Waking is slow, a graduated falling into consciousness. It’s a drifting into the awareness of sticky warmth and enfolding fine cotton, of the gleam of sunlight beyond his eyelids and nearby hiss of a kettle. Cool air curls over his bare shoulder, breeze and the distant hum of traffic through the open window, and the thought of weather flickers concern in the haze of comfort; will it rain for the match later-
Clarity like ice water, like the mattress dropping away beneath him and Roger fists a handful of expensive sheets, hangs on until the dizziness subsides to the dull ache of disappointment. It can rain today all it likes, because the match was yesterday. Been and gone, and all his hopeful optimism left trodden into the worn grass as he watched Novak kiss the trophy that once upon a time was his, his, over and again. Nothing as lonely as being the runner-up at a Slam, standing at the centre of thousands and all eyes elsewhere, a spectator to his own dream being handed to someone else.
No, not even handed; lost, an illustration of all the ways he’d failed, again. Three times at Wimbledon now, three times he’s been battered and left exhausted, wondering just for those few minutes if any success was worth it, balanced by this.
Three sticks in his mind though, something about the number and oh. He’s startled out of bitterness for a second, because he’s now lost Wimbledon as many times as Andy, as many Andy ever made the final.
It’s the thought of Andy that finally drives him completely from the haze of sleep. Vaguely aware before on some level that this isn’t the bed he’s slept in for the last two weeks, but recognising it, acknowledging Andy, has memory spilling over in a flood. Andy curved over him with his eyes wide and dark with want; Andy murmuring something soft against his hair as he was on the edge of sleep; Andy who hadn’t kicked him out, who’d asked and understood and whose bed he’s in right now. There’s warmth to the thought, to the familiar scent of Andy on the pillow, and it’s a glow of comfort to set beside the stab of disappointment.
Last time, in the lingering aftermath of that other terrible final, he’d stayed awake to watch Andy sleep with all his restless energy eased away into stillness and wondered what he’d trade away to have it again, over and again. If he’d ever be given the choice, and this time may not have been a choice but as a result, it’s far from the worst thing that’s ever happened to him. Six years far too long to wait and he can’t repress a smile, anticipating the sight as he opens his eyes.
What he gets instead is headache, slamming down like a cartoon anvil with pain firing at his temples until his vision blurs. That promise of sunlight behind closed eyes was nothing to full brightness and he curls into the pillow with a pathetic sound, searing ache of hangover grinding behind his eyes until he forgets how to breathe, how to do anything other than hurt.
Ow, ow, fuck ow and he groans, regretting each and every shot of whiskey last night, wishing bitterly that the owner of their rented house hadn’t left them such an impressively tempting collection.
Suspects the owner will wish the same when he gets back and sees how many bottles were sacrificed to Roger’s self-pity. He’s not looking forward to that particular invoice.
Faintly, he hears a curse and a rustle that could be the curtains, although he’s not confident enough in any of his senses right now to lift his face from the pillow. After another moment in which he wonders fuzzily how much of his not-inconsiderable fortune it would take to buy himself a new head, the mattress dips beside him.
‘Roger. Hey.’ There’s a touch to his shoulder, light fingertips trailing down the curve to brush back his hair, gentle in all the ways Andy usually hides behind quick wit and bright smiles. ‘Come on. There’s coffee and I’m pretty sure even you aren’t graceful enough to drink it upside-down. ‘
‘I could try,’ Roger mumbles into his mouthful of cotton, even that tiny movement setting off glittering sparks of pain in the dark behind his eyelids. There’s no way Andy could hear him but the American huffs a laugh anyway, probably at how pathetic Roger looks right now although he knows as soon as he’s formed the thought that Andy’s not that cruel. The fingertips have traced a soft line along his cheek, up to his hairline and they’re rubbing circles, just light enough to ease the throb of pain in his temples.
An odd thrill of pleasure shivers through him, at the slight lifting of his headache, or at Andy’s hands on him so sure and kind, Roger doesn’t know. Aches all over still, but there’s a hum beneath it, liquid-heat coiling in all the places Andy touched last night.
They didn’t have this last time, Andy creeping from their shared bed in the grey dawn light with nothing but a hasty kiss, bruising-hard with the promise behind it that never materialised. Still too raw, still the hesitation of guilt between them every time they touched after and Roger didn’t know he’d been waiting until Andy retired and it was too late, thought the promise broken beyond repair. Grasped at the pieces of it when he started to walk here last night, stubborn when Mirka swept after him in the tournament car she’d had waiting for this exact scenario and they’d argued the entire five minutes it took to pull up outside Andy’s hotel, the driver ignoring them with the air of someone about to get a truly excellent bribe.
Roger can’t remember what they said, details hazed away by the burn of alcohol, but he can picture her pale, furious face as she stared at him in the yellowed-glare of passing streetlights, her recoil from something he’d hissed at her. He’d reached out, he thinks, clumsy and shaking across the space between them, and she’d pushed him away hard enough that the world spun, dizzying loss of equilibrium that followed him all the way to Andy’s door.
That’s going to take some fixing, he knows, but sets it aside for later because he’s damned already, may as well turn his face up into the curve of Andy’s palm with a soft sound of gratitude.
‘There he is.’ Andy’s all amusement, lingering in the corners of his voice and when Roger cracks his eyes open it’s in his smile too, looking down at Roger with the open affection he holds back when outside, on view. It’s been a long time since they were alone long enough for it to surface. Too long, almost startling to see it now, and Roger smiles back even with the headache still pressing in at his temples.
‘Morning, sunshine,’ Andy says, as matter-of-fact as if this is something they do every day. ‘Sleep well?’
‘I think someone filled my head with rocks,’ Roger grouches, distracted by the delicious smell of coffee somewhere close and by the visceral need for it, to set against the pounding in his head. ‘Do you know anything about that?’
‘No, I think you managed to piss off the alcohol fairies all by yourself.’ Andy’s hand slips from his face and Roger has a brief instant to regret the loss before he’s being urged upright with a gentleness that belies the laughter in Andy’s voice as Roger groans. ‘Come on, up, up. It’ll be worth your while, I promise.’
Not sure if it’s a promise of coffee or more sex, Roger lets himself be guided into sitting up because honestly it’s not as if he’s against either proposal. The move to vertical is severely opposed by the intensification of his headache and several interesting aches elsewhere but Andy slides an arm around him with murmured sympathy for his pained groan, shuffling them until Roger’s leaning against the solid warmth of his chest. They’re both still naked, Roger realises, and the flare of heat at the thought lasts until Andy pushes a steaming mug into his hands.
‘Drink,’ he says, warm behind the brush of his lips along Roger’s cheek, the steady rise and fall of his breathing something Roger feels, they’re so close. The liquid-heat coiling low, stirring him beneath the sheets, sparks a little brighter, hitches his own breath. ‘You need to be at least halfway back to human before we talk about this.’
