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Feet first, which was absurd. Even before flat stomach or pert arse or gleeful smile, even before tousle of hair or strength of forearms. Feet: not quite reaching the ground but for one tip-toe just touching, the other foot hooked behind the knee of the first leg for stability.

That was how Jeremy fell in love with Richard.

He had to fumble to hide it; Richard was looking at him with the attention that always came when they were on stage, the result of knowing this was no time for any sort of cocking about except the scripted kind.

Jeremy forced his gaze up, over knees and thighs – don't think about thighs! – and the vee of his crotch, over that stomach up to the relatively safe space of Richard's right shoulder. The spotlight hadn't quite caught up with them yet and it meant he had two seconds to get himself under control before his revelation would be obvious to not just Richard but also a stadium full of people.

The light hit them; Richard blinked, in the way that neither of them had quite managed to stop doing even after years of having things flash in their eyes. Then Jeremy was too busy saying all the things he was supposed to say, just exactly when he was supposed to say them, and everything else was pushed firmly into the back of his mind.

When the show was over they escaped backstage, covered in sweat and half-deaf from the engines and the fire and the crowd. There were slaps on the back from various crew members; someone handed them each a cold bottle of water. Jeremy drank two thirds of it and was pressing the bottle to his heated forehead when Richard's hand clamped onto his arm.

Despite their difference in height, Richard was stronger, so Jeremy didn't bother resisting when he was tugged into one of the storage rooms off the back hallway.

"Hammond—"

Richard closed the door and whirled around. He pointed at Jeremy with one aggressive finger. "Don't you dare," he said.

Alarm bells rang in Jeremy's head. "Dare what?" He mentally gathered his army of diversion and denial. "Tell you that your hair is uglier than a dead weasel?"

"Don't you dare look at me like that unless you mean it," said Richard.

Jeremy gaped at him, then dropped the water bottle and fisted his hands in the front of Richard's shirt. He pushed him back against the door, lifting him just enough that he had to stand on tip-toe. "I always mean it," he said, and leaned in.

Sweat, the distinctive smell of stage makeup. A flash of cold from the fresh water but giving way almost immediately to heat and onion-crisp-scented breath as Richard parted his lips and kissed back.

His fingers curled into Jeremy's belt loops, pulling them together. Jeremy was hard almost instantly – they both were, still worked up from the adrenaline of being on stage – and he jammed his leg between Richard's, bracing him in place so that Richard's cock could rub against his thigh. Richard whined, head thumping backwards. Jeremy wasted half a second considering whether they could be overheard, whether there might be six roadies standing around in the hallway wondering where the noise was coming from, but then Richard licked across his bottom lip and bit down, and he stopped thinking about anything else besides the feeling of skin on skin.

They rutted against each other, hasty, urgent. After a moment Richard twisted sideways a little and then everything was even better because Jeremy could thrust against his hip.

"I could've fucked you over that wall," Jeremy gasped, scraping his teeth at the corner of Richard's mouth. His breath came short in his throat and his pulse was thumping like mad. "Bent you over the plastic and got my hand in your hair and just—"

"I could've fucked you over it," said Richard, groaning. "Only you haven't got enough hair to grab."

Jeremy laughed. "You think you can just shove me around?" he said, lifting his head, but he only realized afterwards how dangerous the question was. Because of course Richard could shove him around. Of course he could.

The look in Richard's eye said he knew it, too. "I bet I could make you beg for it," he said. "In front of the whole fucking audience."

The statement made Jeremy moan. "I like to think I'd have enough restraint to wait 'til we were backstage," he said, but he wasn't sure of it. "For your sake, if not mine."

"Fair enough," Richard said. "They wouldn't need you to beg, anyway. They'd just know it."

"How?" Jeremy slid a hand between them, cupping the bulge of Richard's cock and giving him a squeeze. Richard shuddered, and it was a long moment before he could speak.

"Because of the way you look at me," he said hoarsely.

Jeremy shuddered out a breath, and then he was fumbling with Richard's belt, pulling open the flap of his jeans so that he could shove his hand inside.

"Fuck," Richard said. "Fuck, just like that." The handjob was nearly dry, with only a bit of precome to ease the strokes – Jeremy knew Richard liked it hard and fast and that this would do just fine. Better than fine, judging by the way he gasped with each thrust into Jeremy's fist.

"That's it," Jeremy said. "C'mon, Rich, give it up for me."

"Shit," Richard said. "Yeah, 'm gonna—" He clamped his mouth shut and came with a muffled shout, sticky and hot. The aftermath was drawn out into a shivery moan; a smile spread over his face. "Jez?"

"Yeah?" Jeremy said. He rocked desperately against Richard's thigh.

"We're a porn cliché."

"Better than," Jeremy panted. "When we're done, there'll be wine and crisps." Richard laughed, and it was the sweet joy of it that tipped Jeremy over into coming, falling in love all over again, head bent for one last kiss.