Going to Vegas is just one of those things that everyone wants to do, he reasons, unable to think of a single person who wouldn’t wish to be in his place right now. Well, at least superficially- in his place as in ‘on a plane to Vegas,’ not as in ‘about to find out if the banks have been fucking him over for the past who-knows-how-long’. Jamie’s gotten bored of tapping his fingers on the armrest and awkwardly leaning to look through the window over two people sitting in the way, so he flips through the book Ben gave him again and lands on a page about commercial loans and shifting assets. A good place to start as any- the whole thing makes no fucking sense anyway, what with the market going haywire and no one having the slightest idea which way is up. Except for the guys at the Securitization Forum, maybe, and if that’s the case they’re both screwed, regardless of his knowledge of bank liquidity.
He hears a loud sigh and turns to his left just in time to see Charlie with his head thrown back, rubbing his eyes with one hand, pushing his glasses up.
“Jesus fucking Christ,” he whispers, probably for no good reason, seeing as the lucky bastard next to him who got the window seat fell asleep already. Jamie wants to reach out- to offer comforting words and a sense of security, to be the same calm haven Charlie always needed him to be in the middle of a storm, a place he can return to- but they’re both in the same whirlpool together, which wouldn’t be unusual if it weren’t a damn Charybdis the size of, say, the entire United States.
So he says nothing for a while, thumbing at the corners of his book absentmindedly. Ben’s sitting a few rows ahead of them (for safety reasons, because of the government, or whatever it is he’s gotten into his head now) and Jamie’s pretty sure he can see the top of his head- he looks harder, to be extra sure. And then he looks at the people in the row to his right, two men and an old lady that seems to be awfully out of place and feeling it, too, and he looks at their hand luggage and the ‘NO SMOKING’ sign pasted on the ceiling, right over his head. He looks just about anywhere except to his left, where Charlie has his head in his hands out of sheer exasperation, finally, truly realising what they’ve gotten themselves into.
Jamie should be pissed. He should be real pissed, at Charlie and Wall Street and the banks and this whole... situation, but he can’t bring himself to act like it- he hates seeing Charlie like this, with the weight of the world resting on his shoulders.
“I can’t believe this,” he groans, voice muffled, “I can’t believe we’d actually-“
“Not necessarily! Not necessarily,” Jamie interrupts before the other man starts talking in circles, “We’re about to find out. Right?”
Charlie lifts his head up, nodding slowly, then knits his brows in concentration- he can feel another tidal wave of doomsday prophecies flood his head, because no matter how optimistic he was about their position, old thinking habits die hard, and perhaps he’d fall straight into their trap if he weren’t so damn exhausted. But the big heads at Securitization probably don’t care about the dark circles under Charlie’s eyes if it helps funnel the money along to them faster, so.
“But it’s just that- the, the thing is...” Charlie trails off, staring straight ahead at nothing in particular, expression blank, “Whatever. Whatever, I’ll just try to get some sleep.”
And that was a decision Jamie could wholly get behind, except-
“Hm- Wait, wait. Let me just...”
Charlie looks on in confusion as he lifts his hands towards his face, balancing the book on his lap, and gently pulls his glasses off.
“Dude, there’s no way you’d be comfortable sleeping with these on,” Jamie hangs the glasses from the collar of his shirt and tries to justify himself.
A quiet ‘thanks’ is all he gets in response and Charlie sits back, head resting at an awkward angle (neck pain is something Charlie-in-a-few-hours will just have to deal with, apparently), and closes his eyes. Jamie looks down at the book open on a random page in his lap, and figures that this is a time as good as any to continue reading. He already tried sleeping, but every time he relaxed enough to actually take the plunge into comforting unconsciousness, his brain would deliver a steady supply of every single way this whole thing could possibly go wrong, and then it kind of stopped being relaxing and started being terrifying, so. Commercial loans it is, then.
Before he gets past the first long-winded sentence, the sound of rustling clothing snaps the weak thread his focus was dangling off of. Charlie’s shifting in his seat, crossing and uncrossing his legs, leaning against the other side of the headrest, lifting an arm to cover his eyes and then quickly lowering it again, brushing against his side.
Jamie tries once more, but the words on the page aren’t so much words as they are scribbles that would probably make sense to him at any other time, but he can’t very well read now, not when-
He remembers last night, how he rubbed Charlie’s back in soothing circles and ran a careful hand through his hair and read to him from the most boring book he could find, all to no avail- the man didn’t get a wink of sleep. He’ll be tired all day if he doesn’t make up for it now, he realises, and then he’ll probably pass out in the middle of some life-changing conversation and beat himself up over it.
There’s the rustling again, and he can feel Charlie move this time, too, a comfortable warmth pressing against him as much as the armrest allows it.
A deep breath, a sigh, and then Charlie rests his head on his shoulder.
He freezes, not wanting to move, not even an inch- he refuses to risk waking Charlie, partially because the poor guy needs his sleep, and partially because, well, being this close to him feels good, it feels right, and he’ll be damned if he lets his own carelessness take that away from him. Charlie’s breathing has evened out surprisingly quickly, too, and Jamie can’t suppress the smile threatening to slip out- there’s no way he can keep up a reputation of ‘professional businessman on a plane’ when the simple act of Charlie falling asleep on him makes him do... this.
Thumbing at the corners of his book again, he reads on- more for show than anything else, really, seeing as his willingness to learn about finance just dropped to 0. Ben will probably kill them if they’re absolutely clueless by touchdown, but this is surely the type of thing one just picks up by listening to others casually talk about it. How hard can it be?
His ponderings on the intricacies of Ben’s book are cut short when he feels something nudge his thigh- Charlie’s hand, palm up and fingers open, inviting. So the bastard’s not asleep after all, and Jamie smirks, wondering if this whole thing was really just some cunning ploy to get him to hold his hand on a plane.
Whatever. He laces their fingers together, rubbing the back of Charlie’s hand with his thumb out of habit, and Charlie soon returns the gesture. Jamie goes back to his book, then, for real this time, ready to tackle whatever perplexing market theory this thing throws at him. And after about ten minutes of doing so, he’s suddenly aware of the fact that Charlie’s thumb is no longer moving over his skin, having slowed down to a halt some time ago- he must be asleep. For real this time.
Jamie turns to place a quick kiss on the top of his head, ready to give his full attention to educating himself for the next few hours, happy in the knowledge that Charlie will get some much-deserved rest. After all, at least one of them has to actually know something by the time they get there- good thing it isn’t Charlie for once, he thinks fondly, and lets the wonderful world of loan theory engulf him, made all the more bearable with Charlie at his side.