'Then we may need more caffeine,' Roger jokes as he curls his fingers around the mug, hardly noticing the heat which is a bare flicker of warmth set against the electric brush of Andy's skin, the delicious freedom of being allowed to touch. He sips obediently anyway, rewarded by Andy's murmur of approval and the hand on his waist sliding down the curve of his hip, following the dip beneath the tangle of sheets in his lap.
When blunt fingertips brush his cock though, Roger half-inhales his mouthful of coffee. 'Sshhh,' Andy whispers as he gasps and coughs, pressing back into Andy's solid weight. With one hand the American steadies the tipping mug; the other traces teasing circles over sensitive skin, Roger trying not to push up into it too desperately. Already most of the way to hard and he tilts his aching head back to rest on Andy's shoulder, turning to press his lips to it, to mouth wet kisses over warm skin. Andy tastes like salt and sex, like fresh cold water in the desert and Roger kisses everything he can reach, feeling the beat of Andy's pulse flutter against his lips.
When he adds the scrape of teeth, Andy's hand trembles against him. 'I was going to ask if you wanted me to stop,' he says breathlessly, hitch to it when Roger bites a little harder, leaving the red imprint of teeth as his answering protest, 'but I guess that's a no.'
'You're the one who wanted to talk and then-' Roger can't bring himself to say put your hand on my dick, cheeks flushed warm at just the shape of the words on his tongue, even with Andy's hand actually on his dick, even wrapped around each other in the half-dark, bars of sunlight barely filtering past the curtains now. They've never done this entirely sober, never without the first flush of heartbreak and it's intimate in a way he'd never allowed himself to imagine.
He’s not sure he could have ever imagined it would be this easy. After last time, that last kiss that left his lips bruised-red for the rest of the morning, he’d vaguely thought of awkward hands and rushed moments, coming together like a collision that broke pieces of themselves away with every touch. He’d thought if they were to be anything, stolen anguish as he came apart beneath Andy’s hands was the most he could hope for.
Instead they fit, curled together in the ruin of the bed with all their broken edges lined up and Andy jerking him off, lazy and slow beneath the sheets. His laugh vibrates between them when the mug wobbles dangerously in Roger’s grip, forgetting everything but Andy pressing a thumb across his slit and the sound that escapes him is entirely new, pleading high whine in his throat as he curves up into Andy’s touch. Coffee splashes wet and hot across his wrist, across the no-longer pristine sheets, and without slowing his rhythm Andy rescues the mug to set it aside before it falls.
‘We can talk,’ Andy murmurs, tilting his head to press the words warm and secretive against Roger’s cheek, wet slide of his mouth almost ticklish. ‘If that’s what you want. I think this is the better fix though.’
Turning his head, eyes half-shut and the throb of his headache already fading as pleasure clenches hot and glittering at the base of his spine, Roger finds Andy’s mouth with his. Kiss far from perfect, angled all wrong but happiness flickers in Roger’s chest at the knowledge that this is Andy, finally, smiling against his lips at the soft, choked sound Roger gasps out when he curls his fingers just so. Six years of hope and countless more of wistful glances before that and here, now, it’s just them and the bed and Andy smiling, heartbreak all forgotten.
Except, something catches his attention and sticks there like a burr, distracting. Something Andy said, the better fix, and with his thoughts scattered by bliss Roger can’t think why it sounds familiar for a moment. Skating the fine edge of coming by the time he does but grasping the memory douses the burn of arousal in ice, shock ripping through his contented haze because he said- Andy’s face going tight and miserable, just a fleeting mental image but it’s enough.
He flinches upright with a hiss of breath, away from the warmth and Andy’s hands, distance between them suddenly an ache of cold everywhere they’d touched and he’s across the sheets in a graceless tumble before Andy’s even finished a startled curse.
‘Roger, what the fuck -’
‘Last night,’ Roger interrupts, thoughts tripping over each other in panic, misery in multiple languages and he has to concentrate to narrow himself to English. Bracing himself to hold still and away because he’s still hard and every nerve is screaming at the loss of contact. Andy’s hesitating across the gulf of sheets between them, clearly uncertain what he’d done wrong but Roger can’t make himself turn to look. Guilt weighs him down as he fumbles out the words, coming out raspy with the thwarted pleasure still coiled hot and frustrated in the pit of his stomach, like a reminder of everything he’s taken like he had any right, like one night six years ago entitled him to Andy’s hands and consolation.
He’d never meant to just- demand. Didn’t even consider it like that, except for all the ways his drunken lack of a brain-mouth filter would suggest otherwise. And worse-
‘Last night,’ he says, hollow, ‘when I said- When I asked you to fix this because you know what’s like, to lose. If this is what it’s like, how it feels-‘
Can’t finish, can’t force himself to repeat the terrible words but it hangs between them in the half-darkness anyway. This is how it feels, right? Not being good enough?
It was something he’d said to Mirka, Roger realises with sudden clarity of memory resurfacing, as they snarled at each other in the car. You don’t know what it’s like, not being good enough. It’s what he’d hissed at her that made her flinch away, staring at him with wide, dark eyes that looked lost, even as her tone was soaked in bitterness.
Of course I do, Roger. Why do you think we’re here, in this car?
And he’d been so happy, to wake up here with Andy as if it was allowed, as if he wasn’t here just because he’d decided to take out his own monumental self-pity on everyone else. With a pained sound caught in his throat, Roger curls over his drawn-up knees, eyes screwed shut against the throb of his headache like a rhythm marking out his failure, stupid, selfish, stupid. He’s still hard, sparks of lightning-bright bliss like a taunt every time he brushes past his own skin and he digs his nails into his thighs, breathing deep and willing it away so he can leave.
Preferably without having to see the heartbreak he’ll have put on Andy’s face, again.
The touch is so light, he barely feels it for a moment. Fingertips trailing up the curve of his back, slow and gentle over the ridges of his spine, over the nape of his neck in shivery, ticklish circles, up into his hair. Andy, touching him like reverence, nothing like anger in the way he strokes Roger’s curls back, so careful not to pull as if he can intuit the headache throbbing behind his eyes. Involuntarily Roger finds it easing the lump of misery in his throat, soothing the torrent of guilt down to still waters and he dares turn his head, just enough to crack one eye to see if Andy’s glaring or unhappy, to see just how badly Roger might have ruined this.
Andy’s smiling. It’s faint but there in the upward curve of his mouth, eyes soft and fond. Not even frowning and Roger’s breath catches, brief memory of Mirka’s glare flashing past, and gone.
