If he was going to be honest with himself, Chris had seen a moment like this coming back when they were filming Thor. Branagh had demanded more and more from Tom, pushing him to go deeper, to find Loki's pain and make it his own, and Chris had seen Tom taking the demands pretty much literally.
Now, with all the easy fun of megalomania out of the way and Loki being asked to acknowledge the consequences of his actions, Tom was clearly feeling that pain all over again. He didn't claim to be a method actor, but he understood the characters he played all too well, and Chris didn't envy him for having to know what was going on inside Loki's head.
They managed to complete the scene at least before the cracks started to show fully, wrapping up their shots for the day with a good half-hour to spare. Still, even if everyone else was clapping each other on the backs for a job well done, Chris could see Tom's hands shaking - just the slightest nervous twitch, a hint that something was wrong. Taking the piss usually worked for defusing scenes where Tom had been playing Loki as angry, but this was different - Tom had a shocked, almost scared look to him, pale and wide-eyed.
Knowing that Tom needed privacy as soon as possible, Chris steered him away from the open space of the set and towards the costume department; it was easy to find somewhere quiet amongst the racks of jackets and shirts, even if they weren't completely hidden. It didn't matter much, seeing as they were alone in there anyway.
"I'm sorry," Tom bit out, maybe half a second before he started sobbing and buried his face in Chris' shoulder to muffle the sound. "I'm sorry, I can't -"
"No worries," Chris replied, pulling Tom into a tight hug; he couldn't say he liked seeing Tom cry, but as far as he was concerned, tears were better out than in. Even if it did mean damp patches in the cracks of Thor's armour.
"I just -" Tom's hands tensed and released, tensed and released over and over again, "I want to make everything okay for him. I want him to be safe, and I can't, and it's so stupid because he's not even real and - shit,"
The ramble was interrupted by Tom thumping his hands on Chris' chest angrily, just once, before he pulled back from the hug and wiped at his eyes, alternating between sobbing for Loki and snarling at himself for it. Chris, feeling more like he was dealing with a caged animal than a person, kept his voice soft, "We could always make up a happy ending for him. Say Joss' is the pretend one and we know the truth."
Chris didn't like to read too much into his characters, preferred to keep himself as flexible as possible, but he did know a few things for certain; "Thor's never going to give up on Loki, ever."
Tom wiped at his eyes again, the skin around them looking red and sore, but at least the tears seemed to have stopped. "Loki won't accept that. He blames Thor for everything - everything Odin got wrong, everything wrong he did -"
"Doesn't matter," Chris interrupted, confident and happy to be confident at that, "Like I said, Thor won't give up. He's stubborn, Loki's flighty. He's just got to be stubborn long enough."
Tom looked angry for a second, then lost, then relieved, "Do you think Loki deserves saving?"
Chris grinned, "I don't know. What's eighty people to a god?"
Tom laughed, snorting wetly, and Chris couldn't help but grin wider; it wasn't often that Tom lost his elegance, and it was gratifying to know he didn't look good when he did. Well, objectively he didn't look good when he did. He was still Tom, in the end.
"He deserves a chance," Tom concluded, nodding to himself, "To be loved."
What happened next was no one's fault, exactly. Chris meant to pull Tom back into a hug. Tom chose an awkward moment to channel Loki.
Either way, their first kiss was a confused mash of lips and nothing short of a spectacular disaster.
"Um," Tom said.
No one said, "This is a really bad idea."
Given Chris couldn't think clearly enough to respond at all, Tom kissed him again, softer and hesitant this time, though it was Chris who first opened his mouth for Tom. It was just a kiss - just skin on skin, the slide of tongues against each other, wet and firm - nothing more, nothing dramatic.
Except that Chris couldn't ignore how Tom was still fever-hot from crying, how he smelled incredible, how there was a hint of a moan when he caught his breath and it was enough to make anyone unsteady on their feet.
Chris pulled back, licked Tom's taste off his lips, and tried to think of something to say, failed to manage much more than a smile.
"Sorry about all that," Tom said, wiping his face with his sleeve before straightening his clothes, "I should get changed."
Chris watched Tom turn to leave, a surge of courage nudging him into saying, "I'm free tonight if, you know. You want a few beers."
Tom hesitated before glancing over his shoulder, a smirk twitching at the corners of his mouth. "American beer?"
"Fuck off," Chris snapped, "I've got taste buds too, mate."
Tom nodded, smirk softened into something quieter. "Tonight, then."
Chris suspected he'd be buying more than beer on his way back to the apartment. Maybe it was a presumptuous thought, but after that kiss, Tom's smirk had been enough to send a lot of blood rushing south. Rapidly.
Part of him still thought he could be making a very bad decision, but the louder, more entertaining part was more concerned with that half-moan he'd brought out of Tom earlier.
He wondered what other noises Tom could make.