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The Joy of the Sun and the Sea That I Drink

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He was rushing, definitely rushing, he had adjusted the glasses which he wore during lectures to effectively see the book in front of him or the laptop to his side, and quickly made his way through the endless corridors of Cambridge University, no time to admire the priceless stone and the scent of the grass and how everything was hurrying past him so exquisitely. It made sense that he had paused while gliding around a corner, it had made sense that his eyes opened wider at the person he slammed directly into. The two went flying… well, ‘flying’ would be over-exaggerating, they had only bumped shoulders, quite lightly, may he say. Both men started falling backwards but caught themselves on their feet before anyone fell.

His eyes took in the surroundings, ignoring the man he had just flown into as he saw the familiar face of the Drama and Arts professor.

“Mary,” He sighed with purpose, before looking slightly to the right as his eyes opened wider and his phone pinged, signalling for his next class to begin. “Oh, I’m terribly sorry for running into you,” He spoke calmly but quickly, and his voice sounded warm, directed to the man he had rattled, before turning to the familiar professor, “I’m late to my next lecture!” He whizzed off before either of the two could reply.

“Professor Bloom, before you leave, I must introduce you to our guest!” The stout woman with a short, blonde bob exclaimed over her shoulder to the already rushing man who swivelled on his heels and changed his direction, he did quite desire to see the man he had bumped into once more. He returned to the position he was in and made sure to pay more attention to Mary than the guest until he was properly introduced. “Tom, this is Professor Paris Bloom, Cambridge’s finest English Literature teacher. Paris, this is Tom Hiddleston; you’ll be interviewing him later today,” The woman’s voice was sharp and shrill, her syllables sounded strange, her punctuation was unnervingly off, and she always smelt of custard, but Paris paid no mind. The professor quickly remembered that he had agreed to sit down and have a chat to one of the returning students of Cambridge who had gone on to become world renowned after their studies. The university had planned on having a few actors, doctors and scientists interviewed to ask them how their studies got them to where they were. The professor of Drama and Arts – the more obvious choice to interview any actors or actresses – had been asked to interview Tilda Swinton and the responsibility of interviewing Tom Hiddleston fell onto the English Literature professor’s shoulders.

“Mr Hiddleston, excuse me once more for running into you like that,” Paris chuckled, extending the hand which was not needed to assist him in pressing books and binders full of coloured papers to his chest.

“Not at all, an abrupt reminder of my mortality,” Tom grinned, Paris returned it, beaming and bright, as the surprise was shown in his eyes at how easygoing the actor was. “Please, call me Tom,” The dark, curly haired man smiled easily, it reached his eyes and all the professor could do was smile back. Their hands slid over each other and made the sound of paper slipping over paper as they held their fingers close around each other’s hands and shook them a few times. Paris hadn’t noticed how strange handshakes were until he had performed one with Tom Hiddleston.

“Call me Paris,” The dark-haired man nodded, feeling himself losing air in aquamarine before Tom blinked, his smile did not falter as their hands did, moving back to their original, lonely spots, somewhere on their body.

“I’ve already taken care of all requirements after your next two classes professor, the interview will be in the library at promptly five o’clock,” Mary chirped as Paris solemnly parted his gaze from Tom’s and looked to her before nodding.

“I will see you in the library,” The dark-haired man smiled once more, his cheeks began to go numb.

“I will see you in the library,” Tom repeated in a cheeky tone enunciating the word ‘you’. Paris grinned brightly as he faltered to begin his steps once more.

--

The class had dragged on, the next few hours crawled and seemed like days. Paris Bloom had gotten tired of the smell of perfume and students and chalk. His eyes began to disregard the beauties of the auditorium and he picked up on how the leather of his chair had worn, even though he rarely ever used it; the moments he had used it were few and far between, mainly while checking over something or rather which his students brought him.

This chair he adored; crimson coloured leather, worn now, a lighter, red colour poking out on the sides and on the back rest.

Shakespeare – many of his plays and sonnets – were the primary texts for the semester, his class begun studying over the play ‘King Richard II’, in which the life and times of King Richard the Second of England were portrayed.

They love not poison that do poison need, nor do I thee: though I did wish him dead, I hate the murderer, love him murdered…” Paris Bloom read for the millionth time, his teaching methods were quite strange, many times he would spend whole lessons, fighting with himself over two lines of a play. “They love not poison that so poison need. I. Hate. The. Murderer. Love. Him. Murdered. What am I talking about? Hit me, what do these words mean? Where did I get them?” His voice held its dark pitch, warm and radiating, like smoke. He spoke with slight, audible breaths between every few of his words when he became worked up over something lovely he had just seen. A student held up their hand.

“I’m guessing the war inside himself, fighting over the fact that he and others are battling over their morals,” His voice was too high. The professor nodded slightly, his eyes flicking over the words once more.

“Rebels and Allies are a recurring theme in Shakespearean literature, the conjoining of these two sides has been the main endpoint of most. As Duke Bolingbroke had stated and he used… no, what did he use? That solid word. Solid, solid, solid,” He waited for a response, eyeing slowly each student in the room. The same student rose their hand.

“Need?”

“They. They,” Paris almost groaned into his hand, his face glowing with delight as the ‘ping’ on his phone signalled the end of the lecture. “I expect you all to be working on your Richard II studies, there’ll be a quiz tomorrow,” He checked his watch and conversed with a few of the students before breathing out slowly.

