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Sam and Ryan attend the Everest premiere

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players only. backdated to September 2, 2015. takes place at the Venice Film Festival, a few months after Sam asked Ryan to come with him.

Fuck. They're in the queue to pull up in front of the red carpet and Sam's got this sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. This is it. He's not going to confirm anything but he also won't be able to take it back. He blows out a breath, reaching for Ryan's hand as their car moves up another spot. He gives it a squeeze, glancing at his husband, his lover, his boy. And that's fucking it. He knows this is the right thing to do. "I love you," he says, bringing Ryan's hand to his lips for a kiss.

Ryan's lips curve in a bashful grin. "I know," he murmurs, melting at the kiss. "And I love you, always. No matter what." Christ. He certainly still isn't sure this is the right move. But it's Sam's call, as it should be. "Last check?" he asks, sitting up straight and tugging at the open collar of his black dress shirt. He's topped it with a gray suit, and he hopes the look is good enough for his first – maybe only – real red carpet appearance. "Posh enough that I look like I respect the whole business, but not so much like I'm trying too hard?"

"You look gorgeous," Sam says. Neither of them could be bothered with ties, which he's sure the tabloids will have a hell of a time with tomorrow, regardless of the rest of the shit hitting the fan. At least Ryan talked him out of jeans and his usual boots and he thinks he looks pretty decent in his black suit and white dress shirt. "Here we go," he bites hard at his lower lip, the car stopping and their driver coming around to open the door.

"Okay." Ryan nods, his jaw tight with nerves and anticipation. "I'm right behind you." Holy fuckin' hell is this really happening?

Sam steps out and the photographers go wild, lights flashing, reporters yelling their questions already. He's used to this part, but he can feel exactly the moment when it changes, when they catch sight of Ryan behind him.

Ryan keeps his head down until he's all the way out of the car, dreading the next instant of time. But inevitably it comes anyway, and he stuffs his hands into his pockets and pastes a smile on his face, then steps up nearer to Sam instead of trailing behind.

"Sam! Sam! Who's with you tonight?" one of the reporters yells, shoving his mic as close as he can get it.

"This is Ryan. Kwanten. He's my mate and P.A.," Sam explains. "He's also a songwriter."

"Are you together?" another reporter yells, shoving the first one aside as Sam keeps moving along slowly, Ryan moving with him.

"I thought it'd be fun for him to see how crazy this is," Sam says, giving Ryan a grin. Completely ignoring the question.

"Pretty fucking crazy," Ryan mutters in agreement, and works to keep his smile in place, hoping that it'll start to feel more natural eventually. He glances at his lover. "It didn't take them long at all to ask that one."

"Sam! How was it to work with all these amazing actors?" one of the more reputable reporters asks.

"It was fantastic," Sam says, giving Ryan a nod. "I really respect all their work and the script was amazing. The fact that it's based on a true story. I couldn't resist."

Another mic's shoved in his face and he takes a step back. "Hey mate. Give us some room," Sam says, giving the guy a bit of a death glare.

"You're not seeing Natalie Portman anymore. Who are you seeing now?" the guy asks, undeterred.

"None of your business," Sam grins.

Ryan smothers an unexpected snicker, and sidles to put a bit of space between himself and the press corps. "I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to look so gleeful when people ask you about the Breakup of the Century."

Sam laughs. He can't help it. "I just love telling them it's none of their business. I'd no comment my way through if I could."

"Yeah, that sounds more like you." But damn, when Sam laughs, Ryan nearly buggers the whole deal – that open, throaty laugh is the sexiest fucking sound in the world, and Ryan just barely holds himself back from grabbing his husband and kissing him senseless.

"Sam!" yells another reporter. "What's up next for you?"

At least it's a question about his work. Sam steps forward. "I'm working in Australia on a movie called Hacksaw Ridge. Mel Gibson's directing. It's about this American army medic..."

"Ryan," a reporter reaches across the barrier, tugging on Ryan's sleeve. "What's it like working for Sam?"

Surprised, Ryan falls back a step, but at least the reporter doesn't seem belligerent as a couple of the others do. "It's always interesting, that's for sure," he answers with a playful grin. "I don't ever get bored."