‘Are you done beating yourself up?’ Andy asks and the smile is in his voice too, eyebrow quirking up at the hitch of Roger’s breath. ‘It’s words you didn’t mean, Roger, just the shitty alcohol talking. If everyone I’d said terrible things to when drunk held it against me I’d have no friends at all. Including you, actually.’
Enough, just, that the tight unhappiness holding him tense can ease, Roger feeling the hunch of his shoulders relax involuntarily - because it’s fine, this fragile balance they’ve worked so hard on isn’t shattered after all. He hasn’t lost this as well as everything else.
Still, he’s tried so hard to prove that he doesn’t think any less of Andy for losing that final, losing to him so much, and in one drunken outburst he could have ruined six years of effort, every tentative overture made in locker rooms and smiles traded across practice courts, Andy’s laughter brighter than the Australian sunshine whenever he managed to distract Roger into losing points. No loss is no excuse for tossing that aside – for being so terribly selfish.
Turning his head enough to meet Andy’s eyes he says, quiet regret tangled around the words, ‘I’m sorry.’
Startles himself with the raw honesty beneath, unintended crack in the middle because it’s not just this, this one time he took advantage; he means everything. I’m sorry I hurt you, he means, remembering Andy’s wrenching sobs across the locker room in ‘09, I’m sorry this took so long, I’m sorry I had to win and you had to lose. A succession of apologies missed, like endless footnotes to their unlikely friendship.
It’s not until he sees tension he hadn’t even noticed ease out of Andy’s face that he realises it’s the first time he’s voiced the word itself, ever. Skimming over all their conversations since, he comes up damningly empty.
Not after the final, not when they came together with desperation and aching want after, not any time they’d sidestepped awkwardly around it since. Not something any of them say in tennis, not really; winning is the point, apologies just empty words when you have every intention of doing it again and Roger decided a long time ago to never regret the necessities of simply doing his day job. They all know what they signed up to when they step out on court.
But that final wasn’t just another match, Andy’s voice hollowed out almost viciously in his interview after, numb and subdued like Roger had never seen as he congratulated Roger for taking away everything he’d ever wanted. After, later, he’d been frenetic and alight with the rage burning just beneath his skin, slamming Roger back against the door of his rented house in full view of the dark street and plundering his mouth without hesitation, pulling apart the careful layers of Roger’s tux with rough, certain hands.
Roger remembers the cool wash of relief over the low-grade panic he’d ridden throughout the Champions’ Ball, knowing Andy’s team, knowing Brooklyn, would look after him but knowing also that it would never be enough, that they wouldn’t understand. Andy there, solid against him and demanding back some of the pieces of himself he’d ceded away in losing not the last match they played but the last that mattered, really; it was everything he’d wanted as a confirmation that they’d survive past their endgame, that Roger hadn’t destroyed the final spark of hope he felt every time he saw Andy smile.
It’s an uncomfortable realisation that he was the only one who came out of that night with everything he wanted but it was Andy who brought it up, who thanked him later for the sympathy he’d shown in the locker room.
And Roger never even said I’m sorry.
Something like desolation must show on his face because it’s mirrored in a frown flitting over Andy’s, the American shifting the few inches across the sheets that by now are a twisted roadmap of all the things they’ve done, every move written in the hopeless tangle. The cleaner is going to take one look and know but Roger forgets to care when Andy settles beside him, shoulder to shoulder, threading his fingers back into Roger’s hair warm and steady. He’s lost some of the lean curves that come from dedicated workouts but he was always broader, solid in all the places where Roger is sharp angles and there’s the same sense of being enfolded as when they hugged across countless nets, when they leaned into each other just a little more than necessary for photos. There now with Andy’s arm almost around him, pressed together alone in the silence of a hotel room instead of at the whirling centre of cheering thousands.
When Andy speaks it’s half-hushed, as if he’s remembering the crowds too and the way anything they said to each other at the net had to be turned inward and muttered close, away from cameras and prying eyes. His eyes are warm, catching a gleam of sunlight in the half-dark.
‘You know,’ he says as if sharing a basic fact, his crooked smile so familiar and yet brand new shared this close without any need for reserve, to worry about watchful cameras, ‘you never have to apologise for being you. Because once you start, you’d be apologising a lot. Like you’d have to hang up the racquet and just travel around the world apologising for being more awesome than pretty much everyone in the history of tennis and-‘
He shakes his head, cutting off Roger’s half-choked protest. ‘-And while that would be fun for everyone right up until you got punched for being a smug bastard, I didn’t get into this to make you feel guilty because that’s a bullshit reason for something this fucking complicated. I can’t say for sure I’d be here if I’d beaten you nine times out of ten, or if-‘
(His breath catches, and in the deep place where Roger collects his regrets like battered pennies something breaks, because that’s his, he owns the rights to that hitch of sadness.)
‘-if I’d won Wimbledon, Andy continues and his voices steadies over the crack, held together by affection. ‘But I like to think I would. You have to know that I like you, Roger? You know, the dork who laughs at my stupid jokes and eats chocolate ice cream at three a.m.’
Roger forgets to be miserable long enough to give him a look of deep suspicion. ‘Have you been tricking Stan into telling you things about me again? Because that was one time at DC and it’s a good hangover cure and anyway Stan makes this stuff up, he likes to remind everyone I can be ridiculous-‘
Andy cuts him off a huffed sigh that’s mostly laugh. ‘Missing the point, Roger. Your chocolate ice-cream addiction - which by the way, I’ve seen you eat enough to know you’re one bowl short of a twelve-step programme - it’s you. And I like those bits of you. Not how well you hit a tennis ball or how many butt-ugly trophies you’ve held or even the fucking crazy number of records you’ve broken. I like you’ he says, and adds, with the teasing affection that so often leaves Roger blushing even as he’s warmed by the uncomplicated frankness of it, ‘you idiot. ’
There’s a bare handful of people – that he isn’t directly related to anyway, his mother’s bragging down the Basel Tennis Club none withstanding - in the world who could claim that and have Roger believe them, whole-heartedly; he knows Roger Federer, tennis legend, gets exponentially more adoration than the Roger who occasionally forgets to take any tennis balls to his practices, or who got caught by Mirka last week playing with finger-paints the kids left abandoned in the kitchen. It’s part of the complicated tangle he navigates on a daily basis, the two halves of himself, but Andy, between jokes and heartbreak and the agonising tears he’d tried to hide after that last final, always seemed to know the difference. Been there from the earliest successes, lived through the matches and finals that mattered, laughed with him on court and off, whispered innuendos to make him laugh during stiffly-posed photoshoots.
It was always them, even when Andy slipped away down the rankings and the media found a new tune, new rivalries; for Roger, it was always Andy.
