Late on the first Friday of April, Neil Gorsuch made his way past several empty offices until he reached his destination. He felt an overarching need to come here, and no rationalizations—"He doesn't matter", "This will just bring trouble", and "He sure as hell won't want to see you"—did anything to dissuade him. Garland's office door was plain except for a plaque with his name and the court on which he sat. Gorsuch wondered idly what decorations Garland had inside. Were they diplomas? Newspaper articles about his ill-fated Supreme Court nomination? Gorsuch hesitated in front of Garland's door, his hand outstretch. Would Garland even be here? Oh, fuck this, he thought, and knocked.
"Come in," a man's voice called softly, and Gorsuch swung the door open. The office walls were indeed covered in diplomas, but with nary a newspaper clipping in sight. A robe hung from a hook behind the door. Garland sat behind his desk, his head bent over a stack of papers, making notes in the margins as he read through them.
"I'm sorry to disturb you," said Gorsuch, "but I wanted to have a word."
"Oh?" Garland set down his pencil and turned in his chair to observe him. "Why would that be? You're riding high since your confirmation. Why do you need to talk to me?"
"I don't need to talk, but maybe you do."
Garland looked supremely offended. "I have more than a decade's experience on you. How dare you come in here and patronize me?"
"No, that's not it at all," Gorsuch said hurriedly, in an attempt to forestall Garland's outburst. "Golly, I just felt like saying what a great judge you've been and that it really should be you prepping for your swearing-in."
Garland sat silently, his mouth slightly open. "Oh, I doubt that," he snapped. "You benefited from my humiliation. Why the fuck did you have to come here and rub it in?"
"I didn't come here for that, dammit," Gorsuch retorted hotly. "I just... needed to say I'm sorry for all this. You didn't deserve to be snubbed."
Garland rolled his eyes. "Yeah right. And you deserved what you got? You were nominated and then confirmed as easy as pulling off a Band-Aid with Trump's face on it. I don't want to talk about this."
"Goodness, just listen for half a second, would you?" Gorsuch grumbled, decisively taking Garland's hand. "I didn't ask for this shit, all right? I respect you as a jurist. It's too bad the Senate Republicans didn't."
"They did," Garland said, allowing Gorsuch to keep hold of his hand, but not returning the grip. "Sometimes, respect isn't enough to overcome partisan squabbles."
With a sigh, Gorsuch changed the subject. "What are you working on?"
"Going over a bunch of amicus briefs before oral arguments next week. Can't say this case is all that interesting." Garland pushed the briefs into a messy pile far from the desk's edge, and turned again to glower at his visitor. "I'm sure you understand such things. No doubt you will come to understand them even more intimately in the coming years."
"For God's sake, man," Gorsuch said, finally losing his composure. "I didn't ask to be nominated. I didn't beg McConnell to screw you over. And for what it's worth, I've always enjoyed reading your opinions. So please stop ascribing schadenfreude-esque motives to my visit!"
"I didn't ascribe them," Garland said. "You did that yourself. Surely you can't deny the immense satisfaction you feel right now." Garland's hand finally came to life, grasping Gorsuch's uncomfortably tight. "You want to make me feel better about this, so you can assuage your inkling of guilt?"
"Why else would I have come?"
"God, you conservative sorts are ridiculous as fuck, acting altruistic while secretly you begrudge everyone you're kind to." Garland rose to his feet and moved closer, extricating his hand so as to cup Gorsuch's face. "You've made my average evening about a hundred times worse by showing your face here, so why don't you make it up to me?"
"Sure," Gorsuch said. The way Garland was ogling him left little doubt as to what he had in mind. And, well, it was one of the myriad reasons he'd come, anyway. Gorsuch returned Garland's staring. The older man was downright bitter, and backing out now would only cement the worst of his assumptions. The grip on Gorsuch's face was verging on painful.
Leaning forward slightly, Gorsuch initiated a drawn-out, no-holds-barred kiss. Garland laughed slightly, and returned it with gusto. He briefly worried Gorsuch's bottom lip between his teeth, before letting it go and plunging his tongue into Gorsuch's mouth. Gorsuch moaned against him, needing—wanting more. (But why? Why did he want this to begin with?)
Pulling back, Gorsuch said, "Take your jacket off." Garland raised an eyebrow, but obliged. Gorsuch's jacket soon joined it.
"Fuck!" Garland groaned, throwing his head back as Gorsuch backed him against his desk, rubbing their straining erections together, hands sliding down his sides and untucking his shirt. Their kissing intensified, Gorsuch's nails digging into Garland's skin, Garland's hands tangling in Gorsuch's hair.
Gorsuch broke the kiss, trailing kisses across Garland's jaw and cheek until he reached his throat. He latched onto the skin there, biting and sucking. "No," Garland said, "I don't think so." He took Gorsuch by the shoulders and turned them both around, so that Gorsuch now had his back to the desk. "You're not leaving a mark on me."
"But I'll be leaving a mark on you," Garland whispered against Gorsuch's throat, "as evidence that you came here before your swearing-in. This way you will have a token of me—the one who should be taking the oath—when you're repeating after whichever Justice does the honors."
"Ugh, alrighty then," Gorsuch said. "Can we fuck properly already?"
And so they did, kicking off their shoes and pants and tangling together on the floor in the greatest dance of all.
"Remember," Garland snarled, tears pouring down his face, "Every oral argument you hear, every opinion you write—is never truly yours." He punctuated each phrase with a thrust, Gorsuch mewling along in diligent accompaniment. "Never. Forget."
They came then—with moans and delicious shudders, and it was bliss. It was pleasure beyond— It was the epitome of pleasure... "I'll remember," Gorsuch murmured. "Oh God, I'll remember."
After their climaxes, Gorsuch and Garland lay together in an exhausted heap, Garland sobbing into Gorsuch's chest. "I almost had it!" he whimpered. "I was so, so fucking close!"
"I know, I know," Gorsuch said quietly, kissing Garland softly on the forehead and running a gentle hand down his back.
"Fucking GOP! Fucking McConnell!"
"Shh, I know, I know."
"God, I hate you, Neil," Garland said, taking several deep breaths. "What did you ever do to deserve my seat?"
"I knew the right people at the right time, nothing more," Gorsuch replied, extricating himself from Garland's embrace and standing up to put on his discarded clothing. "I'm going to head out. Do you need anything else?"
"Not from you," Garland said, also rising, stretching in obvious discomfort as he did so. "We're really too old to be fucking on floors like a couple of hormonal teenagers."
"No shit," Gorsuch agreed fervently. "If you ever feel like doing this again, I'll be in town quite a bit—"
"Don't remind me. But yeah, I might give you a call."
They stood facing each other awkwardly, not quite sure how to say their farewells.
"Good night?" Gorsuch said uncertainly.
"Right. Good night. Bathroom's next door if you want to wash up."
The last thing Gorsuch heard as he left Garland's office was a hesitant "thanks." When he turned back to respond, the door snapped shut in his face. Smart man. Onward then, to forget his guilt...