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As Good as It Gets

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Contrary to what the Sergeant-Major seems to think, Gloria's never messed around with other men, or not very much, anyway. Not any more than just happens, from time to time, when you're living the life of an artiste. He's never found anything butch and sweaty very appealing in the past.

One of the hundred or so things that Gloria dislikes about India is that everybody and everything is sweaty. He's noticed it slightly less, though, since he met Solly and realised that some men do appeal to him, and certain men appeal quite a lot.

Solly's done it a couple of times before, too. Curiosity. Used to prefer girls, he said, but it was alright.

Roughly, they end up doing something about as often as they can manage to sneak it in, and usually backstage in the theatre where it's good and dark. A quick one. Quicker than usual, this afternoon, still half-dressed after rehearsals.

"Are you busy?"

"I am at the moment, yeah."

Gloria bats at him, but without very much effort behind it. "I meant, later on. Paderewski wants to go over my intro again before tonight."

"I've got a poker game. New intake got in at seven o'clock this morning."

"Mm. How many decks have you got marked?"

"Three."

"You're rotten. Rottener than a rotten apple."

"You don't want the gelt to put on our shows after the war, then?"

"I never said that."

Solly holds him tight and lifts him up onto his toes, and Gloria yelps as hands slide around his backside, then whimpers. He hasn't the faintest idea when it turned into something he actively enjoys, but it's enough these days to turn him into an absolute mess.

He angles up for a sloppy kiss, hands either side of Solly's head for a moment to hold him in place. "Solly," he says, when he breaks their connection.

"What?"

"Sometimes you are rotten, but you're very wonderful, too."

"That why you made a pass the first time?"

"Well, somebody had to make one sooner or later, and it obviously wasn't going to be you!"

Solly shrugs, as best as he can with Gloria draped all over him. "You kept saying you weren't -"

"I'm not!" Gloria squawks reflexively, then backtracks, given that it sounds ridiculous when he's currently starting to fumble Solly's flies open. "Well, I wasn't. I don't think I was, anyway."

He still isn't actually sure whether he was like this all the time and it's finally clicked, or whether he just had to meet the right person. It's not like either of them are saying anything definite yet, is it?

Solly knows that Gloria's not a girl, and he's still moving against him; still having a feel of his backside with one hand and lacing the fingers of the other through Gloria's own. When he finds something interesting to do with his tongue against Gloria's neck, Gloria pushes back against him.

"I might dress like a girl. I might play girls on stage. I'm not a girl, though."

"Yeah. I can feel that."

"Well, would you mind feeling it soon, please? I'm starting to think that plucking my eyebrows would've been more satisfying."

Honestly, Gloria isn't all that surprised that Solly got to be a sharp at cards. He's very good with his hands. He rolls against the squeeze through the cloth and makes some sounds so needy he surprises even himself.

"I don't think I know what I am."

"The Sergeant-Major'll tell you what you are if anyone hears us and has a dekko in here. Pipe down, will you?"

"I might if you'd give me something else to do with my mouth."

"I wouldn't get down on your knees if I was you. They don't de-bug the floors like they do the charpoys."

"I didn't mean that!"

Solly is grinning as he noses along Gloria's jaw. Gloria huffs a bit into it, but still bites at Solly's lower lip. "You've got a filthy mind, d'you know?"

"I dunno. I reckon I could get filthier. Depends on whether you really fancy me."

"Course I do, you great big berk!"

Solly has Gloria's trousers undone and is emitting a few choice comments as he tries to shove them lower. Gloria goes in for his belt. He tries to make himself wait to get under Solly's drawers, because he doesn't want to look too desperate. He isn't a pushover.

Solly, apparently quite focused on leg-overs, slides a hand up Gloria's chest. He finds his target and pinches. Gloria reacts, visibly.

"You cold?"

"It wasn't that kind of shiver."

"Ruddy well hope not."

The discussion stops altogether when Solly kisses him again. Initially because Gloria now does have something to do with his mouth, and then because they're now both exposed enough to fall into some sort of rhythm against each other. They start off quick and eager, then slow down to make it last.

Solly shifts closer and readjusts so that he's holding both of them, and this is when Gloria doesn't mind being sweaty at all, because of how it makes everything feel.

"Oh, Solly -"

"What?"

"You shouldn't -"

"Don't you like it?"

"I never said that either," Gloria mumbles. He runs his fingers over Solly's biceps, appreciatively. "You're lovely. All big and hard. Everywhere."

"If you get any harder, sweetheart, the MO'll be taking your pulse without a stethoscope."

It's so easy to keep on sliding, forward and then back, skin on hot skin. Their breath starts to mingle, then gets lost. After something like ten close calls, Solly moves his hand just like that, and suddenly both of them are moaning and Gloria knows that they've got it right, the second before it happens.

Solly kisses the crook of his neck after they both come back down to earth.

His Alice Faye wig is still in place, and just needs smoothing neatly back into order. When his fingers brush the skin where Solly's mouth was, he can still feel a tingle that echoes itself lower down.

They only have half an audience that night. Parky forgets his lines not just once, but twice, and the horse that Nosher and Atlas are playing looks more like a camel, but Gloria still sparkles through it all, buoyed by passion and contentment.

The camp theatre isn't the West End, and he's surrounded by amateurs, but for some reason, he's still happy enough to want to sing.