Still, he has to swallow against the sudden tightness in his throat before he can get the words out, the moment enormous but so fragile, Andy offering up everything he is and trusting Roger not to let it fall. One meaningless platitude would end it, a half-faked stumble over his English, would keep this nothing more than a drunken mistake and they’d go back to their separate lives intact, with this nothing more than a boxed-away what if.
He’s tired, Roger thinks, of being the person who forgets to say sorry for six years. He’s tired of pretending he doesn’t want this and of hedging the answer when people say wow, how does it feel to get everything you’ve wanted?
He doesn’t, he never has. Not everything.
So before he can let his mental filter warn him away, he lets himself say - deliberate in every word, voice raw over the sincerity - ‘Andy, I would like you even if I lost every match we played.’
Sees it register in Andy’s expression, in the slow bloom of a smile all over his face reflecting Roger’s tentative hope at letting himself give words to this thing between them, shape to something he’s never let himself dream too closely. This the endgame of years of stolen glances and forcing himself to mute the affection in his tone every time he was asked about Andy because they couldn’t play each other like they did if they let this build between them, years of wanting culminating in this, this, this.
The hand in his hair tugs gently, urging, and Roger lets himself be drawn over into a kiss, feeling the curve of Andy’s smile and the hot, wet slide of tongue as the American licks into his mouth, chasing his taste, opening him up, until Roger has to break away to gasp in air. Undeterred Andy kisses along his jaw, licking over the morning stubble with a huff of laughter and Roger knows he’s remembering all the teasing for his determination to appear clean-shaven and put-together on court, Andy catching him in front of the locker room mirrors more than once and running fingertips down his cheek, pretending to assess his presentability even when Andy himself was five days into a beard and counting.
In hindsight, it’s amazing it took them this long to work out this frisson between them was more than friendship, that it took copious alcohol and heartbreak to push them into bed at all.
‘If you don’t mind,’ Andy says against his skin, trailing open-mouthed kisses down his throat, ‘I’d like to pick up where we left off now. I know you’re king of impossible things but we’re not getting any younger. The sooner I get you to come, the more times I can repeat it before we have to leave yeah?’
Matter-of-fact, frankly unembarrassed in all the ways Roger can never manage and his cheeks flush hot as he says, stumbling, ‘Yes, yes okay please’ and Andy’s pushing him back, down against the pillows and kneeling between Roger’s spread thighs, fingers curled lightly against the base of his cock and smile quirked, wicked as he looks up through his lashes.
‘Would you like me to suck you off, Roger?’
Fuck fuck, curse caught desperate somewhere between Roger’s thoughts and sound because he knows he’s blushing and gone shy, eyes skittering away from meeting Andy’s intent gaze but all the thwarted bliss from before is still there and flooding out in a rush at the offer, white-hot and making him shake at just the thought. Another thing they’ve never done sober, with him riding the buzz of several flutes of champagne and Andy barely able to stand, that as much as anything driving him to his knees in front of Roger the instant they’d made the guest room last time.
You don’t have to, Roger remembers himself gasping out, voice already wrecked and Andy had pushed him up against the wall, wordless, and proven he knew that, that he wanted it, Roger falling apart above him and biting into his own palm to muffle the pleading, frantic sounds he couldn’t hold back.
‘Come on,’ Andy says and he’s grinning as he leans forward to kiss the blush spreading across Roger’s cheek, the brush of his mouth brand-hot. He’s braced on one hand, the other pinning Roger’s hip to the mattress to stop him rocking up, heat and friction of him just there and tantalisingly out of reach. ‘Fair trade, you say it and I’ll do it. Suck me off, Andy. Or you can say it in German if you like, I’ve been meaning to branch out my languages.’
‘Where are you going to need that in German?’
Already out before Roger registers the edge of asperity, the flash of indignation at the thought of Andy doing this with anyone else. Too late to take back, possessive reaction unjustified – though he’s starting to think, maybe not entirely - in this situation.
But Andy’s laughing, drawing back to look at him with affection softening the curve of his smile. ‘Well I’m sleeping with this really great Swiss tennis player, you might have heard of him, and he speaks all these languages because he’s a smartass show off-‘
‘-and it’d be great to be able to ask him for a blowjob whenever I want, you know?’
Double-meaning written clearly across the open book that Andy’s always been to anyone watching, flicker of uncertainty behind the amusement. Roger knows he’ll regret it, that it’s vastly more complicated between them than this stolen moment but Andy’s so close, the gleam of his brown eyes so familiar and well-loved, he can’t bring himself to care. Reckless – it’s been the tone for everything since he lost after all, drink and his stumbling exodus from the house to Andy’s bed, earth salted and burned behind him in order to offer himself up to the American so why stop now - he says;
‘You can ask whenever you want.’
Instant of tension, there-and-gone so fast he’s not sure he didn’t imagine it. Then Andy’s kissing him, light but his tongue invades, wet and demanding into Roger’s mouth and Roger hears himself make a fractured sound of want, voice breaking over the sharp edges of his desire for this, for it not to end. The hand on his hip shifts, scrape of callused fingertips over his side, the curves of his ribs, pressing nails sharp over one nipple and flattening to hold him down when Roger flinches up into the knife-sharp pain, begging with every inch of himself because it’s all he can do to pant wordlessly into Andy’s mouth.
‘Come on Roger,’ Andy murmurs, arced over him just out of reach, only points of contact their lips and warm press of Andy’s hand, fingertips drumming urgently against Roger’s chest. His mouth is quirked into a half-smile hidden between them, words pressed to Roger’s mouth like a temptation, curled soft around wickedness. ‘Say it for me or I’ll take you up on that offer and ask on camera next time I interview you.’
‘You-wouldn’t,’ Roger rasps, gasping for air around it. Realises his error when the laugh huffs warm over his mouth, as good as accepting the dare and he grimaces. ‘Andy, please-‘
‘Say it. Say it and I won’t.’
It’s a false threat, Roger knows as much, years of interviews proving how careful Andy is over this thing between them but the need to be touched is desperate now, his hips rocking in helpless jerks that do nothing to bring him the friction he needs. Andy draws back an inch, just far enough to look at him with mischief crinkling at the corners of his eyes just as it did every time he made a joke, on court or off, inviting everyone to smile along with him.
It looks so much better on him than heartbreak and Roger can’t resist the wave of warm affection – skips over terming it adoration, afraid of the weight if it - digs his heels into the mattress to brace himself still and says, rasped out, ‘Andy, please suck me off.’
The shudder it elicits is unexpected, Andy’s eyes fluttering shut as he inhales sharply. ‘Fuck, Roger,’ he says, voice cracking, ‘that- you-’
Leans forward for a kiss, clumsy bite to Roger’s lip that flares the sweet burn of arousal up another notch, as much as the slow realisation that’s barely sunk in, yet; this is fast moving beyond drunken impulses and stolen touches, spinning from the grasp Roger thought he had on the situation. Always fond of each other but it never felt possible before now, this instant in which Andy seems to want this with every honest part of himself- wants more than this, more than occasional heartbreak driving them together. Wants Roger, heart and soul, beyond drunken collisions and the tease of flirting in front of cameras, never serious enough that it couldn’t be laughed off.