He had wondered how he got to where he was. Teaching English Literature in Cambridge. He never thought that he would be wanted there, although his father was the English Literature professor there while Paris was in university. He felt no obligation to follow in his father’s footsteps but saw it seeming fit to go forward and pursue similar dreams.

He loved the subject. He adored it. He adored the campus, the students, the other professors. Paris adored the way he drank coffee in the mornings with a cigarette before work and he adored breaks with a book in one hand and smoke flowing from between his lips. He had one tutorial left to go to, where he sat and drank more coffee, cooled down by the Autumn breeze before he had even sat in his chair. The cramped environment made it more difficult to breathe like the theatre had allowed. It made Paris feel strange to not have the floor, to not have room.

He quite enjoyed the process of breathing. The words he had written on breath.

--

Five o’clock rolled over ominously slowly, Paris was worried about the time and the grudge it held on the poor professor. He was out of the tutorial room faster than he could light a cigarette and promptly made his way across campus to the library.

God, he had absolutely treasured the library. Many waking moments he spent them there, admiring the old English architecture and the hundreds of thousands of books. The smell overwhelmed him, the smell of dust and paper which was too old and lacquer which always stank twice a year as it was replaced.

A newly familiar face sat on the far end of a long, dark, wooden table, admiring a piece of art which sat heavily on the far wall. A dark head of curls jut out above the empty tables, Paris had accidentally nudged the side of a chair which sat out from underneath anything, it made a horrid and reverberating sound which rang through the emptiness of the library. The dark-haired man turned, and an easy beam fell onto his face and it reached his eyes and Paris could breathe again.

“Paris,” The man stood from his spot too far away and they made their way through the maze of tables and chairs before they found each other and met in the middle.

“Mr Hiddleston-”

“Tom.”

“Tom.” He corrected himself and breathed as his hand found the actor’s once more in a slight scramble, he didn’t want to look away from his face.

“Paris,” Tom. He smiled once more. They kept eye contact for a while.

“Please, have a seat,” The professor nodded as he saw the camera had been already set up with a tripod and a microphone fixed to the top. He cleared his throat, placing his books and folders on the table from the previous lectures, before attempting to turn on and position the camera at the correct angle. The skin above his upper lip quivered slightly, he hated making this man wait. Faster than fast, Tom was on his feet, his form huddled beside Paris and his fingers worked at the buttons on the camera. Paris said nothing, his dark eyes flickered a few times as he breathed and felt the vibration of Tom’s breath and he felt strange.

--

Tom Hiddleston had been waiting for a fleeting time. He had taken his seat, prior to instruction from that stout woman with the strange voice, he had forgotten her name. An unnamed piece intrigued him as it mocked him on the wall far away. His eyes drifted towards the painting as it hung heavily, a thick, golden, grandiose frame surrounding the expensive-looking canvas. He remembered his tour around the school which he had already seen many years ago. Cambridge was a welcome sight, he had remembered adoring the architecture and the professors and the grass.

He made his way to the library ten minutes before five, students were busy with their studies and many had left before the clock struck five and the rest cleared out before Paris Bloom arrived. Paris Bloom. Now, it did ring a bell, there was something there, an immense sense of having some sort of past connection to the professor.

--

Paris Bloom took his seat across from Tom, he had prepared questions earlier which he thought would fit the profile for topics which are in the interest of the school, yet he believed that it would be a smarter idea to begin with waking up.

He breathed in, eyes down on the clipboard on his knee which was higher than the knee on his right leg as he sat.

“What is acting to you?” He shot the question at him with sincerity and intrigue. Tom sat back, he looked to the side as his mind shuffled through his answers.

“Acting, to me…” And he genuinely thought. Paris was patient, the whole library seemed to smell of them, the citrus fragrance of the actor’s aroma and the low hint of patchouli. No, no. Petrichor. Paris smelt of the air after it rained and bergamot while Tom smelt of blood oranges and amber. “Is a release… from existing here,” His words were drawn out and well thought. “Acting provides me with a leeway into opening my eyes to myself, who I am as a person-”

“Who are you?” The professor blurted, his eyes shooting up from the clipboard to the actor, who’s own eyes opened wide and his breath caught in his throat but only slightly. Tom didn’t mind at all, his mouth opened as he did that breathy chuckle of his and Paris felt his own skin more than anything.

“I am… shock,” Tom chuckled, he too crossed his legs, straightening his back. “I am anyone. I am everything,” Paris smiled at the pen fastened to the metal clip before looking up. “Who I am is proportionate to who you are in terms of… this.” The sharp corners of Tom’s mouth became less pronounced as his beam grew wider, “What would you like me to be?” Paris bit the inside of his cheek with such force that blood began to gush, and he revelled in the taste of copper flowing over his tongue. He cleared his throat and broke eye contact as Tom shifted in his seat from the loss of that anchor of the man’s dark, coffee coloured eyes which leaned towards a nonexistent colour resembling that of ink. Curious, the light hit his eyes as he shifted his head. Tom smiled once more. “Who are you?” He asked, the environment surrounding them much more comfortable. Paris chuckled, low and warm, like leather and Tom’s words caught in the back of his throat as he stared. This was not alright, and he should not be thinking anymore.

“I am…” The professor spoke softly, almost a whisper, “Nerveless. I am words and I am sentences and I…” He never finished, his eyes locking with Tom’s for the millionth time and neither of them complained. “Who I am is delighted to be interviewing you,” He spike abruptly and with the wretched flare that every other interviewer used on Tom, their reality came crashing down. It was nothing more. They chuckled politely and felt the absolute need to dig deeper.