"I'll bet," the reporter says, smiling back. "How long have you known each other?"

"Umm, I took the job in 2011," Ryan tells the guy, after a quick moment of thinking back. He glances over to check how things are going for his lover.

Sam's rambling on – for him – about Hacksaw Ridge and a couple other projects he's got coming up, the reporter he's talking to seeming genuinely interested. He's got an ear open for Ryan and what's happening there but his lover seems fine for now.

"And did the job come before or after you two got involved?" the reporter asks Ryan, as casually as he asked the two questions before.

Ryan raises a sharp eyebrow at the guy, his feelings of ease washed out in an instant. Replaced by cold fear. "Do your digging somewhere else," he says, and moves out of reach of all of them, back towards the center of the carpet. He does not look at Sam, fuck no.

"I'd better move along," Sam says, thanking the one guy for his interest. "What happened? What he'd say?" he murmurs, pulling up beside Ryan.

"Nothing. No worries," Ryan answers, his gaze blank as he surveys how long a distance they have left to cover. "It's good, do your thing."

"Only if you stay with me," Sam says. After all, that was the whole point. "You can stand right behind me. If they say anything, ignore them or," he grins, "tell them 'no comment'."

That advice brings back Ryan's own grin. "I'm allowed to say 'no comment,' just not you? All right, cool."

The next few journalists are just that, journalists. They ask some decent questions about Everest, a polite one at least about Natalie, accepting it when Sam gives the long-distance-grew-apart-still-friends-blah-blah, and a few more about his co-stars and upcoming projects. But there's always one asshole in the bunch and that one yells out, "How long have you two been fucking?"

And Sam just grins, a devilish twinkle in his eye. "None of your fucking business, mate." Rolling his eyes at the other reporters and muttering under his breath, "Asshole."

The way Sam brings the crowd in on the joke fetches a lot of laughter, and even Ryan manages to smile and shake his head. As if he's heard that one a million times already, and fuck, when will people grow the fuck up? And so when the next pushy bastard directs the same question to him, he actually manages to roll his eyes too, with a firm, "No comment."

"Told you it was fun," Sam quips, grinning, moving them along a little more quickly, a quick photo op given to the remaining photographers. "Sorry. Got to get inside, guys," he says to the reporters.

"Yeah, he needs to get inside," Ryan echoes, nodding firmly and laying his hand on Sam's shoulder in a herding gesture. "He's having way too much fun. His management team has really been cracking down on that." He grins at his husband, his usual equanimity restored, and steps back so that Sam can enter the pavilion first.

When they're safely inside, Sam turns to Ryan, grin in full force. "We made it."

"We made it," Ryan echoes softly, a blitzed look in his eyes. "You have balls of steel."

Sam laughs. "I just want what I want and this was what I wanted now," he says, smiling, eyes sparkling, brushing his fingers across the back of Ryan's hand. "It's actually what I wanted all along, I've just been too fucking chicken to go for it." Which isn't entirely true, because they both know coming out before this would've tanked his career, but now, financially, emotionally, work-wise, they're in a place where at least this step is possible.

Ryan's gaze softens in an instant and he ducks his head to hide the hot flush he can feel on his cheeks. "Don't do that," he whispers, grinning down at the floor. "It'll ruin all our hard work if I jump you now."

"Promise you'll jump me later," Sam kids, nudging their shoulders together.

Muttering out of the corner of his mouth, Ryan answers, "You know you can count on me for that." Fuck, and now he's just smiling like a fool in a crowd of professionally nosy people. He fears that surely someone will notice...

"I can't believe you guys did that," Martin says quietly, walking up behind them. He shakes his head, grinning, completely amused. "I mean, I knew you were a crazy fucker," he tells Sam. "But that was right off the charts."

"Do you think everyone could tell?" Ryan asks Martin, under his breath. Because hell, the guy already knows he and Sam have been together for years he might be the perfect choice to provide an outside perspective.

Martin shrugs. "Wasn't that the whole point?" he asks, but at Ryan's stricken expression, he rushes to assure him, "It's not like there was some flashing neon-light or anything. They're still just guessing, but yeah, you don't attend these things with your mates," he says, giving Sam another look.