Too much, to redesign his entire mental map of their relationship all at once. He could use a moment to process, to comprehend all the monumental consequences spinning out from it.
All the reasons they can’t.
But Andy’s already shifting down, rough scrape of teeth over the softness at Roger’s waistline that no amount of training could shift past thirty and it jerks a gasp from him, the burn of it and knowing that’ll leave a mark. Would protest but it’s not as if it’ll still be there the next time he has to change his shirt on court, and he can just barely acknowledge to himself that he likes it. There’s a shiver of something delicious in Andy being careless over hiding the places he’s touched, laid claim to as if Roger’s something to be won.
Even though he isn’t, already ceded away that right, and neither of them are drunk or consumed by the desolation of loss now; there’s no excuse in making a conscious choice.
How much he wants this - has wanted it for years, buried out of sight from the press and everyone else - fights the guilt flickering beneath the electric-sharp shock of bliss when Andy licks over his own teeth marks, slick heat of tongue contrasted by the cool air that follows and Roger loses his grasp on the reasons they should be talking about it first. Too late now, damp breath blowing tantalisingly over his dick and every thought blanks out in the struggle not to swear, teeth gritted to hold back the final loss of control.
The flash of Andy’s grin says he heard the choked off word anyway, shifting to get comfortable between Roger’s thighs. Hands curving firm over Roger’s hips is his only warning and then he’s sunk in impossible heat all at once, Andy’s mouth, fuck fuck.
Only realises that last was gasped out loud when brown eyes flutter in amusement, Andy watching him through his lashes even as his mouth works and Roger has to let his head fall back, too much to be buried in the tight, wet warmth and hold Andy’s gaze too.
Instead he lets his eyes close, focusing on the exquisite sensation of Andy working him efficiently to the brink, as decisive in this as in every move he’d made across the court once, heart and soul and the kitchen sink thrown over the net with every serve. The soft, wet sounds mix with Roger’s own harsh gasps, sweat a ticklish trickle over every inch of skin and he needs to come, too much build-up on over sensitized nerves so he’s almost alight with it, burning like sunlight trapped beneath his skin. The slick play of tongue and the hum of something teasing makes him shake, twisting up against the restraining hands with a raw sound that isn’t even words, trembling on the brink, god-
Which is, of course, when a phone goes off.
The sharp buzz of ringtone is a surprise enough to make Roger flinch; from how fast Andy pulls back with a cough, eyes wide, there’s a flicker of realisation that he came dangerously close to wearing a set of teeth marks for that. He doesn’t care though because he didn’t, and he’s too far gone, so hard that the cool air over wet skin almost stings.
‘Andy,’ he rasps over the insistent phone, dragging the American’s gaze away from the scatter of their clothes from last night - trying to locate it, why. Wants to say leave it but it’s not his phone, not his place to ask when they’re already playing hooky from life for this, so what comes out is, breathless, ‘Can it wait?’
Bare second of hesitation, Andy’s lip caught between his teeth. But his eyes sweep over Roger from his bitten-red mouth all the way down, taking in the wet-shine he’s left over Roger’s flushed skin and the hunger darkening his expression gives the answer even before he moves, leaning back down with a hum of assent. Urgency to his movements that’s all new though, rough circles of his thumb over the pre-come and split slicking the head of Roger’s dick, every one jolting through Roger like a shock, like Andy’s winding him up tight to breaking point until he’s gasping, air gone thick in his lungs and lights bright with his eyes screwed shut.
If he was playing tennis tomorrow or at all for the next few weeks, he’d be worried but overstrained muscles have time to heal for once, aches to fade once this is done. So he gives himself up to it, sucking in a breath and holding it against the jagged flare of heat as Andy’s mouth closes on him again, so tight, god. Grip on Roger’s thighs flexing in time to his movements and hazily Roger wonders if there’ll be bruises tomorrow, Andy’s touch left painted on his skin even half the world apart. The surge of arousal at the thought rocks him against the mattress, gasping because if he was playing tennis everyone would see, even if they didn’t know whose hands, that it was Andy’s hands, that marked him.
Impossibly distant, everything hazy beneath the slide of Andy’s mouth pushing him to the edge, he hears the phone again. Whoever it is must really want to talk to Andy but Roger couldn’t care less; he has the prior claim right now and he’s going to enjoy every second while it lasts, which won’t be long. Trembling on the brink, he tries to hold on, desperate, because no matter what he offered Andy this might be the only time they can have this, life never as simple as just asking even if Roger’s been accused more than once of making it look that easy.
Although- this was it, Andy the last what-if beyond the one-time drunken fumbling and he has it, even if only for a moment. He’ll keep the body-memory of Andy’s palm over sweat-slicked skin, the shape of it broad and sure against the indent of his hip. Of his heels digging into ruined, thousand-thread count sheets, pushing him into a taut arc of want and desperation, grounded by Andy’s hands. Never be able to un-hear the broken sounds spilling between his gritted teeth, the ones he thinks Andy likes because they elicit that thing with his tongue that Roger remembers from last time and – like last time – it shatters his fragile grip on the swell of bliss, cry of relief jerked between his teeth as he feels himself tip over the edge.
Sparks explode into blinding white behind his eyelids and he’s gone, fall weightless, senseless to anything but the crashing release of coming, so hard he can’t breathe, can’t hear, nothing left but the pressure of Andy’s mouth, Andy’s hands, Andy.
Reorienting himself is slow, punctuated by jolts of aftershock until he finds enough shreds of voice to moan a protest and Andy eases off, sitting back. He’s grinning but it’s tempered by something soft, by the soothing circles his fingertips rub over Roger’s thighs until he can steady the rasp of his breathing down to evenness, unwinding beneath the comforting press of touch. Andy’s mouth is red, lips puffy and there’s a stab of pleasure like sandpaper on sensitized nerves, at the visible sign of this thing they’ve shared, written over both of them in skin and bruises.
There’s an instant of still, perfect silence where they only watch each other, Roger pulling the scattered pieces of himself together enough to return the favour because Andy’s still hard, and his hands are trembling with restraint, from holding himself still. Roger wants to see if he can drive the same frantic sounds from the American, if Andy looks as beautiful coming from this as Roger vaguely remembers him last night.
But before he moves – before he can – the phone goes again, shrill through the silence.
