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Shine a Light

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Aidan's being weird. Frankly, Dean is concerned. He's also feeling incredibly smug. Already today he's enjoyed coffee and bagels in bed, lunch at that pretty bistro on Richmond, and a whole afternoon where he got to watch exactly what he wanted on TV, which consisted of three episodes of Super City and a documentary on ghosts. Aidan ordered pizza from the gourmet place with the amazing dip, they've just finished two rounds of mind-blowing sofa sex, and Aidan didn't even complain when Dean accidentally bit him on the chin.

Something is definitely up. If there's a situation he can complain about Aidan will milk it for all it's worth, and normally he says it's an outrage to order expensive pizza when you can buy five of the same thing from Pak'nSave.

Still, Dean can't pretend he isn't enjoying himself.

“That was nice,” he yawns, poking Aidan in the back of the head. He leans over the side of the couch to grab his boxers and raises himself up off the cushions to pull them on. “Do you want tea?”

“Please.”

Aidan's sitting on the floor watching television, wrapped up in the comforter Dean keeps draped over the back of the sofa. John Key is droning on about tax rebates from the House of Representatives, so Dean assumes Aidan isn't actually paying attention. Once again he's reminded that he should really ask what gives but, well, he doesn't want to appear ungrateful.

For the record, Dean really isn't ungrateful.

He places the mugs of tea carefully on the side table, slides back on to the couch behind Aidan and loops his arms around his neck, kissing his cheek. “Looking particularly gormless, babe.”

Aidan blinks and manages a smile. “Hm?”

“What's up?”

“Nothing,” says Aidan, rubbing his eyes for effect. “Just tired.”

“Well I'm not surprised,” Dean chuckles. He nuzzles Aidan's ear in a way which is probably kind of sleazy, but he's a bit too fucked-out to care. “Wanna go to bed?”

“Mm, in a bit.” Aidan twists his head to kiss him. Out of the blue he says, “I'm thinking of extending my tenancy.”

Dean yawns a second time, reaching out to loop his fingers lazily around a few of Aidan's curls. “Yeah?”

“It's, you know... maybe.”

“Can you do that?”

“Well, yeah.” Aidan begins to shift so they're facing each other properly, eyes a strange mix of sleepy and earnest. “I already spoke to my landlord. He's fine with it. I'm paying his price, after all.”

“How long were you thinking?”

Aidan shrugs. “Maybe half a year? Nine months?”

“Nine months?” Dean echoes, fingers stilling in the soft hair. Then he trails off, because a deep realisation has suddenly struck him and he isn't quite sure what to do about it. A tight, stifling feeling seems to have risen in his throat, and far too belatedly he blurts out, “What about your family?”

“What about them?”

“Won't you miss them? Nine months is a long time.”

“I don't see them as it is.”

Aidan's voice has taken on a gruff, sulky quality, the one he brings out when he's over-tired, or upset, or not getting his own way. Bewildered, Dean wonders which of the three it is.

He watches as Aidan picks up a pair of discarded sweat pants and pulls them on, lips tight in the manner of someone who wants to say something but is deliberately holding back.

When he does finally speak it's only to say, “Off to bed, I think.” He doesn't even kiss Dean goodnight or finish his tea, and as he goes off upstairs Dean finds himself wondering if the panic thrumming painfully in his chest is really that clear on his face.

When he goes into the bedroom a few minutes later he's surprised to find Aidan already asleep. Dean climbs in next to him and trails his fingertips down the smoothness of Aidan's bare back, but doesn't pull him close and cuddle him like usual because he's fairly sure he's done something wrong, that Aidan is upset with him and that the correct response to “I'm going to stay in this country a little while longer” isn't “nine months is a long time”.

 

 

New Zealand has no short supply of spring sunshine, and Dean glories in the warmth melting over him. He's on his back doing sit-ups on his bed, toes tucked under the foot board. He can tell that Aidan is on the doorstep outside from the wisps of cigarette smoke drifting up through the open window.

It's been two days since Aidan expressed his desire to extend his New Zealand stay, and they haven't spoken about it since. It's probably for the best, Dean thinks. Maybe if they don't talk about it Aidan will drop the idea completely.

He feels awful thinking that way, but honestly, it's not a slight against Aidan at all. If the two of them were just friends, just harmless, boyish friends, then fuck living across town from one another – Dean would happily have Aidan live here.

But they're not just friends. They shower together and shag like rabbits and share sleepy, lazy morning kisses and coffee, and so it's kind of a big deal when Aidan announces he's thinking of dramatically extending the two-month lease he signed after they finished filming.

They all did it, all of the cast, took up little flats and dirt cheap town houses to kip at while premiers and gruelling, boundless interviews reared their ugly heads. But the others have gone home now, and only Aidan is still here.

It's not that Dean doesn't like Aidan. Dean likes Aidan a lot. Aidan is sweet and sexy and has just about the lushest smile this side of the Pacific. He's funny and thoughtful and curly-haired and bright-eyed, and he always beats Dean on Black Ops II but he does so with an impressive amount of sportsmanship and good grace.

It's just that, well, Dean likes a lot of other things too. He likes feeling that first tug of lust in his abdomen when he's presented with a handsome face, and he likes moving about and being restless, and he likes new and interesting sex and, above all else, the idea of long-term commitment has always struck him as kind of fucking terrifying.

Why else would Aidan want to stay here, if not for that? He doesn't even like hot weather.

Dean falls asleep in the middle of his crunches. When he wakes up it's two o'clock and Aidan is leaning over him with a hand on his shoulder.

“I need to go back to my flat for a bit,” he says. “Post and stuff.”

“Right,” says Dean. “Sure. You coming back later?”

Aidan seems almost to hesitate. “Do you want me to?”

“Of course!” Dean burbles. “I'll make us dinner. I'll buy wine.”

He presses a chaste kiss to Aidan's lips, watches as Aidan swipes up his keys and leaves the room. His footsteps thump down the stairs. Moments later, the front door closes.