"He used to," Ryan whispers, thinking over the red carpets Sam has walked since they got together, in contrast to the ones he walked before Ryan. Fuck, he wants to touch his husband right now, needs the contact to reassure him. He settles for giving Sam a little smile. Knowing that his feelings shine in his eyes.

"Stop worrying," Sam says, leaning in, smiling at them both, aware they still have cameras on them. "I told you. I don't care what they print. They can gossip all they want. I'm not hiding anymore."

"You're not exactly announcing it to the world though, are you?" Martin says, not quite sure what the hell they're doing.

"No, and I'm not going to. Yet," Sam adds. "I'm just fucking sick of faking everything. So this is me coming out without coming out." Which might sound stupid, but he doesn't give a fuck. All that matters is how Ryan feels about it. "You okay?" he asks his husband.

"Yeah," Ryan answers softly, smiling at his lover. Because if Sam is satisfied with the way things are going, then Ryan could give a shit about his own doubts – it's not his fucking life. He turns his grin on Martin. "What are you going to do when people start pestering you for details about his life?"

Martin grins and Sam punches him on the shoulder. "Don't you dare," he says, but he's grinning too. "This is not one of your fucking pranks."

"I know," Martin laughs. "I'll tell them I have no fucking idea what's going on."

Ryan nods. "Excellent. That ought to confuse the issue further." The crowd inside is growing as late arrivals straggle in, and when someone bumps him from behind, accidentally pushing him into Sam, he's just grateful for the excuse.

Sam grins at Ryan, hands going to his arms to brace him, it taking every fucking ounce of willpower he has not to kiss his husband.

And oh god, Ryan definitely should not have just risked that glance into Sam's eyes, because it puts him off balance in a whole different way. "It looks like I've fallen for you," he murmurs, straightening up and pulling his jacket to lie smooth once more.

Sam grins. "Lucky me."

Martin snorts and rolls his eyes, but he's just kidding. He may not be gay but he envies these guys their relationship, their connection.

Ryan raises an eyebrow at Martin's sardonic response. "Does that mean you want to sit between us?" he asks, all cheek.

"Might be good for appearances," Martin retorts. "Make you keep your hands off each other."

Ryan very carefully does not look at his lover. "Now you've done it," he murmurs to Martin. "I'm falling on you next."

"Hey. I'll even kiss you," Martin offers. "Draw all the attention away from Sam." He grins.

Sam elbows Martin. "If I wanted the attention drawn away, I wouldn't have done this at all," he points out.

Grinning at the play between the two of them, Ryan ducks his head. And quietly asks his husband, "But you are going to kiss me at some point, right?"

"Here?" Sam asks.

Feeling his face flush hot, Ryan quickly shakes his head. "I'm sorry, Sir. I was just joking," he whispers. Damn, he's not good in these huge public events, and his nerves are still standing on end from the red carpet gauntlet.

In fact, he's so anxious that it takes a few seconds before it hits him that now he's just said something much worse.

Martin blinks hard, certain he's heard wrong for a moment before his brain helpfully replays the words. Sir. Well, Sam /is/ Ryan's boss, but Martin's got a fairly good idea that's not what he meant. Shit.

Sam can tell by the look on Martin's face that he made out exactly what Ryan said. Fuck. "That's something else we need you to keep on the down low," he tells his mate, moving closer to Ryan. Finger brushing over the back of his husband's hand. "It's okay. I was just joking too."

"Um. Uh-huh," Ryan mumbles. The illicit caress makes him shiver, and he fervently hopes that it means there won't be hell to pay later, in private. Regardless, he vows on the spot not to speak except to answer a direct question for the rest of the night.

"Don't worry. I don't even want to know," Martin says, shrugging the whole thing off with a laugh. Although the weird part is, he does. Can't help wondering what that looks like at home. What they do together.

They're still in the lobby, people milling around them, slowly making their way into the theatre. "We're not going in there until I get a full sentence out of you," Sam tells Ryan with a smile, knowing he'll have a rough time focusing on anything else if his boy's busy beating himself up.