The questions were mainly shallow after that. What made you want to pursue acting? How did studying at Cambridge help to achieve that? Etc.

“Do you smoke?” Paris found himself speaking again. Tom’s quick-minded way of thinking immediately caught on to Paris’ quick-spoken way of minding and they clicked in their speaking and listening.

“I don’t,” The actor replied, licking his bottom lip and the professor grinned before getting back into his questions.

--

“I want to prove myself and other people that it’s more than this. I’m more than that, choosing the projects which I have chosen. Perhaps the reason that I do what I do is to defy the expectations of myself and everyone else; there’s pleasure in that. Acting gives me an unmeasurable amount of pleasure because I show what I can do,” He spoke quickly, and his mind moved rapidly, Paris hadn’t been keeping track of the camera as they spoke. Questions turned into conversations which turned into something more. They spoke of private musings and of acting and of teaching.

“Overtime, I learnt to value the minds of others. I’m here and I’m of assistance to some. People require my help. I can shape minds, once you shape them, you value them - God I need nicotine. It goes full circle: Smoke, coffee, read, teach,” Paris chuckles, pushing back his dark, messy waves of hair which sit atop his head.

“You fully believe in it?”

“I fully believe in it. Understanding, comprehending,” Paris listed words and Tom nodded along in complete understanding as if he had known the man for decades and they were speaking of their day with a cup of coffee in pockets full of poetry and scripts and musings. God, they felt something churning and bubbling away as they spoke quickly and changed subjects at the speed of light but kept up with each other and it was perfect in a messy and raw sort of way.

“There’s value in it, you know?” Tom Hiddleston spoke of something barren and strange in his acting. “Changing and switching and studying people who you’ve never met and may not exist here and now. You move, and you think critically and you capture the essence of then and of there. Truly extraordinary. I wish this wasn’t being recorded,” He laughed and by God Paris Barnaby Bloom became terribly fond of speaking to this man. Tom William Hiddleston, he didn’t know his middle name. Paris Barnaby Bloom, likewise.

His voice was strong and gentle, a soothing baritone with underlying impish tones when he got giddy and began to speak faster. It flowed like honey and at times like sand through fingers. Smooth and secure and everything about his voice matched his body and his mind and the way he spoke, God, the way he spoke, by the end of their interview, Paris knew that he could pick him out of a crowd of a million just by heading him say ‘Incredible!’.

Paris’ voice clashed with the actor’s own in the most beautiful way. Fruity, deep and strong in a pleasant and inviting manner. His voice was smoke, it flowed radiantly through the room and he spoke eloquently.

It seemed as if Paris’ voice alleviated all worries from Tom’s busy mind. He was calm very quickly and stayed calm for a while. The actor was relaxed because the professor’s voice was relaxing. The actor was palliative, induced by the professor’s posture and the way his jaw moved side to side oh so slightly as he thought and the way his strong nose cast a dark shadow under his eyes. A stray, inky curl of hair fell out of the arrangement of waves atop his head and sat neatly against his brow bone. Tom Hiddleston was mollified of any and all worries at that moment.

He breathed.

They breathed.

They talking stopped a while ago.

--

Paris stared as Tom’s thin lips arched at the sharp corners and widened, his fuller lips moved similarly, widening the space of his prominent Cupid’s bow and they smiled like idiots at each other.

“Thank you for your time,” Paris said in a voice so low it would pass as a whisper.

They had been speaking for three hours.

Tom exclaimed at the time and cleared his throat before standing from the chair, remembering each and everything that had to be done before the next day.

“It was my pleasure, thank you for having me,” They had returned to real life, thinking and speaking at differing wavelengths now and they no longer felt the same energy as when they were only thinking of each other. Priorities, priorities.

“No, no, thank you for coming,” Paris stood as well, taking the hand extended to him. Their fingers held on for dear life, God his hands are so cold, and they smiled softly at each other once again.

Tom ran his fingers through his shorter, dark hair, flicking back the sleeve of the jacket he was wearing, his mind already mapping out a plan for finishing the rest of his work. The professor picked up on this, his face reflecting worry. “I’m terribly sorry for keeping you, it wasn’t my intention to-”

“Don’t apologise,” The actor flashed a quick grin while tucking his chair under the table. “I enjoyed myself immensely, goodnight sweet friend,” A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II, Scene III. Tom began to take his leave; his body close to turning completely away.

Thy love ne’er alter,” Paris grinned as Tom stopped in his tracks and slowly turned back with a smirk, their eyes clashing in the dim light of the library, the same light casting harsh shadows on their faces and it felt as if they were acting on stage.

“Till thy sweet life end,” The actor chuckled and turned away completely, his form striding easily and lengthily, with one wrist raised so that his watch was at chest level, down the never ending path between the tables and bookcases before the sound of a door was heard opening and closing and a heavy sigh fell across the whole building as Paris threw himself back into his chair.

--

Days had passed. The amount of footage which Paris had deleted was immense and terrifying, yet he found pleasure in throwing out stale conversations of nothingness which he found an absolute joy in recording. What he salvaged were the shallow questions with empty answers, these were sent to Mary to paste together and make something out of them.

