“We not taking calls today?” Santiago enquires, surprised as his co-host shifts immediately to adverts after their brief segment of Solís Hoy.
“No, señor,” Thiago glares at him furiously, “What the hell kinda calls do you think we’re gonna get after that?”
Santiago holds up both hands in a gesture of placation even though he doesn't regret a single thing he said on the air.
“No lo sé, Thiago, and we’re not gonna find out if you ignore the phone lines.”
“Agh, go eat a dick.”
“Seriously, this is a hostile work environment,” Santiago declares, amused, getting to his feet to leave the room.
To his surprise, Thiago gets out of his comfortable chair too, and hovers just out of range of the mics.
“You gonna go cry to Rafael about it?” he demands, and for a second he looks as though he's about to push himself into the small space between Santiago and the door.
“Rafael’s on break. I’m going to get coffee,” the older radio host responds, raised eyebrows and superior tone laid on thick to signify his utter disbelief, “You gonna stop me?”
That appears to take the wind out of Thiago's sails a little. “N-no... I just think you should... be a bit more respectful.”
His last words come out mumbled—not just that, but he's barely able to look at Santiago. When they're on the air it's so easy for him to come up with endless retorts to Santiago's theories, always so eager to mimic the state line on every issue, but when it’s just the two of them talking he looks much less assured. Maybe some small part of his already tiny brain knows the truth about what goes on behind the façade in Solís, Santiago considers, but it’s hard to imagine when he witnesses the man’s blind, unquestioning obedience every single day.
“Perdóneme, I didn’t quite catch that,” is Santiago’s sarcastic response.
He wants to see how far he can truly push the man, and they have more than enough time to chat while the ‘Jóvenes Y Bellos’ preview is playing. Thiago’s hands ball into fists at his sides, he’s clenching his teeth, and even though Santiago ought to see it coming, he’s somehow unprepared for the younger man to be staring daggers at him as he indeed pushes himself squarely in front of the door.
“I need coffee!” Santiago exclaims, outraged but laughing.
“I’m serious, Santiago,” Thiago gets out through those clenched teeth, “We can’t afford to lose another sponsor. And even if we could, enh, it’s stupid to piss off a corporation like Grupo Prospero.”
“I’m serious, too, Thiago,” he throws back, his amusement replaced with the slow, patronising tone of an impatient person forced to explain a basic fact to a small child, “I don’t understand why they advertise with us. It just doesn’t make any sense. Which of our listeners are likely to wanna buy Black Hand grade military equipment, huh?”
“Like I said,” grunts Thiago irritably, “Maybe it’s a public service announcement, or, or...”
“Or?” Santiago hears himself demand with sudden voracity.
He himself is surprised when he lurches forward to place his hand, palm flat and tense, against the door next to his co-host's head. Thiago is taller than him, and could easily get away, but he looks flummoxed by the display of hostility. People like him always are, Santiago thinks, furious it's taken him this long. Sheep, the whole lot of them. To think once upon a time the two of them had been friends, bright-eyed and optimistic, starting this terrible radio show together... but then, Santiago had been a Black Hand, too, once. Times change; he knows that better than anyone.
“W-what d’you think you’re doing?” the sheep of a man stammers, flattening himself against the door as though Santiago's likely to attack him at any moment.
It makes him chuckle derisively in response. He knows he’s being unkind—cruel, even—but he can’t help it. There’s too much frustration pent up inside from being talked over, corrected, doubted, all these years.
“You’re the one who brought up ‘respect’, parcero,” he murmurs, leaning in so he can keep his voice low, “How about you start showing me some?”
As he looks on, Thiago’s cheeks begin to stain a deep cherry red. Suddenly he can’t meet his gaze anymore, and if it were possible to make himself any smaller he probably would. He opens his mouth to retort something, but no sound comes out, so he closes it again, like a fish on land, gasping for air. It's clear he's absolutely furious at Santiago, for everything he said on the air earlier, for finally growing a pair, for the way he's talking to him—but there's something else, too. At first he can't place it, partly because he's too busy soaking in this glorious moment that's likely to cost him dearly later on, then it dawns on him. The look Thiago's giving him, or forcibly not giving him by fixing his gaze squarely below Santiago's left ear, isn't one he's seen on the man's face before. He's totally red now, even his neck is turning pink. He's mortified—no, he's flustered. The most shameless man Santiago has ever had the displeasure of working with is flattened against the door to their recording booth, and he's fucking flustered.
“I—but I do,” he finally manages, still averting his gaze, “I do r-respect you.”
“Far from it!” Santiago shoots back without hesitation.
