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Friends by Te

Friends
by Te
May 1998
Disclaimers: Not mine, and I mean no disrespect by this, O Great Powers. Please don't hurt me. Much.
Spoilers: Bwahahahah
Summary: Teddy bear pyjamas, Rutger Hauer flicks, popcorn, and friendship. Langly/Byers.
Ratings Note: NC-17 for my potty mouth and m/m interaction.
Archiving Information: As *if*, but please ask first.
Author's Note: This is for Dawn, wench that she is, for paying far too much attention to the fact that I've been known to take requests. Drat the woman, and Viridian too, for providing the original block-breaking challenge. Remind me never to ask either of these weirdos to dare me again.
Thanks and Acknowledgments: To CiCi for beta work, Alicia for her usual and under-appreciated efforts to translate Tespeak for the world and the pajama idea, (BTW: Does anyone know where one could find teddy bear-sized buttless chaps?) and to Martha and Jen for their gratefully accepted provision of vital statistics.
I have been known to abase myself quite prettily for feedback...


Friends
by Te
******

John F. Byers crossed off another day on his internal calendar. Two thousand, eight hundred forty-seven days. Nearly eight years since Mathilda

//take me money and run Venezuela//

had divorced him. Nearly eight years since he had gotten laid. He supposed there was really no reason that, this, too, couldn't go into one of his encrypted journals along with all the other musings, rants, and effluvia of his daily life that made up his entries. However, beyond the endless RPGs and the hours of Japanimation, the most popular means of Time Suckage

//Who coined that term? Was it Floyd... must've been... him with his Faith No More obsession and unfulfilled drive to musicianship... How dusty *is* that bass these days?//

for himself and his two companions

//And how *did* that happen, anyway? When did we become integral to each other's lives? Are we even individuals anymore?//

were the good humored attempts to break into each other's diaries... nothing like finding new fodder for the passive aggressive mockery of another day at the Headquarters.

Byers opened his

//oh so neat, John...//

beard kit and trimmed the aggressive hair just below the left side of his chin that always grew so much faster than the others. It was always a conflict to do so for him, the warring impulses to

//perfect//

neatness and the fierce and somehow primitive pride he felt at the rebellious follicle's urge to ambition creasing his forehead a little further with each brisk snip! of the scissors.

//I need a life.//

"You still look like a narc, Byers."

The voice came as a shock, and John was deeply irritated at the fact that its not-quite-nasal grate had the (presumably desired) effect of making him jump.

"Even in my Hopalong Teddy

//complete with chaps//

pajamas? In any case, *you* still look like a hopeless Bon Jovi fan, lost in time..."

Byers wondered if Langly had ever twigged to the fact that the main reason he kept the beard

//Lots of people have weak chins, after all...//

was so he could retain the illusion of blandness in his expression. He had been scared, if only a little, and he preferred to conceal the fact. He had a baby face under the hair, and it hid nothing at all. Langly may not have been a prize himself but there was something

//strange//

about the hazel eyes, something that gave the other man the appearance of being a vessel for the arcane. He smirked a bit at the thought,

//So long as said arcana hails from the realm of elves and robot cars...//

and continued his morning routine, reaching for the floss.

//Before *and* after brushing. Always cinnamon, always waxed.//

He closed his eyes to gargle with the Plax, and when he bent to spit in the sink he found himself in contact with something strangely warm and giving. There was a truly horrifying uncoiling in his belly, which made it hard to decide what the most dignified reaction to this invasion of his personal space would be. As such, he stayed as he was for a long moment before rising to meet Langly's eyes in the mirror.

"What are you doing this afternoon, Byers?"

//Huh? That isn't what you're supposed to say...//

"Well, I, uh-- nothing, actually. Why?"

"Lost Picture Show is doing a Rutger Hauer retrospective... granted, there's a lot of pain there, but Blade Runner's on at three. Thought you might be interested."

It was disconcerting to feel the other man's presence yet have only the cold and somehow false reality of his image in the toothpaste-spotted mirror.

//Tch. Doesn't *anyone* clean but me?//

John wondered if it would have been socially acceptable to hold another man's gaze so directly if they were face to face. He caught himself narrowing his own gaze in yet another futile attempt to pry apart that *otherness* in Langly's eyes into something manageable, and abruptly shook off his observations. As usual, everything else in the mildly cragged face was bland.