Paris had no control of the sun setting on Tom’s face as he grinned mischievously at the obvious changes in topics which were cut out before the questions on campus life and the life of an actor. Those ‘intriguing’ things. The cuts in film were visible at the varying shadows cast by the everchanging angle of the sun which had poured through the windows of the library that day.

Such topics they had mused over. They spoke of life and of strolling through parks and hinted on future conversations of the scent they would experience on a foggy, silver day, while striding along brick pavements and taking in the scenery.

They spoke of children and of sadness and of fear. They intimately triggered new topics of conversation every few minutes and stuck to the topic of smoking after Tom brought it back up once more after Paris.

“How do you smoke?”

“With my left hand, I take a pull, keep it bubbling in my lungs and I never let it out,” Paris chuckled, sitting back comfortably as the actor laughed joyfully, it would never not reach his eyes. “How do you smoke?” He knew full well that Tom had already stated his view of smoking.

“Mm, I smoke in long drags, I let it sift in my mouth, under my tongue. I stop breathing. I let it consume me. By then half of the cigarette has fizzled our and I’m left a dragon with a butt between my talons,” Tom Hiddleston leaned so that his head was resting on three of his fingers, one eyebrow lifted ever so slightly above the other as he waited for the response of the dark haired man across from him, who sat with a ghost of a smile adorning his features as the sun set on his skin and he radiated the simplicity of man.

“‘He who doth not smoke hath either known no great griefs, or refuseth himself the softest consolation, next to that which comes from heaven’,” Paris breathed, mimicking the actor as he leaned the side of his head on his knuckles and looked at him. Tom grinned.

He missed him already. He yearned to hear his voice once more and this hadn’t happened at such a rate for decades. He yearned to see his tongue peek between his perfect teeth as he laughed at terribly accented movie quotes.

Paris wanted to throw up. This wasn’t him.

He kept it all to himself, going to class, doing his job and smoking at a higher rate.

--

It was the fifth night after their first – and presumably final – meeting, Paris sat on his couch, pushing the butt of the second last cigarette in his pack into the ashtray he lay on his stomach. He felt the heat of the dying ashes run from his torso to his neck and he suddenly felt the need to vomit as the stench of cigarette smoke enveloped him at such a volume that he threw himself off his couch to swing open every window in his home and turn on anything that could get rid of the smell.

A while passed before he relaxed, hitting the couch once more and draining himself into the worn leather as he sat back, long fingers rubbing at his eyes and dragging down his face before he ruffled his waves and sighed softly. Paris saw the glimmer of a notification on his laptop before checking the time, remembering that it was a Friday and that he had the power over what to do with his night. He wondered about going to a club, a bar, a restaurant. He found no satisfaction in those ideas.

The professor pulled on his glasses and placed his laptop onto his thighs as he stretched his legs out onto the coffee table and sunk further into the comfort of his couch. Those long fingers of his quickly found the internet search bar and he sat, staring at the screen for a while.

The man cleared his throat and his fingers began working. Tom Hiddleston. A Wikipedia page was the first to pop up onto the screen and he clicked into it reluctantly before quickly clicking back out. If he was to learn about Tom, he would do it on the man’s own terms, none of this internet stalking business.

Paris bit his lower lip. Tom Hiddleston movies. He ignored the films he had already seen with Tom’s character ‘Loki’, his eyes shifted to a title which caught his eye: High-Rise “A doctor (Tom Hiddleston) moves into a London skyscraper where rising tensions and class warfare lead to anarchy.” This piqued his interest and he had the movie rolling in a matter of minutes, not before he grabbed a blanket and closed the windows. He curled up against himself and pushed his glasses onto his nose as he watched Tom roasting a dog’s leg over a spit.

--

Quickly, his thighs pressed tightly together as Tom appeared fully naked, with a book covering his genitals. He was splayed out in a lounge chair, with his hands to his sides and strong, lean arms on display. His pale skin lay taught over light muscles on his torso which shook as he breathed, and Paris cleared his throat, feeling highly inappropriate while enjoying the… plot. He saw the line of Tom’s pelvic line and the light scruff of hair below his bellybutton which reached further than the magazine allowed for anyone to see. He looked peaceful. He looked good. The actor stood from his laying position and held a towel over his unmentionables all while showcasing his thighs and the contour of the shadows hitting the muscles of his torso. He revelled in the way that the actor’s collar bones dipped and the way he grinned and the curve of his-

Paris Bloom turned off the television and sat in the darkness of his apartment. He breathed shakily as he took off his glasses, placing them carefully onto the coffee table before breathing in deeply and rubbing his eyes. His lungs were at full capacity before he trickled the air out slowly.

 

He wasn’t gay. He wasn’t questioning his sexuality at all. He was certain that he wasn’t fully straight, of course there had been moments which shaped his perception of men and that altered the attraction he felt towards others. Rarely did he involve himself sexually with anyone, male or female. Moments arrived purely out of sexual frustration, he’d take what he could get.

Attraction confused him more than it assisted him. Watching Tom’s film – or less than half of it – proved to him that what he felt was something a little more than admiration. He was attracted but knew automatically that his attraction meant nothing. His attraction was worthless, and he shouldn’t bother himself with the simplicities of primal sexual gratification regarding that attraction.

Paris breathed slowly.

No, he couldn’t risk ruining what little he had. He had no clue if he would even meet with Tom once more. He wanted to solidify his neglect of attraction to the actor, he wanted to see how he would react. By God he would never see him again.


