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Take the Edge Off

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Robert simultaneously loves and hates these things: Press junkets, interviews, red carpets, movie premieres… they require more acting than the film did. Or, rather, they used to. They’re actually not the ordeal that they used to be for him. He’s more at home in his skin, with his blood pumping cleanly, and Susan at his side… the whole press experience is a thousand times more bearable sober, something he’d never have believed a decade ago. He’s an old pro at this now. It’s become a kind of competitive sport for him: drive the fans as wild as possible with his flirting; woo the media with his charisma, charm, and winning smile; “piss off” his wife with his big mouth and poor impulse control (make it up to her later – though, for the most part, she’s usually just amused and not angry… he is, after all, the funniest guy she knows, and at least some of his impulsive behavior in front of the media is for her benefit… he really loves to watch her laugh).

The Avengers press tour is no different than any other for Robert. Sure, Iron Man is one of the biggest roles he’s ever had. But he’s Sherlock fucking Holmes. He’s got this press thing down. Some of his co-stars, on the other hand, not so much. Robert has done his best to take Chris Evans under his metaphorical wing since day one of filming. Actually, he’s been almost-secretly trying to guide the kid since before he even accepted the Captain America role. Robert has many, considerable talents. He likes to think gauging people is one of them, especially rising stars. Chris Evans is definitely a rising star. He just happens to be a rising star with a panic disorder. Robert can work with that.

Robert spent most of filming imparting his hard-earned wisdom to the cast, whether they wanted it or not. Evans always wanted it. He would stare with rapt attention whenever Robert had anything to say. It was flattering, just a tiny bit precious, and alarmingly sexy. By the time filming wrapped and the press tour came around, almost every other word out of Evans’ mouth about Robert sounded like awed hero-worship. The kid was practically in love with him. Robert was thrilled.

It is the worst kept secret in all of Hollywood that Robert is bisexual. It’s not even a secret. He’s come out and admitted to it before, as if his flirting with all his co-stars isn’t enough evidence of the fact, but no one seems to believe him. It makes Robert wonder why he even pays a publicist anymore when everything said publicist should be spinning in the media is never taken seriously by the media anyway. Apparently, when you’re too charismatic and funny for your own good, even the serious things you say are brushed off as a joke. But that’s besides the point. The point is, Robert is bi. He’s in love with Susan, and she’s in love with him. In fact, she loves him so much that he pretty much has a free pass to fool around with any guy he wants to. Take Jude for instance: Susan loves Jude. And Jude, luckily, loves Robert. And Robert’s just thrilled that he’s allowed to bring his best friends to bed sometimes. He’s especially thrilled when he gets to do so with Susan present.

So, Robert’s been guiding Chris in the ways of fame because he’s a good guy and Robert wants to see the kid succeed. But he also wants to get the kid to fall in lust with him so he can fuck him every which way until he begs Robert to stop making him come. Susan’s already given him the green light on that. Both of those motives are why Robert has kept a subtle, yet vigilant focus on Chris since he arrived on the red carpet of the LA premiere. Robert knows this has all become increasingly overwhelming for Chris. He’s been brilliant about handling it so far, but Chris once left a press junket without so much as a word because he went into full on freak out mode. Robert wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Chris, as it turns out, carries himself beautifully throughout the entire entrance to the premiere. He’s charming and smiling and friendly. Robert can tell how forced it becomes as the red carpet portion of the evening continues on, but there’s also an almost serene quality to Chris’ movements. That therapist of his must really be working. Once they get into the theater and are seated to enjoy the film, yet again, Robert allows himself to focus on Susan and the audience and not Chris. It’s not until the film is over and the post-movie scene has the audience whooping and applauding, that Robert realizes Chris has slipped away at some point. He’s nowhere to be found. Robert scans the crowd, concerned.

“He slipped out the emergency exit,” Jeremy leans over to whisper in Robert’s ear, “about thirty minutes ago.”

Robert exchanges a look with Jeremy before turning to Susan.

“Go,” she tells him, before he can even speak.

This is why he loves her. She always somehow knows, without him saying.