"Sure, why not?"

"Cool. We'll take your car."

//Of course.//

The younger man turned to leave.

"Frohike coming along?"

"Nah, Vicky's came in today. He plans to devote the afternoon to a search for the perfect gift for Tasty."

John couldn't help but smile at the old joke of their nickname for Scully. The bad-little-boy thrill of using such an inanity to describe a woman who could probably kill a man with just a well-aimed eyebrow... well, you had to appreciate the absurdity. Besides, it was a far more comforting thought than that of an afternoon alone with Langly in a darkened theater.

******

"Sweetarts? I can feel *my* teeth decaying, Langly."

"You've got a real oral fixation, you know that?"

"I--"

"Besides, if there's a substance less palatable than that machine urine so optimistically titled "Butter Substitute," I certainly haven't heard of it."

"Machine urine? Oh, *lovely,* Ringo."

//What *is* it about Freudian references that make them so universally embarrassing?//

"Well, John Fitzgerald..."

Byers winced at the cumbersome name and focused on his maligned popcorn to hide it. He had, after all, started it with the Ringo business.

"... *that* yellow with *that* particular stench?"

"Hmm...? Oh. Anyone ever tell you that you pay way too much attention to bodily fluids? Are you trying to share something about your personal life?"

The older man walked on into the tiny theater, relishing the empty space at his side that so eloquently illustrated his small victory.

//Water sports. Ends any conversation.//

The Lost Picture Show was a good place, he decided. Burgundy carpeting, pale golden

//don't go there//

floor lighting perfect to guide you to your seat, without that harsh white runway quality inescapable in the mainstream movie houses. It was, surprisingly, only a quarter full, though Byers supposed that 3 p.m. on a Thursday wasn't quite the best time for a full house. As it was, he was able to secure his favorite position,

//Left section, right in the middle, aisle seat//

though he always felt a twinge about taking those. Byers had a vague and niggling memory of his father telling him to always save those for latecomers and single people. Single people... even as a child the thought of being so unutterably alone that you were forced to go to movies by yourself had bothered him deeply.

//There is no situation so sad as being alone in a crowd of happy couples and good friends.//

John shivered a bit, and only belatedly remembered to stand so Langly could get to his own seat.

******

"This is the best part."

John nodded absently and took an ill-advised munch of his cold popcorn. His companion had said that at least twelve times, about everything from those first eerily perfect shots of smoke rising through rain, to the infamous raincoat scene, to Isidore's oddly poignant interaction with his animatronic creations. He'd grown accustomed to the brush of soft hair on his cheek, the gleeful fanboy whisper at his ear that carried hints of sugar and faux citrus... and he'd had to agree each time. And *this* time... that kiss of death, so eagerly accepted... well, it was rather affecting.

The theater was air conditioned; too much so, really. Even through his

//Ever-present. Christ, I *do* look like a narc.//

suit jacket it was uncomfortably chilly and John edged down in his seat and pressed a little closer to Langly. Yet another reason to be grateful for friends, he thought. Pure, unadulterated creature comfort. He could see the glare from the screen on Langly's glasses, knew the other man's eyes were on him, but John couldn't bring himself to study their depths again. This was, after all, the best part.

******

"HQ or do you want to head back to your place?"

"Hmmm... HQ's fine, but I do need to get some stuff from my apartment. Where are you headed?"

"Headquarters, I guess, but we can swing by your place first."

"Cool."

Langly poked under his seat and was noticeably pleased to come out with John's CD caddy.

//You'd think he didn't do the same thing *every* time he rode in my car... Ah well, taking joy where he can find it, I suppose.//

Oh, it was a great movie, all right. One of his all time favorites. But damned if it didn't always put him in a mood. Langly seemed to be aware of the fact, or at least his eventual choice of music seemed to be geared to it. The soundtrack to "The Piano." The music itself was melancholy, but beautiful just the same. And *that* was a movie that ended well. The darkness of the music was an excellent counterpart to the action onscreen, acknowledging love without ignoring the inherent weaknesses and darkness of the characters. He found himself humming along and smiling wistfully. When he glanced over at the other man he saw a small, secretive smile, but refused to stop humming long enough to acknowledge his irritation.