"Um." Ryan blanches. Sam might be smiling but the look in his eyes is deadly serious, and his boy knows him too well not to note the difference. "Maybe I should sit in another row," he suggests, scratching his chin. "So that I don't forget myself." Again.

Sam exhales softly. "That kind of defeats the purpose of having you with me, doesn't it?"

Uncomfortable with being privy to too much between the two men, Martin takes his leave. "I'll catch you guys inside," he says, touching them both on the shoulder before moving away, having seen Jake on the other side of the hall.

Laser-focused on his sir as he is, Ryan barely even registers Martin's departure. "I thought this was supposed to be PG." And if someone overhears and assumes he is referring to the movie, then more power to them.

Sam looks around for a moment, registering who's watching, which isn't really anyone. Not seriously. Not with any focus. "You really don't trust yourself to behave around me for a couple of hours in public?"

Fuck. Ryan considers how nervous he is, and how he usually comforts himself when he feels this way... "No, of course. I wasn't serious, of course," he lies. He smiles. "Everything's gold."

Sam doesn't believe Ryan. Not for a fucking second. And he's not sure what to do. They could make their excuses, cut and run, but how the hell would that look? And what kind of precedent would it set for the future? He could just fucking kiss Ryan and get it over with and he's so tempted it's not even funny but he remembers how Ryan reacted in the parking lot that time, when he was just trying to make things better and he has a really good feeling it wouldn't. He blows out another breath, torn, and cursing the fact he decided to do this half-assed in the first place. "C'mon. I'll get Martin to sit between us," he says, nodding in that direction.

"Okay." Ryan casually puts his hands into his trouser pockets – all is calm, nothing to see here – but his gaze lingers on his lover. "I really am excited to see this film."

"I know," Sam says, giving Ryan a smile. "I'm excited about you seeing it." It might not be the biggest role he's had, but it feels like one of the best he's been given in a while.

That smile... God, it just does wonders for Ryan. His own smile slips out in response, a genuine one this time.

Smile morphing into a grin – Ryan's here, who cares where they sit – Sam grabs Martin and settles him between them in one of the rows reserved for cast and crew. The three of them make stupid small talk until the lights dim and then, thankfully, there's nothing but two hours of watching the story they struggled to tell unfold.

When the final credits began to roll, Ryan finds himself exhaling hard and sitting back in his seat; he hadn't even been aware of how completely engaged he'd been with the characters' struggle on the mountain. And Sam's character was just as heroic as Ryan thinks of him, so he's got no complaints there. "Wow," he tells Martin, "that was truly awesome."

Martin grins. "Thanks," he says. "It did turn out pretty well." He smiles at Sam. "Are we supposed to join the Q&A?"

Sam shrugs. "I'm not going up til Baltasar calls us," he says with a laugh. "Martin here's gonna become the next Sean Bean. Die in all his roles."

Martin elbows him. "Shut up."

The interplay between the two men just makes Ryan smile even wider. "But let's be honest," he says. "Every time Sean Bean gets killed, it breathes new life into his career."

"That's true," Martin says, making a face at Sam.

Sam just eyerolls and starts to say something, but sure enough, the guy on stage motions for them to join him and Baltasar. "We'll be back," he tells Ryan instead.

Ryan grabs the opportunity to slip out of the crowded theatre for a few minutes. When he returns, cold beer in hand, he doesn't even try to work his way back to their row of seats again; he's much happier to linger in the shadows far from the stage, anyway. And besides, with the whole Q&A panel being projected onto a 20-foot screen, he's unlikely to miss any nuances even from a distance. So he relaxes and simply enjoys – laughing at the cast's and director's jokes, sipping his beer, and finally letting go of some of the tension coiling his muscles.

That is, right up until some pissant prick journalist takes advantage of the captive subjects. "A question for Mr. Worthington," he begins. "Do you intend to use the Everest press tour as the official platform for revealing your sexuality to the world?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," Sam says smoothly, amused, pushing back the edge of anger that's right there as well.

"Jesus fuck," Ryan mutters, scrubbing a hand over his eyes. He considers himself to be a fairly mellow bloke at this stage of his life, but right now he struggles against the urge to drag the stupid reporter into an alley and beat the bloody shit out of him.

