"I am trying to concentrate here! What?"
"Thanks..." Tom says, looking up at Hal and smiling, Hal will forever deny that his heart skipped a beat at that smile. Tom then closes his eyes again and waits.
He reaches tentative hand out towards Tom's cheek; not missing the way his hand trembled or the Tom's small intake of breath. His cheek was soft under his palm with the barest hint of stubble as he swept his thumb across Tom's cheekbone. He leans forward gently touching his nose against Tom's; breathing in deeply trying to calm himself. He could hear Tom's heart racing in his chest and his breathing increase; could feel how anxious he was.
Hal places a light kiss to the end of his nose. Testing the waters, in a manner of speaking. Watching Tom's reaction. If was going to be Tom's first kiss; he had conceded to himself that he may as well do it right. He kisses both eyelids, tracing his lips down his right cheek and presses another soft kiss to his strong jaw. He then kisses the middle of his chin and gently at the corner of his mouth. He pulls back until their lips are just touching, feather light movements. Hal traces his lips across Tom's giving him time to pull away if he wants to. He has no idea why he is being this gentle. Why it wouldn't have felt right to simply sit down and clinically show him how to kiss. He watches Tom's confused frown pull at his face when nothing else happens but continues to keep his eyes shut obediently. This makes Hal smile a little and then he softly presses his lips against Tom's.
Tom could feel his heart beating loudly against his ribs when Hal finally presses his lips against his. They are softer than he expected; warm and inviting. He presses back a little trying to mimic Hal. But Hal pulls away, Tom puts a hand on his arm to stop him but Hal's lips return parted slightly kissing him again and he finds himself gripping at Hal's shirt. This kiss is slightly wetter and pushing against his lips with more pressure. It feels nice like nothing he's ever done before. Hal pulls back taking a deep breath and opens his eyes to see Tom's still closed.
"Tom? Open your eyes." He asks. Tom opens them looking slightly worried as if he had done something wrong. "Hal?" he says his voice an unsure whisper.
Hal swallows thickly "Your turn…" he smiles hoping he looks reassuring and not like their kiss is affecting much more than it should. He closes his eyes.
Tom watches Hal close his eyes and shifts closer until he is kneeling in front of him. It's strange to Tom because one minute Hal is a stuck-up dickhead and the next he is the epitome of a handsome English gentleman. Gentle and respectful. He reaches out a rough palm to Hals stubbly cheek. The sensation of the stubble under is palm is unfamiliar but strangely pleasant. He moves a long thumb and gently strokes it across Hal's plump bottom lip. He watches; fascinated as Hal's mouth parts slightly, he tugs on the lip gently with his thumb, and shivers slightly as Hal sucks the tip of his thumb gently. Tom doesn't hesitate anymore and moves forward to kiss him.
He closes his eyes and keeps his kisses short and gentle. Hal's hands have moved to his waist, fingers splayed and digging in slightly. He is kneeling on the sofa with Tom and pressing back more urgently to his kisses. Tom pulls back to kiss gently across Hal's jaw and tracing his way down his neck. He doesn't miss the way Hal shivers slightly as he kisses his way across his neck down to his collar. He likes that, Tom notes. He kisses his lips again and tries to mimic Hal when he tilts his head.
Hal breaks the kiss off laughing softly. "What?" Tom asks. Hal smiles and nuzzles his nose against Tom's; feeling completely confused at how utterly comfortable he was with being this intimate with Tom but unable to stop himself.
"You turn your head the opposite way" he chides gently. He presses his lips back down onto Tom's and tilts his head again. Tom does the opposite and their lips slot together flawlessly. He pushes Tom's lips open slightly and swipes his tongue across Tom's lips causing Tom' to start slightly. But he doesn't pull away. He does it again but this time pushes his tongue inside Tom's mouth and slowly caresses Tom's tongue with his own; gently coaxing him. Tom catches on quickly and moves his tongue against Hals, in slow and languid movements. Tom breaks off the kiss with a gasp as he sucks in air.
"Breathe through your nose" he says and he pulls them closer until they are flush against each other's chests; Hal's hands are on Tom's waist and Tom's cupping Hal's face almost reverently. He captures Hal's lips again whispering "My turn".
Before Hal can even process what Tom said he finds himself being kissed quite thoroughly. Tom is moving against his mouth; tongue flicking and caressing his mouth and lips. He learns fast, Hal thinks as Tom experimentally nips at Hal's bottom lip; ripping a low groan from Hal's chest. He returns one in kind but keeps Tom's lip between his teeth, sucking on it while his fingers dance at the seams of Tom's vest catching the barest hints of skin.
It quickly escalates into something that can no longer be called 'teaching' as they fall off the sofa. Something that neither of them had expected but neither could pull away from. Tom lands on his back, head protected by Hal's hand and Hal braced on his elbows above him. They continue kissing as if breathing had gone out of fashion. Bodies pressed hard against each other; aroused and frantic. Urgent bites and licks that Hal never wants to stop and Tom doesn't seem to want to either. But as Hal slides a hand under Tom's vest relishing in the soft skin and hard muscle he finds there; they both freeze.
This wasn't supposed to happen like this. He hadn't expected it to be…whatever it had become. They weren't supposed to find this. He presses his forehead to Tom's and they both try to regain their breath. He tries to memorise Tom's overwhelming heat and the way his heart beats frantically against his chest; knowing he wasn't supposed to know this. To want this. He remembers how Tom told Hal that you don't just pluck that flower for anyone. He had laughed at the time but now he realises. Tom's waiting for someone special; his true love. Someone who will be just as good to him as Hal knows how good Tom would be to them.
He gets up shakily and offers his hand to Tom but avoids looking at him. Tom lays there confused and angry; more at himself than at Hal. He takes his hand, gripping his fingers just a little too tight and lets himself get pulled up. Hal takes his hand away and begins doing that weird finger number thing he does when he wants to calm down.
He looks at Tom and puts on a smile that strains and frays at the edges "Well done. You…you're a fast learner. I'm sure you'll impress whoever the lucky girl is…"
Tom doesn't know what to say or to do. He wants to kiss Hal again but he shouldn't want that. He has a plan. One where he marries a nice girl and settles down. Not one where he can taste Hal on his lips and his fingers still tingle from where he had mapped Hal's skin on their tips. Not one where he starts feeling things he's never felt before for another man, let alone a vampire, his enemy and an Old One to boot.
He looks at Hal again chest aching oddly. He is staring vacantly at the wall clicking his fingers together; his body tense and frozen. Tom sways slightly as he takes a step towards Hal but stops himself from reaching out to touch him.
"I dunno bout that…but err...thanks Hal" he says awkwardly and then forces himself to leave the room, every step feeling weighted like he's wearing concrete for clothing.
Hal doesn't stop his fingers moving until Tom leaves the room just in case he tries to touch him again.
It's better this way Hal thinks; this way no-one gets hurt, they can pass it off as getting caught up in the moment. He can't give Tom what he wants. And Tom…Tom shouldn't have to give up anything to be happy. He deserves it all and more. Hal would be there to watch over Tom and his family; he'd have his back; always. But nothing more.