Same ringtone, irritatingly perky electronica, but somehow more urgent with repetition, and with the grimace that wipes the affection from Andy’s face. ‘For fuckssake,’ he mutters and slides away, climbing off the bed and out of reach despite Roger’s stifled protest. ‘It’s not as if you weren’t drunk out of your mind last night, and you don’t have interviews. At least she could give us a few hours.’
‘What?’ Still hazy, exhaustion twining lazily around every muscle and barely an inch of him not registering aches now the rush is wearing off, Roger pushes himself up on an elbow to watch Andy – naked Andy, unfairly far away and beautiful in the gleam of sunlight through the curtains, the need to touch like an itch he can’t scratch – hunt through their scattered clothes. ‘Andy, is it that important?’
‘It’ll be Mirka.’ Andy finally produces the ringing phone from under his crumpled suit trousers, bringing it back to the bed without answering it. Roger can’t help a frown at the way he sits on the edge, careful distance left between them now – until the words register with a sinking sensation and he has to fist handfuls of sheet to hold himself still against the sudden tilt of the world sideways, reality unwelcome and unwanted, yet.
‘Why would it be her? That’s not my phone.’
‘No,’ Andy says and there’s an edge of exhaustion, smile vanished, ‘it’s mine. You’ve met your wife right? She’d have a satellite hacked if it was the only way to get hold of you.’
His voice flattens into neutrality when he answers the call, gaze catching on Roger’s and holding as if they can mediate this between them, fix the mess they’re somehow in by thought alone. ‘Hey Mirka. I hope you didn’t have to kill anyone too important to get this number.’
Listens for a moment, Roger catching only a meaningless murmur of sound and no, no; he’d thought he wouldn’t have to sort this mess until he was home, showered and layered in protective clothes to hide all the places Andy’s touched, apologies ready-made already as with any post-loss interview, time taken to compose words to cover over all the fresh wounds. So much harder when he’s still half-a-second slow on reaction time and the rasp of his voice will give away everything they’ve just done. It doesn’t seem fair to any of them.
For the second time in a morning he’s left with the dizzying sense that it’s too late, that he’s failed something utterly sure he’d thought he could never lose.
‘Of course,’ Andy says, still watching Roger as if cataloguing every flicker of reaction, wary, ‘I have him and his hangover sitting next to me. Which one would you like to talk to?’
And oh, that response Roger can hear even before Andy holds the phone away with a wince. ‘Your wife requests the pleasure of speaking to you,’ he says, offering it to Roger as if it’s a grenade with the pin pulled in his hand, the tentative downturn to his mouth blooming something tight and unhappy in Roger’s chest. ‘Rather you than me.’
‘Thanks-’ Roger hears the anxious dip to his own voice and swallows hard before taking the phone, as if it might soothe down the rasp of Andy’s name in his throat. ‘Hey Mir,’ he says, tentative. ‘Is everything okay?’
On the other end of the line Mirka’s sound of derision is immediate - and a relief, because he knows his wife, all her quirks, and if this was insurmountable then she’d have been cold, skating the surface of politeness with glacial rage beneath. If she’s mocking him, he’ll probably only have to apologise for a decade and not a century.
‘Nice try, Roger. Sorry to interrupt your Brief Encounter but I’m about to get breakfast and I need an excuse for where you are. Unless you want me to tell Seve and your mother that you’ve spent the night fucking Andy Roddick?’
That one hits with a sting, thrown out acid-bitter; Roger isn’t able to control a flinch away from Andy’s intent gaze at the thought. ‘Please don’t. I quite like him in one piece.’
‘Some parts more than others I imagine,’ Mirka says, dry even over the echoing connection and oh, she might be willing to make his excuses but she’s going to make him pay for every one. Roger can hardly bring himself to blame her, given the weight of Andy’s regard currently prickling over him on every inch of naked skin, like a touch in itself. It’s distracting enough that he misses Mirka’s next question, flash of guilt at the impatience with which she repeats it.
‘So? When will you be back? If I say you’re gone for the morning and you walk in mid-breakfast smelling like the stars and stripes, that’s not going to look so good.’
‘I wouldn’t-‘ Roger bites off the protest before this turns into an argument he has no hope of winning, no moral high ground to occupy here. ‘I don’t know. Wait-‘
Barely pauses to lower the phone before he asks Andy, ‘how long do you have before your flight?’ and only when Andy’s wariness flickers to surprise do the implications dawn on him; that he’ll stay for however long they have. That he wants to spend as much time with Andy as possible and wants it more than he’s afraid of the fallout when he finally leaves.
And Mirka probably heard every word. Shit. He may have to revise apologising for a decade up to millennia.
‘I have a couple of hours before I have to leave,’ Andy says after a pause, a disappointment and a relief; Roger has no idea what he’d have done if it’d been a couple of days. Weeks. Doesn’t really want to consider it, not when the just the thought of leaving the safe haven of Andy’s bed to deal with the endless so how does it feel to lose Wimbledon, again interviews gives rise to something panicked, tight in his throat.
God, he’s so tired of losing.
No sooner has that kneejerk-thought flashed through his mind than the guilt kicks in because he put Andy in that position more times than he cares to remember, body-memory of sweat-damp hugs and exhaustion shadowed beneath dull whispers of congratulations. If only they’d worked this out sooner, if Andy had come looking for him in 2004 when they were still naïve enough to laugh about it, if Roger had given into any of the fleeting urges to kiss him over the years when he caught Andy watching him with that marvelling gleam of speculation, maybe they’d have this down to a comfortable routine by now. Maybe Roger wouldn’t be weighing how much time he can steal from his real life to dedicate to Andy smiling at him across the expanse of tangled sheets.
Maybes and if onlys; he’s been a tennis player for too long to put any faith in them.
Lifting the phone back to his ear, he says – asks, really, pleading uptick in his tone that he sees register in the lift of Andy’s eyebrows to map his surprise - ‘Give me a couple of hours?’
Mirka’s silent for long enough that he wonders if she’s hung up, until she breathes out a sigh that crackles over the line.
‘Okay. I can tell them you’ve gone back to Wimbledon to shoot pick-ups for Nike’s autumn campaign, perhaps. Roger-‘ Whatever she was intending to say gets cut short, mutter of something wordless and irritated before she finishes, softer, with: ‘At least shower first okay? Or your mother will work it out in a second and that’s not a fight I think we should have, yet.’
‘Yes of course.’ Swallowing against nerves, Roger shoots Andy a glance and somehow the American understands the silent plea, jerks his head to indicate the bathroom door as he slides off the bed.
Watching him cross the room, the bow of his head, Roger has a flash memory of all the times they walked out on court together - the hunch of Andy’s shoulders against the weight of his bags, and possibly the unsettling awareness of Roger being just behind him. The brief moments when Roger allowed his gaze to rest on the suntanned nape of Andy’s neck before the ever-present cameras made him look away. The few times after ‘09 there was always a dissonance, knowing the salt-taste of that skin beneath his mouth but unable to reach out, divided as surely as if they’d been a hundred miles apart rather than within the simple lift of Roger’s hand.