This is too good. There's too much flooding his brain right now to think about the repercussions this might have, to consider what might happen if a whiff of this ever got out. Santiago places his other palm on the other side of Thiago's head, faster this time. It makes a metallic ‘clang’ and Thiago, to his credit, doesn't flinch, but his eyes follow the movement before flicking back to Santiago's face. His eyes are huge, his pupils are huge, like he's been smoking something non-government approved, and they're unfocused somehow, darting around like he's looking for an exit and can't stop himself from gazing at his co-host all at the same time.
“If you respected me,” Santiago ploughs on mercilessly, “You wouldn’t talk over me every chance you get. You wouldn’t recite policy back at me like a fucking sheep and call me a traitor for all of Solís to hear. You would back me up every once in a while! ¿Comprendes? ”
He brings his face even closer to Thiago, feels the heat of his mortified blush practically radiate off him. This time, he does flinch. It's when Santiago swears at him that a little wince escapes him, quiet and pitiful. He turns his head away, prompting Santiago to get even closer, literally breathing down his neck now. In all his years at the station—‘influencing a nation’ as Rafael put it so inaptly—he has never once felt this powerful. It’s an intoxicating feeling, one he isn’t looking forward to relinquishing once the pre-recorded interview that's now playing inevitably comes to an end and they’re required to go back on the air again. Even Santiago is surprised at the other man’s response.
“S-sí...” Thiago whispers, barely audible and breathy, “I get it.”
The voice he’s using is as unfamiliar to Santiago as the expression on his face is. He sounds abashed, like when he’s just managed to mess up yet another interview, or when a listener calls in to ask him an uncomfortably private question, but he’s breathless. He still looks flustered. Then his eyes dart back to Santiago’s face, not his eyes, but his mouth, and it finally clicks.
“Holy shit. You’re getting off on this, aren’t you?”
This time, there’s no hesitation from Thiago. “No! W-what?! ”
Appropriate outrage clouds his embarrassment for a moment, but now that Santiago’s seen the truth, now that it’s dawned on him, he can’t not see it. The way Thiago’s eyelids are fluttering, the way he keeps averting his gaze shyly before getting drawn back in—it’s textbook, and it’s completely and utterly baffling. Everything Santiago does next is on instinct, without the first thought put into it. He shoves his knee between Thiago’s own, pressing him up against the wall. The noise he makes then isn’t so much a wince as it is a yelp.
“Oye, stop! I’m not—I’m not gay! ” he protests, but his voice is hoarse and he doesn’t make a move to get away or push Santiago off him.
Instead his legs clamp tightly together, holding Santiago where he is. Of course, Santiago’s known he’s gay since he was a teenager, and was pretty open about it until joining the Black Hand. After leaving service he decided to keep his private life, well, private . With his eyes opened to all that goes on in Solís, he wants give them as little ammunition against him as possible. All in all he's not unhappy. The occasional fling here or there—where there’s old money there are always men who like men, even on this ass-backward island—diluted by the occasional ‘date’ with a notably younger woman to keep the tabloids at bay. He’s always been sure Thiago knows, or at least has an inkling about his sexual preferences, and this more or less confirms it.
“What exactly do you think I’m gonna do to you, enh?” he demands.
There’s a twisted feeling in the pit of his stomach; he feels nauseated and excited all at once and he doesn’t know what to do with himself all of a sudden. He knows it’s too late to back out and pretend he didn’t mean anything by it, that he didn’t pick up on what was written all over his co-host’s flushed face, but it’s not like he’s going to force himself on the man. Even he hasn’t sunk that low. No matter how much Thiago gets under his skin every day, he doesn’t deserve that; no one does. So he just stands there like a statue, dithering like he always does when there’s something he wants. He’s on the verge of overthinking it to the point of backing out, of stammering a muffled apology and pushing aside the taller man to escape the recording booth which suddenly feels very cramped. If he hesitates much longer, the pre-recorded interview will be over, the moment will pass, and the two of them will be in for a very awkward recording session imminently.
He’s just about resigned himself to that fate when all of a sudden it’s Thiago who launches himself forward, stepping away from the door Santiago has him pushed up against and smashing his lips unceremoniously against his own. At first Santiago is so taken aback by it, he hardly reciprocates the kiss. He actually stumbles back a step or two, off-kilter. Then Thiago’s hands are grasping at his lapels, pulling him upright again, and he finally gives into it. He’s almost a little ashamed at how his body melts into Thiago’s, how his lips part and soften for the younger man’s, how easy it is to forget the recording equipment, the studio around them, the stupid city around that with its bustling streets and skyscrapers full of unhappy people.
The way Santiago sees Solís—the way he sees the world—fades into insignificance in the space of a few accelerated heartbeats. Without thinking he has him pinned against the door again, with his whole body this time. Every part of him wants to be pressed up against Thiago, a sensation he can barely believe he’s experiencing even as it’s happening.