He leans down and kisses her just shy of chastely. She smiles softly and he kisses her a second time before he slips away. He makes his way through the crowd quickly to avoid any conversations about the film, and he catches a glimpse of Jeremy as he takes an almost imperceptible step toward Susan, putting himself between her and the majority of the other audience members, like a human shield protecting Robert’s wife. Robert makes a mental note to get that guy an edible arrangement or to extend to him and that secret boyfriend of his an invitation to one of his vacation homes/time shares for a weekend. One of the tropical ones since Jeremy’s always complaining about that drafty cabin he’s usually dragged to.

Once Robert’s slipped into the abandoned hall beside the theater, it only takes him a fraction of a second to figure out where Chris must have gone. It’s exactly where Robert would have gone, back in the day. The sign on the door says “employees only,” with the familiar stick figure signifying the men’s restroom. Robert checks the door, pushing it slightly, and finds it isn’t locked. The soft glow of light filters out from the interior as the door swings inward.

“Chris?” Robert calls quietly, hoping not to scare the poor guy, as he enters the small room.

Chris doesn’t answer at first, but Robert can hear him breathing.

“Chris,” Robert calls again, his voice a little bit firmer.

“Here,” Chris answers softly, breathlessly, without actually making any movement or offering any physical evidence of his whereabouts. Just a whisper of a voice from the furthest stall.

Robert approaches slowly. The stall is shut and locked, but he can see Chris’ shoes and the cuffs of his suit pants beneath the door.

“You missed the end of the movie,” Robert tells him. He winces a little. He’s not so practiced in this talking someone through their issues thing as he probably should be, considering his past. Of course, in all the past situations Robert was always the one being talked to, not the person doing the talking. He at least knows enough not to ask something truly stupid like “are you okay in there?”

Chris, not surprisingly, doesn’t respond.

Robert hesitates, taking a deep breath before trying again, “You were incredible on that carpet tonight. Everyone loved you.”

Chris’ hoarse bark of laughter is the only response. It’s more than enough for Robert.

“Come on, Evans,” Robert tries to sound soothing and authoritative all at once, “open this door.”

It’s either a testament to Robert’s powers of persuasion, or a signal that Chris really is too much of a mess to protest when Robert hears the lock slide open. He’s gentle when he pushes his way into the stall. He maneuvers into the small space so that he can close the door behind him, locking it once again, before taking in Chris’ appearance. He’s sweating bullets and shaking a little bit as he breathes heavily. His eyes have gone wide, alarmed.

“Come here,” Robert mumbles as he reaches out to hug Chris to his chest. He digs the fingers of one hand into the back of Chris’ neck as he wraps his other arm around Chris’ back.

Once Robert has his arms full of Chris he realizes the kid’s shaking harder than he initially thought.

“Hey, Chris,” he whispers against Chris’ blond hair, “It’s okay now. It’s over.”

He wants to tell him how charming and charismatic and just generally adorable Chris came across on the red carpet, but he knows it won’t make a difference: Chris won’t believe him. Instead, Robert scratches lightly at the back of Chris’ neck. He lets out a relieved puff of air as he feels Chris’ trembling ease up a little.

Robert gets an idea.

“Hey, you trust me?” he asks.

Chris nods a little against Robert’s shoulder.

Robert pushes him back so he can look at Chris face.

“I was going to wait a while longer, build up to this, but I think it’ll help right now, so I’m throwing caution to the wind,” he rambles, causing Chris to look puzzled.

“Just, roll with it,” Robert tells him. It’s meant to be reassuring. Then he adds as an afterthought, “And please don’t punch me in the face.”

“What?” Chris has a little crinkle on his forehead now.

Without further ado, Robert leans in and presses his lips to Chris’. He’s uncharacteristically tentative about it, but, like he said, he’s doing this ahead of schedule and he’s not entirely sure he’s won Chris over yet. There’s still a chance Chris will beat the shit out of him, or panic even more than he already is… which would definitely be counterproductive.

After a moment, Chris scrambles to push Robert back.

“What about Susan?” he blurts, wide-eyed.

Robert’s face feels hot and he smirks lopsidedly, “She knows.”

“What?!” Chris looks worse than when Robert first entered the stall.

Robert throws his hands up, trying to convey that he means no harm, like Chris is a skittish animal.

“Whoa, buddy,” he begins, “I have a free pass… Susan and I have an understanding. She’s quite literally the best wife in the universe. That’s why I’ve been hitting on you for months…”

Chris groans, “I thought I was hallucinating or something…”

Robert cocks his head. “Nope, not so much.”