‘Roger?’ Mirka asks, hesitant and it jerks him back to the here, now, as Andy disappears into the bathroom.
‘Yes, sorry.’ He pauses, searching for the right words but has to settle for inadequate ones, stumbling over the sincerity, the muted misery, when he says ‘I am sorry you know. For what I said last night, it- it was unfair. I shouldn’t have said it.’
Mirka’s quiet for another minute, just the sound of her breathing and the distant murmur of voices in the background, the familiar buzz of their rented house stirring from sleep. Roger wonders if she’s hiding in their ensuite to make this call away from twin-shaped interruptions, can’t bring himself to ask. It’s too close to reality, all the motions of life he’s going to fall back into somehow, breaking off pieces of himself to fit back into what he was before he’d thought, just maybe under the warmth of Andy’s smile.
Finally, when his heart’s sunk so low it’s probably scraping the floor, she concedes with a sound of hesitance, hummed through her teeth, ‘Apology accepted. Although I don’t think I- I mean, we both said things we shouldn’t. I am sorry you lost Roger, I understand. Are you okay?’
It’s hard to find the words in any language to acknowledge the concession, both of them trying so hard and Roger’s grateful for it, forgiven twice over before breakfast and apparently losing the Wimbledon final comes with perks after all. Still, the potential to misstep again hangs tense between them and he can only offer a murmured, ‘I’m fine’, words that mean something beyond tennis never his specialty. All those broken records still leave him wholly inadequate to unpick this mess he’s dropped them all in, cannonballing in headfirst without pausing to worry about drowning in the ripples.
Mirka’s laugh then startles him upright from his slouch, unexpectedly bright as her tone lilts into their everyday teasing.
‘Actually, ’ she says, brightness that seems not entirely false, ‘There is something I don’t understand. I mean, Roddick? Lopez is much easier on the eyes you know, and it’s not as if he’s ever turned down a reasonable offer.’
Barely biting back the snapped retort, there’s nothing wrong with Andy, Roger blinks at the shift – but on a sudden flash of insight he gets it, recognises their pattern over a decade familiar now. Mirka’s nearly always the one to offer the white flag after they fight, collecting the pieces and soothing over the cracks. Roger’s felt guilty occasionally for his refusal to bend first, both of them stubborn but then they’d never fractured this badly, advantage taken occasionally on both sides but never this far, always easy to right themselves in the aftermath.
Except, he’s wondering if he’s ever made the effort to pick up the pieces himself, damning in itself that he can’t remember the last time. God, when had they become nothing more than polite awkwardness? How did he miss that he’d become something to be managed?
Maybe he should make the apologising thing part of his practises, he thinks, trying a smile that feels all lopsided as he says, ‘I’m not sure he would think me a reasonable offer and anyway, I don’t want to sleep with Feliciano.’
‘Everyone wants to sleep with Feliciano,’ Mirka argues but tails off into a considering sound. He can picture her leaning back against the vanity in their glass-and-steel ensuite, the half-smirk curling around her mouth as she tilts her head in thought. ‘Marat, then? Flying halfway around the world to be a consolation fuck isn’t halfway to the weirdest thing he’s ever done. I could call his agent, I still have his number-‘
‘Mirka,’ Roger says and he’s almost laughing, flush of affection so well-worn and familiar despite Andy just in the next room, god. He might even have Marat beat for weirdness this time. ‘I’m going to hang up now because all I hear is la la la, crazy talk. I’ll see you in a couple of hours.’
‘Mmm, enjoy your American.’ The teasing tone shades into sarcasm that belies her laughter, surprise catching him like a serve to the chest when she adds, ‘Let’s hope there are no journalists around to catch your walk of shame eh?’
‘I-‘ Roger starts until the phone beeps cut him off. Telling him that she’s hung up.
Disbelieving, he holds it up to stare at the screen as if it might spontaneously offer an explanation but no, she’s left him to mull that last over like a- well, not a threat exactly, not when her opinion of journalists ranks about level with her shading-into-vicious feelings on Stan these days. Anyway, as a revenge it would lack her preferred brand of subtlety.
A warning, then. Reminding him of the impossibility of this, of the curve of affection to Andy’s smile ever making it past closed doors. As if he didn’t already know this situation is nothing more than a disaster on pause, waiting for the single misstep it’d take for the delicate balance to crack.
He knows. He’s just not sure yet exactly how much he cares.
With a sigh, he’s about to drop the phone and go to find Andy - when his eyes catch and freeze on his own name. With the call ended there’s a pop-up for an unread message on the phone screen, from brooke with the first few words previewed as that final sucked is roger…
He’d pretend to anyone that his guilty hesitation lasted longer than a second but it’d be a lie because he’s thumbing it open almost before he’s thought I shouldn’t, the awkwardness of the conversation with Mirka too fresh to resist a glimpse of how Andy’s navigated the same godawful mess. Barely knows Brooklyn beyond what he’s heard from Andy and that fragmented, passing mentions of laughter and a shadow of bitterness the one time Roger asked after the lake house in Austin, sold shaped like a curse in the sudden-flatness of the answer.
‘that final sucked’, her message says, lack of punctuation so similar to Andy’s infrequent texts to him and he’d laugh if it didn’t clench something bittersweet beneath his ribs, ‘is roger ok? hope you consoled him so hard you kept london awake. i always wondered what the greatest evers ass looks like text me pics. call me when u land. B
Well that’s- unexpected. Reads it twice to be sure he’s not imagining everything implied by consoled him because he can’t quite believe the endorsement, the casual ease of it which means- god, that Andy told her, they discussed the possibility. Because that’s all it was, not anything like his intention to retrace 2009 until the fourth whiskey burned down last night and abruptly getting Andy’s skin beneath his hands seemed the only way to save himself from drunkenly sobbing under the pool table at 3am.
He’s not sure how he feels about Brooklyn, practically a stranger, knowing this intimate thing he’s yet to classify even to himself, but within in the complicated tangle there might be something warm and gleaming that has him breathing out the tension he’d worn since answering the phone. Something a little like relief. Of the two of them, at least Andy came into this with groundwork laid before the fallout, in this one thing his game plan better than Roger’s ever was. Even if he can’t offer more than this morning in trade for the more he thinks Andy wants, maybe, unlike on a tennis court he won’t have to leave Andy ruined in his wake.
Which reminds him, Andy left alone in the bathroom without a hand on him yet and if he wants to avoid ruin that’d be the first place to start. Leaving the phone on the nightstand, he slides off the wreck of the bed and crosses through the barred sunlight slanting into the shadows – brighter now, hum of traffic louder as Wimbledon stirs into Monday morning outside – pushing aside the ensuite door.
