"He's coming, get in your places! And shut the fuck up!"
Tom rolled his eyes, but shifted so he could pretend to read the new scouting report pages while secretly watching the locker room shenanigans. Wes had the rookies lined up on the far side of the locker room with padding shoved under their jerseys and into their pants until they looked liked giant stuffed marshmallows. He'd missed out on the planning stage of whatever this was, but the wicked grin Wes shot his way convinced him to hang around waiting for the payoff.
"Everybody act natural!" Wes yelled, skidding into the locker room as he windmilled his arms to keep upright.
The resulting scrum of guys trying to find a way to pose without falling over actually forced a chuckle out of Tom. Ocho's attempt to batman in his locker won for least convincing. Half a dozen guys tried to talk about the weather, and Tom heard everything from heat waves to tornados to earthquakes as topics. He watched Wes sidle over to the stereo system in the corner and raised an eyebrow.
As soon as Vince walked in the door, Wes hit the button and the theme song from Rudy blasted through the room. The rookies took off in a slow run contest, doing their best Baywatch as they lifted their knees and struggled not to fall over between their slow speed and all the padding Wes had stuffed in them.
"Oh, you guys suck," Vince said, waving his hand at all of the cackling players, so that Tom was the only one who noticed him trying to suck his gut in. "You're all just jealous you ain't got my skills and you ain't as pretty as me."
The rookies finally made it to the finish line and collapsed, which was the signal for everyone else to dog pile on top of them. Tom noticed Wes managed to keep on top of the pile laughing like a maniac. Vince snorted and glared over at Tom. He quickly wiped his expression and shrugged, he definitely didn't want Vince to think he had anything to do with it.
"By the way, you bitches," Vince yelled, his voice easily carrying back from the hallway as he stormed out, "the forecast for Sunday is snow."
"My hands are cold."
That was all the warning Tom got before a pair of freezing hands shoved into the warmer next to his. He jerked his head down and rolled his eyes at Wes' shit eating grin. He had the sling in front of him, and Wes' fingers were perilously close to his junk. "This is going to be on Sportscenter, you know," he said, feeling at least a dozen cameras swing toward them.
"Sure, but are you more worried about your macho man image, or keeping my digits warm to catch a record number of touchdowns?" Wes asked, wiggling his fingers until Tom grabbed them to hold him still.
Tom snorted. "Please, no one who watches this sport thinks I'm a macho man," he said, shifting a little so Wes' wrists wouldn't be bare to the wind. "You have a coat on. What's wrong with your own pockets?"
"Some asshole cut them out," Wes answered, cocking his hip so Tom could see the holes that went straight through the material.
Vince walked by, just out of Wes' sight, with the obvious remains of Wes' pockets made into a bad pair of earmuffs.
Tom mumbled a few curses into his pillow, but shifted over to the cold side of the bed, letting Wes slide into his body-warmed spot. He curled his knees up to his chest, trying to keep from shivering and waking himself up more. After the game, he'd shrugged off the invitations to go out and headed back to the apartment he kept during the season. It was chilly, and empty, and quiet, and almost exactly what he wanted.
"You're still coming with me tomorrow, right?"
"Sure," Tom answered through a yawn, uncurling enough to let Wes sneak a knee between his thighs. Wes' body was still damp and shower-warm, curling until he was almost on top of Tom, a weight keeping him grounded. "Missed you."
The sheets rustled as Wes got comfortable, tucking his nose into Tom's neck and breathing deeply. "Me too," he said, snugging his hands beside Tom's stomach.
It turned out Wes wanted to go Christmas shopping, and Tom was ninety percent sure he had never agreed to go when he was conscious. The malls were packed, and it took fifteen minutes just to find a parking spot. Inside was even worse with lines that ran everywhere and little old ladies who had sharp elbows and knew how to use them.
"This is never going to work," Tom said, leaning down to Wes' ear so he could talk over the all the noise. "You're crazy if you think you're getting in the store."