Other audience members leap into the void, shouting Sam's name to get his attention. But fortunately the moderator seizes control this time, and redirects with a question for Jason, throwing the light off Sam. For a moment, anyway.

The next few questions focus on the film and Sam's happy enough to answer those, the moderator even happier to keep the reporter from asking any more questions.

The panel draws to a close without more such incidents, and Ryan ducks outside to wait for Sam by one of the back exits, figuring his lover will want to make a fast getaway. Quietly he calls their driver, and just smiles and nods whenever departing fans glance curiously at him.

His good-byes said to his mates, a promise made to get together for drinks after the North American premiere, Sam slips out, texting Ryan and joining him outside. Ryan already has their car waiting, a fact for which Sam's incredibly grateful and as they slide into the backseat, the windows tinted almost full-black, Sam relaxes into the cushions with a heavy exhale.

Gnawing gently on his bottom lip, Ryan silently watches his husband. Trying to gauge what Sam's mindset is like just now. "Do you want a massage when we get back to the hotel?" he offers tentatively.

"Sure," Sam nods, looking over at Ryan and giving him a small smile. "You okay?"

Ryan smiles back, feeling a bit more sure of himself. "Sam, so long as you're all right, then I've got nothing to complain about in the world."

"You sure about that?" Sam asks, concerned, still not sure why being out in public together had thrown Ryan so much. "You were pretty freaked out in the lobby."

"Yeah, but... I was working really hard not to tackle you," Ryan mutters, dragging a hand through his hair, and mussing the gelled strands out of place. "I didn't think you'd be okay with that at all."

Sam grins. He can't help it. "I wouldn't have been mad," he says. "I'm not in a rush to come out completely but if it's a question of you falling apart or getting the comfort you need from me, I'll handle it."

"Seriously?" Ryan brightens, but he still can't help being wary. He sighs softly, and reaches across the seat to lightly lay his hand atop Sam's. "I guess tonight was supposed to be the perfect middle ground between those two extremes." He looks up to meet his lover's eyes. "Did you accomplish what you wanted to do?"

"I got to go to the premiere of my new movie and walk the red carpet with my husband," Sam says with a smile, linking his fingers with Ryan's. "What do you think?"

Ryan chuckles, and lifts Sam's hand to his lips. "I think I'm so madly in love with you that I'll try any crazy thing to make you happy. Lucky for me, it turned out to be a good movie."

"Yeah, can you imagine? If it had sucked and you'd run that gauntlet for nothing?" Sam grins.

"Nah." Ryan shakes his head. "Still not for nothing. For you. I can't think of a better reason in all the world."

Sam grins, turning to slide his hand up the inside of Ryan's thigh. "You know, there was a motive for getting a Citadel car."

Ryan looks down at Sam's hand, surprised, and then looks back up to meet his lover's eyes. "Mr. Worthington, I'm shocked at you. Are you having naughty thoughts?" he asks, a delighted smile on his lips. "Like, even naughtier than mine?" He launches himself at his husband, squeezing Sam's cock through his trousers.

"I don't know about that," Sam says, laughing. "My hand's on your thigh." He grins and kisses Ryan, hard, licking into his mouth.

A groan of pleasure, and Ryan clambers into Sam's lap. He straddles him, grinding down and teasing them both.

Sam tugs Ryan's shirt out of his pants, getting his hands on warm muscled skin. Meeting and matching that grind, his hips thrust upwards.

"You have... no respect," Ryan gasps, riding Sam as best he can through multiple layers of clothing. "...No respect for my modesty."

"That's true," Sam agrees happily, tearing Ryan's shirt, buttons popping everywhere as he shoves it back from his shoulders.

Fooling around in a moving car – even when it's a Citadel car – intrinsically feels like they're breaking rules. Streetlights flash past, their glare muted by the tinted windows, and Ryan moans, frantically unbuckling Sam's belt and slipping his hand inside.

"You want that?" Sam growls softly, nipping at Ryan's throat.

"Your cock?" Ryan asks breathlessly, just to be certain. "Yes. I always want that."

