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The Moscow pics, all thirty five of them.

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It was one of those rare warm days in the Russian capital that allowed them to have their jackets open and a few buttons of their shirts loose.

They were all assembled on the roof of the Ritz Calrton hotel. The photoshoot was coming to an end when a bunch of photographers, Polina, Kseniya and Olga, told Tom and Chris to separate from the others and take pics together as a modern version of the Odinson brothers. 

Just as they were taking normal pics facing the cameras Chris turned to Tom: “Hey let’s do a staring contest thing, people are gonna love that.”

“What?” Tom said.

“A staring contest!”

“No.”

“C’mon you love it.”

“I hate it, you always win.”

“This is boring to death, do you have a better idea?”

“No.”

“We’re doing it.”

“We are NOT doing a staring contest for the cameras.”

“What, are you afraid of my deadly charm?”

"Your what?” Tom was startled.

“My deadly charm,” Chris whispered with a smug smile. He could see Tom was scared. Because he meant it. 

“No I’m not.”

“Alright then.”

So they stood facing each other, hands in their pockets, Tom’s shades hanging from a button of his shirt. They were so close even without touching but it felt like they were. Would it make a difference, in front of everyone?  Chris knew he would win this as he heard the clicking and the flashing of the cameras. Tom’s bottomless blue eyes were provoking him, paired with those unsuspecting lips that were a breath away. He could almost hear  the photographers thinking “Now kiss!” and smirked ever so lightly. Tom was probably thinking it too, for now he was playing the game willingly, caressing Chris’ lips with his eyes.

“What the fuck are you doing, mate...” Chris thought. He had never seen Tom look at him in such an intimate way. Sure it was for the cameras, sure bromance sold like hot cakes, sure there was no lack of women in their lives but Chris couldn’t help wondering... if Tom meant it too. There was so much warmth in Tom, his simple friend-like proximity, his eyes, his lips that were now slightly parted, breaking a smile or just... taking a silent breath in like it was suddenly the most difficult thing in the world. Like it was difficult to hide. Chris couldn’t hear the clicking and the flashing anymore, there was only Tom’s breathing filling his ears. There was only them on that roof, him and Tom and the wind messing up their hair and their thoughts. 

“Would Tom risk a kiss if we were alone?” he thought. Or was he just acting for the cameras? It sure was easy for Thomas to hide his emotions behind a role. What if Chris stole that "shield” from him?

Chris decided that it was about time he got rid of that damn shield; he gazed at Tom’s lips in return like they were the most delicious treat he was ever offered, the most precious thing in the world. 

If you can act I can act too, bro.

And there he was. "Acting”. Pretending for the cameras he was taking a fancy to Tom, his newest best buddy, his co-star, his brother from another mother. Man, would the tabloids love that. Chris was smiling but he knew he wasn’t fooling anyone; his look was dead serious. He just opened his lips slightly to play with his tongue like he always did when he was anticipating Tom’s response.

The spell was broken. 

Tom lost the contest as he broke into awkward laughter, unable to stand Chris’ intense gaze anymore. 

“You bastard,” he breathed between giggles with his hands still in his pockets. “You won,” 

Chris took out his right hand to put it on Tom’s shoulder. Because that’s what he always did when Tom was around; he reached out to him, touched him even if people didn’t see it.  His fingers traced Tom’s back and came to rest on his neck. It was a gesture that always came natural to him, a movement that he repeated both in “Thor” and “The Avengers”. He did it with his brothers, he did it with Tom. Tom didn’t know the meaning of that touch but Chris didn’t care about it anymore. Because Thomas was now responding. He was putting his arm around his friend’s waist, a light but steady squeeze filled with trust. And love. 

“I won,” Chris said with a kingly smile.   

But he wished he hadn’t.