--

As if on a whim, Paris’ phone pinged after one of his lectures. He was smoking on campus, not remembering if it was allowed, and munching on a sandwich he had prepared before leaving home. His fingers quickly unlocked his mobile to find that Mary had texted him.

Hello Paris! I was wondering if you’d be free after your final lecture to watch your interview with Tom in my office? – Mary

The professor cleared his throat and chewed his food slowly while staring at his phone. He quickly began to type.

I would be delighted to see.

PB

He sat and ate and put out his cigarette while waiting for the response.

I just got news that Tom’s publicist will be coming as well to see it. – Mary

Paris took a heavy bite of his sandwich, nearing the end.

The more the merrier. I will see you at four.

PB

He turned off his phone before Mary had replied and made his way brusquely towards his next lecture.

--

His feet moved at a steady and slow pace as Paris made his way to the Drama and Arts professor’s office, turning sly corners while taking his time observing the architecture of the place which never failed to surprise him as he would always spot something new and intriguing. He practically flew through the door.

“Ah, Professor Bloom,” Mary chirped once again, it had been a while. “Mr Windsor, this is our interviewer Professor Paris Bloom, Paris, this is Tom’s publicist Mr Luke Windsor,” Her hair was getting longer.

The dark-haired man extended a hand and nodded.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr Windsor.”

“Likewise, Professor, please call me Luke.”

“And you, Paris,” They grinned before hearing Mary clap her hands heavily.

“Shall we?” She fluttered and they all gathered around the laptop monitor on her desk. Luke and Mary had taken a seat while Paris stood behind them and gnawed on the inside of his bottom lip while staring at Tom’s face on the screen. He revelled once again at the man in heavy shadows cast by the light of the library.

The look on his face resembled that of the setting sun.

Those shadows followed the line of his towering cheekbones perfectly, framing the sides of his face and shifting as he would laugh. Paris didn’t remember when he had taken his last breath.

After the clip had finished, Luke directed himself to Mary for slight changes he was thinking of making. They began to talk about how they would get the video out to the public, he automatically assumed that many more sites would want this interview. The man with the pinched nose turned his attention to the professor.

“How did you find the interview?” He asked as Mary worked.

“Surprisingly easy, we steered off topic quite a lot,” Paris chuckled and the man across from him nodded and grinned.

“Tom’s never looked so relaxed in an interview, whatever you did in between those cuts definitely worked. It looks so lighthearted. I’m assuming that the interview will automatically be wanted for media use,” Windsor laughed as the dark-haired man listened. Ping! Luke’s mobile began ringing, the tone resembling the sound of a rooster, he pulled the phone out of his trouser pocket and dragged his tongue over his teeth while reading the caller ID. “One moment please,” He brought the phone to his ear.

“No problem,” Paris smiled, moving over to ask if Mary needed any assistance, he overheard Luke agreeing with something and asking questions before stating a time period loudly and hanging up after apologising for shouting.

“You wouldn’t mind Tom coming to have a look? He has time to kill.”

Paris’ Adam’s apple pushed back into his oesophagus and he felt blood begin to pump faster throughout his body.

“Not at all!” He snapped, a little too enthusiastically, “No, no, we wouldn’t mind at all,” Paris cleared his throat and relaxed his posture. It had been a week since he last saw or heard of the actor and he wouldn’t let up any chance to meet with him again.

“He’s on his way now, I have a meeting to attend so Tom’ll be left in your care,” Luke hid a smirk as he saw the light hitting Paris’ eyes just the right way to show the man’s distress and excitement.

“We’ll take good care of him,” Mary butt in and attracted the publicist to her energy once more before he bid his farewells and left, only to meet Tom Hiddleston outside of the doors to the library which was close to the drama sector of the campus. Luke had directed him to the office in which he had to go.

--

The actor’s hair was lighter, now a pale, raw umber colour. His curls looked much more defined, yet he stayed clean shaven and symmetrical. He was wearing a dark, crimson Crawford pullover, the sleeves pushed up to his elbows and what looked like dark, Armani dress trousers which were folded at the bottom to showcase his buffed, leather shoes.

Paris swallowed thickly.

The actor’s eyes shifted across the room before settling on the professor’s.

“Paris!” Tom grinned brightly, striding quickly to the professor, who – in the fits of his whim – found himself gravitating towards the lighter haired man with an outstretched palm. Their hands found each other without needing to look before Tom quickly pulled Paris closer to him and pressed their chests together while wrapping his free arm around the professor’s broad shoulders in a hug. The dark-haired man chuckled weakly as his voice had left him, before his arm too found itself carefully pressing onto the actor’s back.

They both took a deep breath in.

Tom smelt of blood orange and smoke.

Paris smelt of petrichor and pine.

They drowned. Neither pulled away quickly as their hands were still intertwined between their torsos.

The professor breathed a chuckle which floated to Tom’s ear, who felt goosebumps trickle across the places on his neck which Paris’ chilly air caressed.

“Tom,” He had said, and they pulled back and grinned at each other.

--

Tom Hiddleston had found out that his publicist had left for Cambridge University not long before he had called. He found his mind wondering to places where Paris was, and he smiled softly to himself. It wasn’t difficult to remember him again. It had been a week since their first meeting, since then, Tom had been busy with prepping for a new pilot for a television show all while getting in shape for an audition for a British film which was soon coming.

In moments where his mind was at rest, he would see him relaxed as the sun sat on his features and he made absolute sense. He remembered the fruity voice of Paris, the smoke he made, the thoughts he aroused and the images he created.