They’re still and silent then, seconds ticking by, until Chris starts shaking again, this time with hysterical laughter.

“Oh God,” Robert mumbles, “I broke him.”

“No!” Chris barks, still laughing like an entirely unstable person.

“Umm… from this angle it really looks like I have…” Robert looks warily at him.

It takes some time, what feels like forever, before Chris regains his composure again. He’s smiling widely and looking bizarrely relaxed. Robert, on the other hand, is tensely awaiting some kind of explanation.

“So, uh,” Robert says, “You didn’t punch me. Thanks for that.”

Chris ducks his head, like he might laugh again, and then looks up at Robert through his eyelashes. His stupidly pretty eyelashes.

“You really have your wife’s permission for this?”

Robert tries not to sound too amused at Chris’ disbelief, “Yes!”

“Alright then,” Chris replies as he leans toward Robert. Robert manages to meet him half way. Their second kiss is more participatory for both parties. Robert reaches his hand up to cup the back of Chris’ neck at the same time Chris curls his fingers into the lapel of Robert’s suit. Their teeth click and the kiss is generally wet and unpracticed, but it sends shivers down Robert’s spine as his blood rushes south.

“Did you have a plan for what was going to happen next?” Chris asks against Robert’s mouth as they catch their breath.

“Not really,” Robert admits with a grin.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for either of us to mess up these suits too badly,” Chris tells him, “Not with the paparazzi waiting outside.”

Robert nods, “We should find the others then.”

“Okay,” Chris agrees before pushing Robert back against the stall wall and kissing him much more aggressively than before.

Robert unsuccessfully attempts to stifle an embarrassing whimper.

Chris lets up his assault on Robert’s mouth and bites and kisses his way across Robert’s jaw, to his ear, before groaning, “Can I come home with you?”

“God, yes,” Robert moans, worrying his knees might give out if Chris keeps this up.

“Wait,” he gasps out, coming back to his senses, just as Chris nips at his earlobe, “Can’t tonight. Baby’s sleeping.”

One day Robert will be sure to apologize to Exton for forgetting about him for a split second when he was two months old because Robert was in a bathroom stall making out with Captain America. Exton will probably not want to hear any of it, of course, especially the part about the making out... maybe Robert will just swallow his guilt and keep that bit of information to himself… for once.

“I can be very quiet,” Chris’ voice is like a hiss against Robert’s neck.

Robert moans unabashed as he replies, “I’m sure you can be, but if you come home with Susan and me, we’re going to make sure you aren’t… plus, Exton’s been fussy the past few nights. Susan’s gonna want to try for some actual sleep tonight.”

Then Chris is frowning. Which means he’s definitely not doing wonderful things to Robert’s neck with his mouth anymore.

“Maybe we should just ruin these suits then…” Robert offers, hoping to get things started again.

“No,” Chris answers, and Robert curses him in his head. Then Chris asks, mouth tilting from a frown into a smirk, “What about on set tomorrow?”

Robert beams. He had forgotten they were adding another post-credit scene.

“Thank God for shawarma!” He exclaims.

Chris laughs, “Just be sure to bring me breakfast and I promise to thoroughly mess up whatever you’re wearing before we have to go to make up and wardrobe.”

“You do know we’re going to be eating in the shot, right?” Robert asks, amused.

“High metabolism,” Chris blushes, ducking his head again.

Robert leans forward and growls, “Stop doing that bashful eyelash thing or I’ll push you to your knees right now.”

He kisses Chris one last time before opening the stall door. They straighten their clothes out, assuring one another that they look presentable, before Robert ushers Chris out of the bathroom. They’re both smiling, Chris looks at ease for the first time that evening, and even though Robert’s cock is half-hard and untouched, and Chris looks a lot less debauched than Robert would like him to, Robert decides to count the evening as a win.

“Maybe you could come over tomorrow after the shoot,” He says, catching Susan’s eye as he wraps an arm around Chris’ shoulders just before they rejoin the group of cast mates and significant others waiting for them, “Have some dinner… we both owe Susan a thank you for this.”

Robert notices Chris blushing, in spite of everything that's happened tonight. Chris still nods though, staring ahead at Susan, and Robert can’t help but laugh triumphantly before slapping him on the back.

The night is a definite win.