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They meant to sleep. It’s been a long week, and they’re both exhausted. But somehow they kept talking. An hour, maybe. He can’t remember now what they talked about. Just that he wondered, briefly, why he was lying here and not in his own room, and then he was rolling over to pull him close and kiss him. Kiss him. Run one hand down his spine. Fingers brushing the small of his back. The waistband of his shorts. Jerry gasped. Smiled against his mouth. Whispered something and then slipped arms around him. Their hips together. Jerry pressing into him. Gently sucking at Dean’s tongue and laughing softly. At what? Something. Dean said something. He can’t remember now. It’s gone. Lost in the dark with the whisper of sheets against skin and skin against skin and the delicate press and release and sweet pain of their mouths. And Jerry’s fingers tugging gently at his hair, his legs moving so he could sit facing Dean in his lap. Not breaking the kiss for a second. Moving his hips once or twice and stopping. Waiting. And Dean responding. They found a rhythm somehow. Dean a little stuttering but following his boy’s example until each mirrored movement sent warm ripples through him, from where they were joined and rubbing to the tips of his fingers. His hair seemed to crackle as though pre-empting a thunderstorm. Lightning in a bedroom. And Jerry was talking then, saying something. Just one word. Over and over and over. And Dean couldn’t hear him. Couldn’t focus. Only knew that something was happening. Something he hadn’t had with Jerry until now. Wanted to focus on that. Focus on them. Focus on the parts of them separated by cotton but making do pretty well in spite of it, Christ, so well. But the word, whatever it was, seemed important. Must be for the kid to keep saying it like that. Like praying. Like begging. Dean brings himself back to the bed to hear it and hears it:

Please please please please

and before he can parse it Jerry’s fingers are in his underwear.

He pulls away a little. Keeps one arm wrapped around his boy. Looks at him. Tries to find him in the dark.

“Dino, please.”

He understands. Swallows. Wets his lips. They tingle. Swollen. “Jerry, we… I don’t…”

“You feel so good.”

Dean shudders. Nods. Kisses his swanlike neck.

“You feel so good, Paul, please. Please. Lemme feel you.”

Jerry rocks his hips again. Trying. Dean mirrors him. Nuzzling that neck. Kissing. Murmuring. “Jerry, oh, Jer, I don’t know, I don’t—” Thinking if they did it like this it would be bad for him. Painful. Skewering himself. He shudders. Stops kissing and pulls away again, further now. Still touching him a little. “I don’t wanna hurt you.” Forces it out. Words tripping over his tongue. Falling into the bed. Caught by Jerry, who takes his hands and kisses them. Finger by finger. So sweet.

“You won’t.” He kisses his mouth now. Once. “I trust you.”

He shakes his head again. Wants to ask Jerry if he’s done it before. Thinks he knows the answer but needs to hear it. For his own sake. Needs to hear that Jerry really, truly has no idea what he’s talking about. Has no idea if or how much this will hurt him. Not that Dean knows either. But asking this of him, Jerry has to be sure, and Dean knows he isn’t.

“I trust you.” And in a whisper, he’s naked, straddling again, hugging him. The hard line of him rests against Dean’s belly. “I want it to be you.”

And there it is. Dean wants to cry. Doesn’t. Hugs him back and says, “You haven’t.” It’s not right, not whole, but it’s enough.

Jerry chuckles. “Whadaya take me for?” And then, softer, “You’re the only man I wanna do it with.”

It’s Dean’s turn to chuckle. He has to. To keep himself grounded. But it's easy to laugh with him. Easier to make it light. Take away the heavy darkness of his request. “I’m flattered," he says. Tickles Jerry’s side so he giggles. “Honoured, even.” He holds gently the nape of his neck. Looks into the eyes that are starting to swim into view. Wants to buy time. Keep them like this for as long as he can. “But it could hurt you.”

He wriggles. “Not if we do it right.”

“Jer, I—”

But he’s crawling away, rooting in the bedside drawer. Then coming back to him, pressing a small cool jar into his palm. “I-if we do it right,” he says again, “it won’t hurt.” He's trembling so much. Dean wishes it were fear. Maybe it would be, for him. But for Jer, it's something else. “I promise.”

And before Dean can speak, Jerry’s opening the jar. “You, uh.” He coughs. A nervous laugh. “Do you – wanna?”

“Jerry, I have no idea what you’re doing.” Almost a lie, but he figures it’s all right now.

“Oh. Ha.” He fidgets. “It’s okay. I-I can do it.” There’s a soft, wet noise – fingers pressed into the substance in the jar. And then the bedsprings creak as Jerry moves away. Twists himself. A pause. And then soft grunting. There’s discomfort there, Dean thinks. But also a little pleasure. Excitement. Because he knows what comes next. He shakes his head. Knows he ought to put a stop to it now. But finds himself reaching out in the dark. Slowly. Because whatever comes next, it feels wrong to leave the kid alone for this part. His eyes adjust even as he reaches. Bluish light colouring the room, lighting the pleasantly straining figure of his boy in silver. An alarming position, maybe. But his expression is earnest. Searching. Eyes tightly shut. A sweetly furrowed brow. The tip of his tongue poking between his lips.

Dean touches his wrist.

Jerry gasps. His hips jerk. And then, after a pause, he laughs softly. “Almost,” he says. A little embarrassed, but smiling. His hand starts moving underneath Dean’s fingers. He doesn’t push or guide. Just feels Jerry at work.