Tom found it terribly difficult to take back his own mind without the professor inside of it. Never had he met such a curious man.

He had wondered what it would look like to watch him smoke. To watch him consume himself and he wanted to listen to him again. He spent nights in his hotel room thinking of the words which they had shared and how they will never meet again.

--

He had entered the office automatically after running into Luke, where he was given the heads up of the location of Paris. Paris Bloom. He entered, slightly weary, eyes immediately drawing themselves to the figure at the far left of the room. Dark, slightly tidy waves of hair sat neatly, thick and resembling ink, Byronic curls flowed nicely back, as the owner of the sea turned his head to the sun and they both grinned, gravitating towards each other.

Paris was wearing a thickly knitted, olive coloured, turtleneck sweater, which lead into dark dress trousers and umber coloured shoes. His light eyebrows moved ever so slightly when Tom felt their hands touch and immediately pulled the professor close, he had noticed their very slight height difference, he was off for half of a centimetre on Paris’ height. He felt the width of the man’s back and compared it to his own. Paris had slightly broader shoulders, but the rest of their physical structure seemed similar. They broke contact and breathed slowly as Mary set up the video once again.

“I-I need a cigarette,” Paris cleared his throat, turning his gaze away, hating himself for his voice faltering slightly, and pulled on the coat which he had thrown across the back of Mary’s chair.

“Sure Paris, take your time, I’ll run Tom through the interview,” The blonde smiled softly as she looked at the side of the actor’s head, who had turned to watch the professor leave the office with a strange look on his face. “Tom?”

“Mm, sorry, I was out of it for a moment,” He chuckled and brushed it off, sitting next to the older woman and watching the computer screen. He hated watching himself and his interviews but this one… this one. This interview made him look so… at peace. Calm. The light of the sun on his face, he heard Paris’ voice on camera and smiled softly.

--

Craven A. Those were his cigarettes of choice. They burnt nice and slowly, a creamy taste, but light all the same. They tasted different to many others brands he had tried and Craven A had stuck after a while and made the unpleasant act slightly more pleasant. Paris smoked three times a week, once on Monday, once on Friday and once on Sunday and made sure to follow this pattern. He’d never felt addicted to smoking but he’s sure that that’s how he was meant to feel.

Paris held the foot of the cigarette between his pale lips as he hovered his cupped palm over the tip of the tube and held the flame from his lighter to the tobacco blend. He kept the flame held against the cigarette before pulling the thumb which had sat on the jagged striker wheel and worn fuel lever away. Paris took a long drag as he closed his eyes before opening his lips so that the smoke from his lungs could wallow out in thick gulps and ebbs to disappear into the air. The professor sighed as he watched the smoke from the cigarette paper trickle upwards. He breathed deeply as the cigarette sat on his lips, pulling it away as he exhaled clouds.

“Mind if I join you?” Paris nearly jumped as he heard the voice behind him, he swivelled on the balls of his feet, the smoke following him in an obedient trail from where he was a second ago to his slightly agape mouth.

“Not at all,” The professor’s eyes quickly found Tom’s as they both stood in the courtyard of the campus, relishing in the chilly air that whipped at their skin.

The actor stood nicely, his spine straight and his shoulders pulled neatly back. One of his legs was stretched out before him, standing a ruler’s length from his left as he kept his hands in his trouser pockets.

Paris smoked. They had broken eye contact and stared out into the world, smoke flooding around them as they thought of something to say, not noticing how comfortable their silence was.

“Did you enjoy the interview?” Tom had asked, and Paris coughed the rest of the smoke out of his lungs as he laughed.

“Should I not be the one asking you that?” The darker haired man beamed as he took one last drag before crushing the butt of his cigarette onto the body of his lighter, placing it into his pocket. The actor smirked and nodded shakily.

“We were both interviewed, weren’t we?”

“You have a point there. Yes. Yes, I enjoyed it immensely. There aren’t many people to talk to here. I found myself enjoying your company,” Paris blurted, almost moving his hand to cover his mouth.

“Likewise,” Tom made a sound deep in his throat as his voice dropped lower. “A breath of fresh air,” The two men chuckled once more at how ironic that statement had been as they inhaled second hand smoke which was yet to dissipate.

“How much longer are you in Britain?” Paris’ hands found their way into his jacket pockets, curling into fists which he grazed along the fabric, knuckles tickling as he looked at the side of Tom’s head, who hadn’t realised and stayed observing the school campus.

“I couldn’t say,” He turned quickly, and caught Paris staring and cocked his head. “Hopefully for longer. My schedule’s been less hectic now, more time for family… friends,” The actor continued, looking briefly to his feet before his eyes wondered further.

Paris felt his own presence there before Tom’s and allowed for his eyes to look over him a few times. He smelt of aftershave, more than anything, his hairless, strong jaw leading to cold ears. His pale neck clashed nicely with the colour of his sweater and the professor’s eyes opened wider.

“How rude of me, you must be cold, let’s go back inside,” Paris began to turn.

“Not at all. This is lovely weather,” And he smiled again.

God, that smile. That fucking smile. It reached his eyes as they wrinkled at the corners and his thin lips spread and angled and his whole face was shaped by the beam of the soft crescent moon. His baby blue eyes reflected the light in the garden and responded in the loveliest way to the shadows cast upon them. His cheekbones sat mightily under those eyes of his, looking traced as shadows hit him from all sides, the slight hollows of his cheeks were on display.