"You're probably right," Wes said, crestfallen with his hands shoved into the main pocket of his hoodie. With his hat on backwards he didn't look much older than a teenager. "We should probably just-- Holy shit, it's Tom Brady!"
Tom jerked back as every head in the crowd turned to him. Wes slipped out of his fingers as people pushed in wanted to talk to him, or take a picture with him, or get an autograph. One little girl wanted to sit on his lap and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. It took an hour before he sorted the crowd out and managed to get away into the food court.
He found Wes sitting in a corner surrounded by bags and take-out from every kiosk in sight. He slumped into the booth across from his smirking receiver. "I hate you so much," Tom said, flexing his toes in his stylish yet uncomfortable boots.
"I got you a cinnamon roll," Wes said, pushing a styrofoam box across the table.
"I hate you a little less," Tom said, opening it to find a steaming pastry drizzled with extra frosting.
The newspapers in the morning were going to lead with 'Pats Quarterback Strangled in Own Jersey'. Tom wiggled again, but his arms stayed trapped in his sleeves while the material of his jersey sucked closer and closer to his face. The usual guy who helped him was missing in action, probably off putting out another fire brought on by the Welker versus Wilfork Prankapalooza. Trying to get dressed had already taken twice as long as normal, and hidden back in one of the equipment rooms, no one would notice him until he didn't show up for warm-ups on the field.
"This is just embarrassing for you."
Tom twisted, his hands flapping a little from the top of his jersey. Of course, Wes would walk in and see him like this. The pictures would be splashed all over Twitter in a matter of seconds. He sighed and let his shoulders slump, easing the tension that kept the jersey from blocking his nose. Death would be preferable.
"Hey, hey. Is this a cry of help, or what?" Wes asked, quickly straightening out Tom's jersey from where it had snagged on the buckles of his shoulder pads. He jerked it down, and Tom's head finally popped through the neck hole. "There you go."
"Yeah, thanks," Tom said, immediately suspicious that Wes had found him first and wasn't torturing him about his inability to do something six-year olds accomplished every day.
"Oh, look at that," Wes said, surprised and looking down. "Didn't anybody teach you to tie your laces before you put your pads on?"
He would have sworn that his cleats had been tied before he got stuck in his shirt. Wes shoved him backwards and he tripped, dropping heavily on the hard wooden bench. Tom swallowed uneasily as Wes knelt in front of him, bowing his head. He tried not to watch as Wes lifted his shoe to set on Wes' thigh.
Wes trailed his fingers down Tom's calf and tucked the bottom of his shin guards into his shoes. He pulled the laces tight and bent closer, breath warm even through Tom's socks. Tom tried not to shiver, knowing Wes was laughing at him even if it wasn't out loud. Wes couldn't keep his hands to himself, stroking and holding Tom's legs with care as he eventually tied both of Tom's shoes.
Whatever game Wes thought he was playing, Tom wasn't about to come in second, even if it meant he didn't play at all. Tom cleared his throat and pulled his feet back, trying not to remember what happened the last time Wes was on his knees between Tom's outstretched thighs. He turned his head and scraped his cleats on the concrete.
"Stand up," Wes said, getting to his feet first and offering Tom a hand. "One more to go."
"What are you talking about?" Tom asked, trying desperately to shift gears into football mode. He didn't want to be thinking about Wes as anything but a very good target when they went out to lock up their division.
Wes did that thing where he glanced up at Tom through his eyelashes, his smile stretched wide. "Can't have you falling out in the second quarter. This is a family friendly program, you know," he said.
Tom sucked in a breath as Wes started working the loose laces on the front of his pants. Wes, being a contrarian little shit, kept his fingers completely professional, taking the slack out and trying the strings snug but not tight. He tucked the loose ends down next the Tom's hipbones and bucked the belt over the fold so it wouldn't rub Tom raw.
"There," he said, taking a step back and looking Tom over. "Now you won't embarrass us too bad out there."
"Um, yeah. Thanks … again," Tom said, sidling away from Wes and toward the door. Luckily, he still had time to get his head back into football.