And then it’s over and the jar is gone and Jerry is touching him again and saying “Here” and bringing his friend to the head of the bed. Somehow, Dean is naked. Matching his boy now. He trembles, too. Maybe more than Jerry. “Here,” he says again and kisses Dean’s mouth. Slowly. Gently. He pulls him closer still and now he’s propped up a little by the pillows, one hand teasing curls, the other stroking Dean’s chest. “Here,” again, and Dean feels himself tip forward, feels legs resting, wrapping, feels cool fingers on him, on the hard heat of him, guiding. Guiding to a different heat entirely.

Something snaps in the back of his head. Lightning strikes.

“Jer, no.” He seizes. Not sure what he finds. But the kid cries out; Dean falls back, away, and for a moment they’re quiet. Not quiet. Not speaking. But breathing hard. Both shocked and shaken and then:

“Why did you do that?” The kid’s voice. Small. Stupefied. “You didn’t have to do that.”

Dean flicks on the light and looks at him; he’s cradling his forearm, watching Dean with wide, almost awed eyes.

“Dino, you really hurt me.” He doesn’t sound hurt. More amazed. It doesn’t make sense. But red marks are blooming there already.

“God, Jer.” Dean makes to get out of the bed.

“Where are you going?” Voice rising. Don't leave me shuddering beneath it. “Dino—”

“I-I don’t know.” He rakes fingers through his hair. Feels it sticking up. Wild. “I don’t know, Jer. Some – something for your arm, I—”

“Dino, here.” He strokes his back, brings him close again. Back into the bed proper. Touches his cheek with just his fingertips. Dean looks into his solemn eyes.

“I’m sorry,” Jerry says.

Dean blinks. “What?”

“I shouldn’t've done that.” He seems suddenly exhausted. Rests his head against Dean’s. “Pushed you like that. I got carried away, I think. I won’t do it again, I swear.” He’s still breathing hard. Shaking his head a little. Fingers still stroking Dean’s face. “I swear, not ever.”

“Jerry, you…” He holds him back a little. Needs to look him in the face for this. “You didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t say sorry to me. You…” He looks at his arm again. Remembers hurting him like that once before. Years ago. He was a kid. Looks back in his eyes. He’s still a kid. Almost ten years since then means nothing, suddenly. “I’m sorry I hurt you.” Like I knew I would.

“No, it’s my fault.” He rubs his face. Dean sees his fore- and middle fingers glistening. Looks away from them. “I wasn’t thinking. I know you… I know you’re not ready for that, I just… I don’t know.” He laughs a little. “Let’s both be sorry, okay?”

“Sure.” He lets out a breath and pulls him close. “Sure.”

They hold each other for a while. It takes a minute for Dean to realise that he’s nuzzling Jerry’s neck, barely holding on while the kid holds firm. Whispers and hushes. Strokes his damp curls. It’s nice, he thinks. Being held like this. He sees why the kid likes it.

“Dino.”

“Hm?”

“Is this nice, bubbe?”

“Hm.”

Jerry shifts forward again. They’re both naked still but it’s different now. “We can just do this,” he whispers. His lips brush Dean’s ear. “If this is what you want. Mm?” He kisses his temple, his brow, the other temple, so light. Like snowflakes. “Just this.” He makes a contemplative noise in the back of his throat. “You know what I think?”

“What?” Dean looks at him. “Whadaya think, Jer?”

“I think…” He sits cross-legged and strokes Dean’s cheekbones. His nose. His brow. Tingling pleasant lines along his face. Fusses at his curls to tame them. “I think you think I’ll be sad if you don’t wanna do this. I won’t,” he says. “I won’t be sad. It makes me sad to think I’m… pushing this on you. If this won’t make you happy, I don’t wanna go near it. If it’s – you know. If it’s too much.”

Dean’s touching him now, too. Stroking his arms and legs. His chest. Pays special attention to the dark patch of fur; his boy fairly purrs at this. They’re sitting with their knees together. Feeling each other. But that’s different, too. Naked and touching – stroking intimate places, almost – but completely divorced from it. Dean shakes his head. Marvels silently at this. Likes it. Thinks he likes it better than the other way. Jerry’s still talking. He’s always talking. Dean likes that, too.

“I’m not pushing for this, Dino. If it feels like I am, you gotta say something.” He laughs. A little bitterly. Dean lets it slide. “Well, you gotta try anyhow. If we do this, I think it’d be wonderful. I think it’d be so easy, too. Because we love each other. We know each other so beautifully already. We’d know just what to do to make it perfect. But even without it, I think it’s perfect. It’d just be another way for us to be together. To be close. To show how much we love each other. Something just for us, you know? But I think being with you like this – or fooling around onstage – or coming back to the hotel after a show. Anything. It's just for us anyhow. And it’s all perfect because it’s with you. This other thing… I’m not saying I don’t want it, because I do. I’d be the biggest schmuck this side of the Atlantic to have spent this much time with you – to know you this well – and not want it. But more than anything, I want you should be happy. And if this is enough to make you happy, then I’ll forget all about that.”

Dean looks at him. Wants more than anything to say something just as beautiful. Instead, what comes out is: “How’d you get so smart?”

Jerry rolls his eyes. “Not workin’ with you, that’s for sure.”

Dean grins and kisses him. Jerry beams.

It’s a little hot in here now, and Dean opens the window while Jerry turns off the light and fixes the sheets. They snuggle down together and talk for a while. In the morning, Dean won’t remember what they talked about. But the warm presence of his friend in the dark will linger. And he'll try to remember those beautiful things Jerry said but that image of him, twisted and straining, and the feel of long fingers against him, and whispered pleas for something Dean couldn't give - all of this will come back.

And Dean won’t touch him for a week.