Neatly arranged curls sat atop his head, a light, brownish, almost ginger coloured array of coils, smoothed back slightly which tickled with the wind.

“Tomorrow. Free? Are you… free tomorrow?” Paris almost cursed at himself for how uncool he sounded and how terribly that sentence came out. Tom blinked.

“I’m free right now,” And he grinned again, and the professor’s breath caught in his throat as he nodded.

“So am I,” He almost choked the reply. “Shall we?”

“We shall.” Tom Hiddleston chuckled as he fell into step with Paris Bloom as they made their way back to the office to collect their belongings and head off.

--

Paris stopped in his tracks in front of his car, as did Tom. The professor opened the passenger seat and strode to the drivers’ side. He took a seat just as the actor did, their long, lean legs folding neatly as they sat in the unmoving vehicle. They breathed slowly and smoothly.

“I take my coffee with two sugars and no milk. I enjoy drinking apple tea.” Paris’ voice wasn’t stronger than a whisper and they sat in silence for a little while longer, not daring to make eye contact.

“I take my coffee with one sugar but much rather prefer my milk with Earl Grey tea. My favourite food is croque Provençal,” Tom replied, stretching his legs as far in front of him as he could go.

The night went on and they continued, they spoke of poems and plays and began quoting Hamlet and laughing at each other’s mistakes. Time passed too quickly, and Paris found himself having to drive the actor back to his hotel much faster than he would have liked.

--

“I’ll be in London at this time, here,” Tom passed the professor a slip of paper with an address and a time written onto it in speedy handwriting. Paris held it towards himself as he watched the actor exit his car. Their eyes locked and they smiled so softly, and they were calm, situated in the underground parking lot of Tom’s hotel.

“I will be sure to visit. Ah, wait,” The professor quickly dug around his jacket pockets and pulled out a pen and tore the section of a page out from one of his notebooks. He scribbled something onto it and folded it expertly before Tom outstretched his palm and held onto that scrap of paper for dear life as Paris had with his card. “Let’s get coffee sometime,” And Paris grinned from his seated spot behind the driver’s wheel and Tom’s eyes opened wider as he stared at the dark haired man and his bright, perfect beam and his messy curls and the little indents on the sides of the bridge of his nose from wearing his glasses too often and those dark, inky eyes of his and the way his light eyebrows lifted so slightly when he smiled and his neck and his shoulders and his being and his energy and his fucking ears.

Jesus Christ.  

Tom nodded quickly, shooting a speedy ‘goodbye’, closing the passenger door with a little too much force behind the swing of his arm, cringing at himself for how he acted. He didn’t allow himself to watch the car leave.

--

Paris practically smashed into his bed, landing on his stomach, pressing his face into the firm mattress. The professor hummed, absolutely, positively pleased with himself. He dug around his pockets, eyes widening as he felt the prick of paper against his fingers. He pulled out the card and read over the words written there, an address in North London and 11:00am written before the letter T. He couldn’t wait for the week to finish.

--

Tom fell back into his hotel bed after taking a long warm shower, relishing the feel of high thread count sheets against his skin as he breathed. He had picked up the scrunched-up piece of paper which he was given around an hour ago and toyed with it through his fingers for a while before unfolding it. A phone number was written beside a quick smiley face and the initials PB. Tom felt his face flush as he sat so that his back was plastered to the headboard of the bed.

He quickly took hold of his mobile which sat on the beside table and added the number as a contact under Paris. He smiled softly and checked the time, before humming to himself, deciding that he would eat leftovers from last night and head to sleep soon after.

--

As time had promised, the following days leading up to the date which Tom was to leave for London came at a snail’s pace. The actor was working hard on table readings and meetings and planning, while Paris continued preparing his students for their upcoming English Literature assignment.

He was woken up one morning to the sound of his phone by his head, the professor groaned and reached for the mobile, unlocking it with hazy eyes and morning breath.

Good morning! T.

That breath which has escaped his lips came rushing back into his lungs as the man lunged forwards into a sitting position. He checked the time and saw that it was barely five-thirty in the morning, much earlier than he would have woken on a regular day. He smiled brightly at his phone screen, save for the fact that almost no light was visible in the room due to the length of the days during those winter months.

Good would be a stretch. P.

He chuckled before pressing send and shifting his legs over the side of his bed, his toes recoiling slightly at the chilly floor against soft, warm skin. Paris – now bubbly and full of energy – made his way to the kitchen where he had left his slippers. His phone alerted him once more.

Not a morning person? T.

Anything but. You? P.

I would love nothing more than to be outside running, alas this wretched weather, my run will have to wait! T.

You may lose my number and workplace address immediately, I shall not be affiliated with you any longer. P.

God forbid! If only you could open your eyes to the wonders of morning runs Paris! T.

The professor chuckled and began preparing his coffee.

How would I perform under such conditions!? Bah! A sweaty, slobbering mess of limbs. P.

You’re opening up to the idea! T.

I will never give you the satisfaction of knowing the truth of that statement. P.

No reply came for a little while, a perfect amount of time for Paris to stir the sugar into his coffee and situate himself on the couch under a blanket. He had practically migrated from his bed to the sofa. Just as he had placed the mug to his lips he checked his phone and almost spilled coffee all over himself.

