Wiggles was poison. A walking bad luck charm, the human embodiment of snake eyes. People had a habit of dying around him. Even when he didn’t stab them. Even when he wanted them to stick around.
And then there was Wilford. Wilford was just like him in many ways, but his opposite in so many others. It was like he walked around in a protective bubble, unable to get hurt by anything Wiggles did.
Every time a bullet meant for Wiggles went to Wilford, he dodged it like it was nothing. Every time they got into a dangerous situation, Wilford would emerge unscathed, even when Wiggles had six broken ribs and a hangover.
Wilford seemed to be immune to the aura Wiggles emitted. But Wiggles wasn’t taking any chances, even though he desperately wanted to. Not one finger on Wilford, anywhere. Not even a tap to get his attention. His bad luck could be infectious, for all he knew.
What made it worse was that Wilford seemed to want to touch him. Wilford was touchy, Wiggles had observed it in everyone else. And while he respected the boundaries Wiggles set, Wiggles could see him reach out and stop himself. It hurt, in ways Wiggles couldn’t quite define. Why did not touching Wilford hurt so bad?
Wiggles sat far apart from Wilford on the couch they shared, listening to Wilford talk about something to do with pigeons. The urge to touch him was particularly strong that day. The hand Wilford was using to gesture with was so easily within Wiggles’s grasp.
There was no audience at the moment, not even a crew. They often did this, stayed an hour after the show, just talking because they were too comfortable to move.
“Wiggles? Wiggles, are you alright?” Wilford called. Wiggles jumped, having zoned out a bit. “You seemed lost. Where’d you go, my friend?” Wilford had a patient smile on his face.
“What’s it to you?” Wiggles replied, harshly. Wilford’s face looked not unlike a kicked puppy, and Wiggles winced. “Sorry. Just don’t really wanna talk about it.”
“That’s fine, I understand.” Wilford said, studying him. After a long moment, he shifted a bit closer on the couch. Wiggles noticed, and shifted back. “Wiggles. I promise I won’t force you on anything. But please tell me. Why don’t you like touch? Did someone hurt you?”
Wiggles sighed, rubbing his head. This conversation was inevitable, he knew. He just didn’t want to have it at all.
“No. Well, technically, yes, but that’s not why. I’ve been hurt a lot, that ain’t the issue.” Wiggles groaned. This was not sounding how he wanted it to. “I just…I’m bad news, Wilf. I don’t wanna spread that to you.”
“Do you think bad luck is contagious?” Wilford asked.
“I dunno. All I know is everybody I’ve ever loved has left me or ended up dead.” Wiggles rushed out, tripping over his words, barely even realizing what he said.
“I appreciate the worry, sugar, but I can take care of myself-did you say love?” Wilford interrupted himself.
“Fuck.” Wiggles summed up everything happening inside his head.
He loved Wilford. And he let it slip while spilling his guts. Wilford called him sugar, which was new. Wiggles needed to leave.
Wiggles stood up and left the room, ignoring Wilford calling after him. He couldn’t cope with it as he was. He needed a goddamn drink.
Wilford found Wiggles at a bar near the studio, half an hour later. If he was guessing, Wiggles was on his second whiskey. At least he was pacing himself a bit.
Wiggles was slumped over on the bar, wallowing in misery as he often did. Wilford sat in the stool beside him, Wiggles glancing up at him. He groaned, burying his head under his arms.
“I’m a fucking idiot.” Wiggles moaned.
“Hey, now, don’t say that. You’re no idiot.” Wilford said. “You’re a human. You have feelings. Best to admit you do now.”
“I got attached to you. Why’d I do that? Shoulda let you be. I mean, Wilford, goddamn, I love ya. Which is news to me, frankly. But…I don’t wanna fuck up your life. And I will.” Wiggles said.
“I think I’ll be the judge of my own life, thank you very much.” Wilford paused, assessing. “How drunk are you?”
“Probably not enough for the state of my life.” Wiggles answered.
Slowly, Wilford took his hand. Wiggles froze, his body stiffening, staring bug-eyed at their locked fingers. Wilford looked around.
“Nothing bad is happening.” Wilford commented.
“It will.” But Wiggles made no move to untangle their hands.
“I can take care of myself, darling.” Wilford replied. “I’m a big boy, Wiggles. Whatever comes my way, I can handle it.”
Wiggles raised his head, looking Wilford directly in the eyes. “You’re seriously willing to do that? Put yourself at risk for me?”
“Without hesitation.” Wilford said. “C’mon. This is no place for you, not like this.” Wilford pulled Wiggles out of the chair, slapping the first bill he could find onto the bar.
The cool night air greeted Wilford as he lead Wiggles outside. Wiggles audibly sighed from behind him, stopping Wilford just outside the door.
“You’re really sure about this?” Wiggles asked.
“Yes. I am.” Wilford answered, turning around to look him in the eyes.
“Well, fuck it.” Wiggles grabbed Wilford’s suspenders and pulled him into a kiss.
Wilford could go on for page after page, for hours and hours, about what that kiss felt like. The short version was: it was more than he’d ever dreamt of.