A hand hit his ass with a sting hard enough to leave a print behind. Tom yelped and crashed sideways into the door frame. He glared as Wes strolled by, flashing him a thumbs up.
"Go get 'em, champ," Wes said, disappearing down the hallway to the locker room.
Tom stood there a few more seconds, idly rubbing his hand over the place Wes had spanked him and wondering what he'd ever done in a past life to deserve Wes. He must have doomed an entire species or something.
"I'm going to kill that punk-ass white boy as soon as I get my hands on him!"
Wes tore back from the way he'd left, almost knocking Tom over in hurry to get out of reach. "I think I'll take the long way to the field today," he said, winking over his shoulder.
Tom slipped his hands under Wes' knees and lifted him on the counter. Their height difference slipped away with Wes lifted up, and Tom leaned gratefully into Wes' solid body. It had been such a hectic week; they hadn't had time for anything more than rushed handjobs when they could steal a minute away from the media. Somehow, Wes had ended up on the opposite side of the hotel, and with Wilfork in the middle, was leery of exploring too much after curfew.
He dropped his head so he could push his face into Wes' neck, kissing and mouthing the tendons that stood out. Tom knew his stubble would leave a red mark everyone would be able to see, and the thought made the bottom drop out of his stomach. He never got to claim Wes openly, not with a kiss or with a ring. Beard burn was a poor third, but he'd take it.
"Yeah, Daddy," Wes groaned, locking his ankles behind Tom and arching up to bare more of his neck. He raked his blunt nails down Tom's back, and then up, fisting in Tom's hair. "Just like that. I've been a bad girl."
"Would you cut it out?" Tom asked, trying to pull away from Wes' outstretched hands. He couldn't go very far, not with Wes' legs around his hips. He frowned, "Why do you have to do that?"
"Do what?" Wes smiled, running his hands down Tom's chest. He licked his lips and dropped his hands to flick open the button on Tom's jeans. He tugged Tom closer, rubbing his dick against Tom's hipbone. "Come back here and give Mama some sugar."
Tom caught Wes' hands and flattened them down on the counter beside his thighs. "Wes," he said, irritated that this couldn't be easier. He was tired of always trying to be who other people wanted him to be. This time, he just wanted something for himself. "Stop it."
"What do you want from me?" Wes asked, blowing out an annoyed breath as he let his feet drop to bang against the cabinets. He pushed at Tom's chest until Tom finally sighed and took a step back. "Who do you want me to be?"
A housekeeping trolley rolled through the hallway, wheels squeaking loud enough to rival even Ocho's snoring. Tom ran his hands through his hair, and pushed with his palms against his temples. They hadn't ever had a serious conversation that wasn't about beating the coverage on third and short. For years, he hadn't thought Wes would even be capable of talking about their relationship without making it out to be a daytime soap opera of forbidden love. Possibly even a telenovela.
At the very least, there would be an evil twin or two involved.
"I want you to be Wes," Tom said, opting for honesty when he had no idea what to say. He never felt less like the man who had everything than when he had Wes right in front of him. Contradictory didn't begin to cover his feelings.
"Jesus Christ," Wes cursed under his breath. He curled his fingers in Tom's belt loops and sighed deeply. "Don't ask for much, do you?"
Tom dropped his head, resting his cheek against Wes' shoulder. "Just cut the bullshit. Either be here with me because you want to be here with me, or rip my heart out and make it fast," Tom answered, keeping his head down so he wouldn't see whatever expression formed on Wes' face.
"Melodramatic much, don't you think?" Wes asked, wrapping his arms and legs back around Tom's body like a giant half-octopus. "You know I – I have… I feel stuff for you."
Chuckling, Tom returned the hug, leaving his arms down around Wes' lower back. "You regularly tell your red solo cup how much you love it, but you can't say the words to me?" Tom asked, already willing to let it go. He didn't need to torture Wes until he said it, the fact that he hadn't bolted straight for the door meant a lot in Tom's book.
Wes squeezed Tom tighter. "You're better than any red solo cup," he said into Tom ear, voice barely more than a soft sigh.