"Then take it," Sam grins, pressing on the intercom just long enough to tell the driver to keep driving until he's told differently.

Ryan whimpers softly in excitement, and wriggles around to work his shoes and trousers off. He unbuckles Sam's belt and unzips the fly and then just has to spend a moment in sheer worshipful appreciation of his Sir's gloriously hard cock. Ryan's grin winks in the dimness and he kneels on the floorboards, licking Sam slowly from root to crown.

"Oh, fuck," Sam groans, eyes rolling back into his head before he refocuses them on Ryan. "You know how much I love your mouth, but..."

Delight flashes in Ryan's dark eyes – and perhaps just a spark of wickedness, as well. "But...?" he prompts, all sass as he starts licking and sucking on the head of Sam's cock.

"But I want my boy's hole," Sam groans, dropping his hands to Ryan's head, nails scraping against his skull.

With a soft moan Ryan pulls back, stealing a last taste. Then he pushes his trousers down to his ankles and takes advantage of how roomy the car is, folding himself forward over the seat next to his sir.

As always, Ryan's slicked and ready for his sir and the sight of his hole, already slightly open, fluttering against the cool air of the car and with undisguised need makes Sam groan, shifting to the floor, to his knees behind Ryan, cock lined up and pushed in, past that first ring of muscle, the tight heat making his head swim, his fingers curve, nails digging into Ryan's hips.

An uninhibited cry spills from Ryan's lips. It's too much, too hard, he's too full... Clawing at the leather upholstery he pushes back against the pain, willingly offering his body up for his Sir to use.

"Good boy," Sam praises, hand clamping down on the back of Ryan's neck as he pushes deeper, in all the way, before drawing back and slamming deep.

A tear wells up and then spills onto Ryan's cheek. Sam feels bloody brutal, inside him, covering him. He lets his mind slip, dropping into sheer physicality.

Sam drives into Ryan, uses him without mercy, rutting wildly until he comes with a shout, cock pulsing hot and thick inside his boy.

With a gasp Ryan holds himself still, his body rigid. Nothing but a vessel for his Sir's pleasure. He milks every last drop from Sam's cock and shudders with the cost of being good. "Sir?"

"Yes, boy?" Sam says, shivering through the last aftershock, a hand slid under Ryan finding him still hard as steel and dripping.

Ryan's body jerks like Sam has shocked him with a live wire. He stammers for a few seconds, struggling to keep himself under control, then gasps, "Please. Please, Sir. Your boy needs it so much."

Sam nods. "Do it," he orders, giving Ryan's cock a good squeeze.

Ryan yelps at the sudden flash of pain, and it tips him over in an instant. He comes hot and messy against the fine-grained leather, then continues to rock his hips, rubbing his sensitized prick in his Sir's hand.

"That's it, boy," Sam urges, stroking Ryan full out now. "Come for me again."

Fuck! Ryan shudders with panic, and frantically shakes his head. "No. No, Sir," he babbles, rutting into Sam's hand. "No, Sir, I can't!"

"Yes, you can, or we'll ride around like this all night," Sam threatens, cock still deep inside his boy.

"Oh god oh god oh god..." It's a barely voiced whimper, repeated like a mantra. Ryan's hips hitch and he grinds back onto Sam's cock, trying to take the lingering flares of afterglow and stoke them into a conflagration.

Sam works Ryan's cock, helping his boy as much as he can, but that push, that one that sends him over the edge a second time? That's going to have to come from his boy.

Fuck, arousal hurts so much now, and not in a good way. Ryan blocks everything else from his mind – all but Sam and this instant in time. Focusing. He's close, he can almost taste it... With a growl Ryan bites down on his forearm and sinks his teeth deep, blood beading up like pinpricks. And he bucks into Sam's hand, drenching his fingers.

"Good boy," Sam murmurs, wincing as Ryan's body clamps down tight around him for a second time. "I'm so proud of you."

Laying his cheek on his ravaged arm, Ryan gasps for breath, another tear tracking down. He reaches back and anchors his arm around Sam, desperate for his Sir not to leave him like this.

"I've got you," Sam says, draping himself over Ryan and kissing the back of his neck. "I'm not going anywhere. Not until you're ready."