Thiago is a clumsy kisser. It’s clear he doesn’t have a whole lot of experience, but he makes up for it with enthusiasm, attacking Santiago with his lips, his tongue, even his teeth. His fingers are curled so tightly around Santiago’s shirt collar he’s worried the fabric might tear, but not worried enough to do anything about it. Instead he shoves his leg between Thiago’s again. This time it elicits neither a flinch nor a wince but an honest-to-God moan, a sound that’s like music to Santiago’s ears. It vibrates through him and fuck, Santiago wishes he could tear his co-worker’s clothes off right then and there. His body feels like it’s on fire, and even though the sensation isn’t unpleasant, he wants more, wants to know what it would feel like to bury himself deep inside Thiago, what kind of noises he’d get out of him then. It doesn’t help that Thiago is bucking his hips against him, causing delicious yet excruciating friction between their lower torsos. Those stupid tight jeans he’s wearing aren’t leaving much to the imagination, either. Santiago made fun of him when he first rocked up to the studio in them and now here he is, feeling the outline of the man’s ass through the rough blue material. He grabs hold of it, squeezing tight, marvelling at its shape and simultaneously at the bizarre nature of the situation.
Their kiss is broken momentarily while Thiago catches his breath, so the shorter man takes the opportunity to bury his face in his neck, to kiss and nibble at the sensitive skin there. His efforts earn another gasp—one that makes him glad for the room’s state-of-the-art sound insulation—followed by a curse that Rafael would most certainly have had to censor had they been on the air. All it does is egg him on. One hand still firmly planted on Thiago’s ass, he shifts the other to the front, feeling for the outline of his cock through the jeans. He’s rock hard, and part of Santiago can’t believe he’s really that hard for him. After all, they've spent years bickering, disagreeing about almost every single subject they broach. It doesn’t stop him from palming the impressive member.
“Sant—… Santiago, I—… Fuck! ”
He doesn’t even need to open Thiago’s zipper or remove his cock from his pants to have him thrusting into his hand like an over-excited teenager. It would almost embarrassing how much he’s into this if it wasn’t so goddamn hot. Santiago licks along his throat once, feeling the anxious pulse fluttering away beneath the skin. Then Thiago lets out his loudest gasp yet, followed by a little whine as he pushes himself more and more feverishly against Santiago, before his head thuds back limply against the door. When his movements stop he knows Thiago’s come, his chest heaving rapidly still as he leans back against the doorframe, fingers finally releasing their vice-like grip on Santiago’s collar.
It’s not surprising the older man feels a little hard done by. He’s about to demand “And what about me?! ” when a horrible, gut-wrenching ‘click’ announces someone entering the recording booth. They both jump back from the door like they've been scalded and Santiago hurries to adjust his clothing, his ruffled hair. It’s all he can do to hope Thiago is doing the same; he can’t bring himself to look at the man just yet.
When Rafael pops his head around the door to ask if they’re ready to go back on the air, they both nod, evidently afraid their voices might give away remnants of breathlessness. When Rafael goes on to beg him to ease off Grupo Prospero, to keep his opinions to himself at least til the end of the recording session, Santiago hears himself agreeing without argument. Rafael looks surprised but pleased and makes his exit, at which point both presenters let out respective held breaths.
There’s nothing that needs to be said. They take their usual seats by the mics as though nothing out of the ordinary just took place. Santiago shoots a cautious look over at his co-host and is pleased to note his hair is still standing up at the back, from where he had him pressed up against the door moments earlier. His cheeks, too, tell of their recent activities, if only by their slight pink tinge. Oh, how he wants to get back to that, to get rid of the painful erection straining against his own trousers that he hopes to God Rafael didn’t pick up on. Maybe he could get Thiago to give him a blowjob. He’d look good like that, kneeling on the dirty studio carpet, gazing up at him. A cock in his mouth should shut him up for once. He’d love to run his hands through those soft black curls, maybe grab a fistful of them as he pushes himself into the man’s throat and—… this isn’t helping things.
It’s only Rafael’s countdown over his headphones that drags his mind out of the gutter, followed by Thiago’s surprisingly chipper tone: “Welcome back to the Thiago and Santiago Show! I’m Thiago!”
“And that makes me Santiago!” he chimes in with barely any delay, though he thinks the hoarse note to his voice might just about be noticeable to someone who’s really paying attention.
Unperturbed, Thiago carries on: “Now, Santiago, I think it’s about time we took some calls. Don’t you?”
“Really?” Now Santiago’s unable to keep the surprise from his voice, though that isn’t a bad thing, really.
“Sure, parcero. Why not?”
He’s baffled to hear his co-host go back on his stance because that’s just not something he does. Thiago might be a sheep, but he’ll be damned if he isn’t a stubborn one. It’s clear that something about their recent encounter has managed to change his mind, and Santiago isn’t about to complain.
“Listener on line number one: You're live with Thiago and Santiago! Why don’t you go ahead and share your thoughts with the nation?”