Tom had sent a photograph of himself wearing earphones around his neck and a dark, running shirt. He had taken the selfie from the chest up and had a sweet smile on his face, his hair looking as if he had just gotten out of bed. Tom’s light eyes reflected the minimal amount of light from the sun in his hotel room, light stubble freckled over his chin and under his nose, as warm shadows fell into the light nooks and crannies of the actor’s pleasant face.

Paris nearly choked and died.

He thought quickly, having no clue how to reply to that photo. He sat in his own silence for a while and pondered over leaving it there and not texting back. He shunned that option away from his mind and turned on his front facing camera.

--

Tom sat on his hotel bed, sinking into the mattress as he finished his stretches and prepared to head off for his run. He heard his phone alert him of a text message and he speedily opened it, feeling his breath catch in his throat as a grin spread over his genial face.

Paris was holding a mug up to his lips, his head slightly angled as waves of ink coiled around each other atop his head, some falling over his forehead and tickling at sharp brow bones. His dark eyes looked drowsy and his whole face radiated the pleasantries of rest and sleep. Paris’ slightly angular features cast soft shadows over his amiable face, strong nose to match his strong jaw and somewhat lopsided lips.

Heavy lidded eyes stared directly through the camera and the hint of a smile played at the corners of his lips, slightly visible behind the ceramic mug. Very light stubble played at his jaw, probably also sat at his chin and travelled down his neck.

The photo was taken from his chest up, in the same fashion as Tom’s and the actor noticed the professor’s hand around the mug, his long, lithe, yet strong fingers wrapped around it, pale skin clashing with the darker colours of the mug. Nicely manicured fingernails, tidy, clean and well trimmed but he saw something more there, very slight indents in the visible pads of his fingers. Tom hummed to himself before returning to the overall photo.

He grinned once more at the messy haired professor’s selfie and saved the image to his phone.

You’ll go running with me one day. T.

And neither of them said anything as Tom had gone off to jog and Paris began eating his muesli breakfast.

--

He adored the heat, unlike Paris, who would much rather be sleeping and cooking and being pleasantly inactive in the cold. The actor’s favourite weather was weather which made him want to close his eyes and tilt his head towards the sun. Yet, this was possible in the cooler months and the reward of heat upon your face is much more pleasing than feeling the heat of the sun in the heat of the warmer weather. He took back his thoughts, deciding on not favouring any of the months.

Tom was particularly fond of the sea and its waves. He had found himself wanting to go on long swims whenever he visited areas close to the beach.

--

The actor hummed to himself, preparing to head off to another table reading for an upcoming film to be shot in London. He had packed his bag full of things he thought he needed and stayed on his phone while waiting for Luke to shoot him a text to say that he’s outside.

Good morning! P.

My favourite English Literature professor!! Good morning! T.

Are you preparing for your table reading? P.

Tom felt strange, he didn’t feel like texting Paris… he felt like calling him.

--

The professor’s eyes widened as he almost choked on his breakfast at the sight of the photo which the actor had sent him lit up the screen of his mobile with the accept and decline call options just below his name. Paris quickly fumbled the phone up to his ear.

“Hello?” He breathed, and he heard Tom’s laughter on the other side of the line.

“Hello,” The actor mimicked Paris’ breathy voice and the professor scoffed. “I’m waiting for Luke to text me so that I can leave this cramped hotel room and head off to the table reading,” Tom answered, and his grin lit up as he heard Paris’ velvety chuckle.

“Break a leg, is that what is said before table readings? Or is that only for plays?” Paris takes another bite of food, smiling around his spoon at the actor’s laugh over the phone.

“Pay no mind, I’ll break a leg anyway,” Before they knew it, the two of them were laughing over the phone at each other’s laughter.

--

“Tell me about your accent, I’m curious,” Tom said. The table reading was over, and he had his phone on speaker while looking over his plans for the next day in his hotel room.

Paris’ eyes opened wider as he fell back onto his couch holding his mobile to his ear while absentmindedly staring at his television. It was correct that the professor was not fully English and had Scandinavian heritage. He had lived in Iceland with his English father and Icelandic mother until he turned five and moved to Britain. He was known for his slightly trilling ‘r’s and raising loudness to accent words rather than pitch and length. His vowels were bright and after all those years his voice still caught between ‘v’ and ‘w’.

All these elements, however, were extremely slight and difficult to pick up on. He had perfected the art of masking the little accent he had and if any part of his natural Scandinavian accent was to protrude it wouldn’t be noticed easily as it was nothing extremely different sounding to the untrained ear.

“My accent?” Paris almost stuttered. Tom felt a smile playing on his lips.

“You’re surprised?”

“Q-quite,” The professor breathed a chuckle as he raised his feet onto the coffee table. “My accent hasn’t been picked up on for a very long time.”

“Please don’t worry and don’t cover it up. I love the sound of foreign accents,” Tom smiled into the phone after turning it off speaker. Paris felt his fingers shake slightly.

“Icelandic. My father is British and my mother Scandinavian. I was born in Iceland and came to England when I was five,” Paris cleared his throat and they sat in silence for a little while.

“I’m as English as you can get,” Tom breathed after a while.

“Mm, you thrive off tea and royalty, I can get behind a culture which apologises for apologising,” The professor chuckles and the actor grins.

He liked this.


---NOTES---

Image result for tom hiddleston selfies

^^^ This photo was what got me to add that sweet little part with the texting and the selfies and stuff!! It's so adorable!!

Ahh, just imagining Tom sending this to Paris :')