******

Langly's apartment was small and cozily cluttered, but still very clearly little more than a way station. John knew his own place was exactly the same, just another storage room to hold on to things whose importance was remembered only at those moments of momentous decision during Spring cleaning. Perhaps worse, without all the mess...

//The echo is the worst...//

"Don't you *ever* clean, Langly?"

"Orally fixated *and* anal retentive... have you considered counseling?"

"Just because I like a room you can *walk* through doesn--"

"Why are you like this, Byers?"

//*That's* not your line...//

There was an ease to the sniping between them. After all, you have to really *know* someone to be able to snipe at them with any degree of efficacy. They would bicker for a while, something more interesting would come along, and all manner of disturbing thoughts could be happily ignored for a while. But this... this was different.

John finally looked over at the other man, and was shocked to find he had closed most of the distance between them. Those eyes were on him again.

"Wh-what?" He cleared his throat. "Like what?"

Langly kept coming, moving until they were face to face in the apparent epicenter of the chaos. John looked down and away.

//Interesting that all this stuff seems to form a rough spiral... I wonder if he's noticed?//

Abruptly, there was a hand on his jaw, and he was eye-to-eye with the other man. John had forgotten what it was like to watch a

//lover's//

person's pupil dilate and it wasn't very difficult at all to watch the muddy hazel be inexorably eclipsed, and ignore the wicked grin.

"I *thought* so."

"Wha--"

Sugar and citrus... no, that wasn't quite right. It was acid and it *burned*... it made his mouth ache in sympathy and did he really eat an entire *box* of those things and that tongue it was darting and striking and he could really get accustomed to this oh god hand on my...

He bucked into the soft palm cupping him and gasped, opening his mouth wider, and Langly used the opportunity, diving in deeper and making John sway on his heels. A wiry arm was instantly supporting him, fingers darting up to play with the short hairs at his nape before dancing down his spine again. The other hand was swiftly divesting him of his brain cells along with...

"Jesus!" The feel of trousers puddling around his ankles was shocking enough to make John break the kiss, and he stumbled dangerously for a moment against the arm still around him before it was pulled away.

"Ow."

Byers couldn't even begin to speak, and only looked a question at the other man.

"Beard burn. But I have to admit, I could get used to the taste of butter substitute."

"Huh?"

"Don't worry about it."

And, with that, Langly dropped to his knees before John's incredulous eyes and tucked his fingers into the waistband of his straining briefs. He thought he should say something at this point, do something at the very least, but his arms appeared to be paralyzed and in another moment he was helpfully lifting one foot at a time and then standing there, ridiculously naked from the waist down.

"Nice, Byers... I gotta admit I've thought about this for a while..." A lap at the leaking head. "... but you're always so..." An all-too brief sucking kiss. "... buttoned-up..." A nip at the base that brought him close to howling.

"Please..."

And the teasing was cut off like a switch. John wondered dimly what was in Langly's eyes at that moment, but the thought died hard when the younger man engulfed him to the root and sucked. Byers could feel his knees buckling, but Langly held him steady by his hips, a maddening grip that restricted his movements to impotent little thrusts that did nothing to satisfy, not like

a dozen mermaids in some Caribbean pool stroking and teasing and never in his life had it seemed like his entire being was so centrally located... no arms no legs just a rock hard cock being worked and worked and he could see himself all of him disappearing and reappearing but that was impossible because there was no him aside from his cock and it was all so sweet and so damned harsh and when a hand stealthily skittered over his entrance all those fucking impossible colors that only appear on movie theater candy and the occasional particularly virulent Chee-to made perfect sense...

When John came to he was on his knees, head lolling to one side. He opened his eyes to find himself cradled by Langly, fey little face warmly amused, childlike innocence marred only slightly by the bit of white on his chin. It wasn't to be borne. Byers dove for the other man and licked him harshly, feeling a much-too-soon twitch in his nether regions at the taste of himself on another man, and letting his tongue rove over the shock-slackened mouth before taking him in a kiss.

"I'll take that as a compliment."

"Oh, it was, but..." It felt like the other man was burning stone beneath his jeans, and the hiss Langly made was quite satisfying, really.

"Yeah?"

"What about..." A squeeze. "You?"

"I do have a bedroom... somewhere..."

"Sounds good to me. Let's go."

"Yeah..."

Langly stumbled on the way to the bedroom, and Byers heard him mutter something that definitely sounded like: "Clean... must... clean."

It was good to have friends.