Dazzling in contrast, entire room washed in sunlight through the frosted window and Roger has to blink past the flare of his headache again before he can focus.
Like most hotel bathrooms there's an over-investment in white - white tiles, white fittings, but the side effect in the golden hour of morning is brilliance, like sunshine can pool in to this tiny room without escape. It paints lines across his vision as he squints, a startled sound caught in his throat because, standing by the sink, Andy's limned in the same gold, soft with it over his tan lines and the curve of his back as he leans down to rinse his mouth. Toothbrush in hand and the tang of toothpaste is sharp in the air as Roger walks over to him, wondering if he'll ever brush his teeth again without picturing this.
With the tap running he's soundless in bare feet against the cold tile, and Andy sees him first in the mirror over the sink, eyes meeting in the reflection as Roger leans into his back, radiating heat as if Andy's been soaking in the sun ever since he left the bedroom. The smile that tugs up the corner of the American's mouth is tentative, broadening as Roger slides an arm around his waist to run exploring fingertips through the rough trail of hair over his stomach.
'So?' he prompts, dropping the toothbrush to wrap his wet hand, shock of coolness, over Roger's wrist. 'Is she going to break down the door and demand payback for your debauchery?'
'I can't believe you just called this- that,' Roger mutters, pressing his flush into the curve of Andy's shoulder and not resisting the urge the let his teeth scrape a little. Gets a full-body shudder in answer, trembling in the non-existent space between them. 'I have until you have to leave but then-'
Andy hums acknowledgment, vibrato in his throat against Roger's cheek. 'Then it's running home to the two point four children and the white picket fence?'
Stung, Roger looks up, about to say if that's how Andy feels then he can leave right now only to be met with a gleam of understanding reflected back in the mirror. Tightening his grip over Roger's wrist as if trying to imprint his touch, Andy nevertheless smiles at him with barely a flicker of regret shadowing beneath.
'I get it, Roger,' he says, fondness tangled up in resignation. 'It's okay.'
And oh, that slipped out before Roger has time to reconsider, narrowing his eyes to see through the glare of sun backlighting them in the mirror. Both of them are scruffy with morning stubble and their contrasts even out in the brightness, rumpled dark hair and what's left of Andy's shock of blond, the burnt gold of his own Wimbledon tan set beside the kiss of sun over Andy’s paler skin. It marks out the darker splay of his fingers as he slides them down, watching his hand dip below the mirror as he brushes a thumb over the curve of Andy’s still-hard erection, tracing down flushed, hot skin.
‘Is- what- ah. ’ The broken sound Andy tries to swallow makes him shiver, twitch of interest from his own dick trapped between them and he reaches out to brace his free hand against the sink edge. He’s still not used to the allowance of this, open permit to explore everything he’s tried to forget for half a decade; the freedom is dizzying.
Breathless, Andy grinds his hips back, leaning into Roger for support with their eyes still caught on each other in the mirror. ‘I’m not a delicate snowflake,’ he says, rough and laugh gone all out of shape with want, ‘I wasn’t expecting you to propose marriage after one night, Roger. It’s-ah, ah fuck. ’ His hips stutter as Roger deliberately rubs his wrist over the head of Andy’s erection, smear of precome damp over the delicate skin that he wishes he dared bring to his mouth, to lick off to see what sound Andy might make as he watches, blush warming at the thought.
Doesn’t want Andy too far gone before he confesses his crimes though so he moves his hand back up, trailing through beads of sweat to circle a nipple without letting himself touch. Feels the unvoiced protest in the hitch of Andy’s chest, hears the shake of his breathing gone uneven and the heady rush is like being drunk again, the thrill of the expanse of skin Andy’s offering up all as his to explore behind locked doors, no crowds or cameras or their teams about to walk in at any moment.
As if this is only theirs, and they never have to stop; if he doesn’t think about the clock ticking down he can almost pretend this is just another morning-after, one they’ll get to repeat over and again.
Except- ‘Brooklyn wants a photo of my ass,’ he admits, watching his reflection blush and watching too the confusion chase across Andy’s expression, a beat slower through the haze of arousal. ‘I read her message on your phone, I’m sorry.’
‘Well- okay?’ Blinking past confusion, Andy half-smiles at him in the reflection, gaze intent and dark with nothing like anger. ‘So? I don’t care Rog, it’s not as if you need to snoop my phone for trade secrets now, or ever. And Brooke won’t be getting pictures of your ass if that’s what you’re worried about, because she Instagrams first and regrets after everyone on Twitter’s already shit themselves. I think I’ll keep you to myself a bit longer alright?’
Resting his chin on Andy’s shoulder, Roger lets his fingertips wander idly as he tries on words to shape his thoughts, discarding a handful of approaches as he presses his palm to the flutter of pulse in the dip of Andy’s collarbone. Still for once, Andy just watches their sun-limned reflection but his patience is betrayed by the urgent thrum of his heartbeat, his mouth still quirked tense in that crooked half-smile.
‘I’m not worried,’ Roger says finally, ignoring the lift of eyebrow that says Andy disbelieves him, ‘but I’m- curious, I guess. You told her and she obviously doesn’t mind, I don’t know how-‘
Runs short of words again and frustration drives him back a step, safe arms-length opening up between them even though every inch of skin aches for the loss of touch. He doesn’t have any right to hold onto Andy when they’re talking about this; giving voice to it seems to lend substance to the ties that bind them elsewhere.
‘Sorry,’ he says on an exhale, wondering if he’ll ever stop saying that now that he’s recognised the need, ‘it’s none of my business.’
Turning from the mirror, fast, Andy reaches to reel him back in without hesitation, hand tangling into the soft curls against Roger’s neck. The steady grip, the easy taking of possession, is a reassurance in itself; Andy was always clear about what he wanted, fought for it in every serve he hammered across the net and this time, in this one thing, Roger isn’t inclined to stand in his way.
‘I don’t know,’ Andy says, half-laughing although his tone is sincere beneath. ‘I think letting me fuck you makes it at least a little your business. It’s fine Roger, this- thing, it’s not a problem for Brooke and me.’
‘How?’ Roger asks with an edge of hope but Andy’s already shaking his head. Facing the sun spilling through the window now, it’s impossible to tell if the lines of his frown are for the discussion or his squint to see, eyes lit to amber in the familiar lines of his face.
It startles Roger afresh how well he knows the shape of Andy’s lips, that he could trace which of the lines around his eyes are new (new since 2009, since he retired; all of them are new since he first looked at Andy over a net, a double handful of years and endless heartbreak ago). But this refusal he can’t read, beyond the unhappiness suddenly curving down the corners of Andy’s smile.
‘That’s a long story that’ll keep. We only have a couple of hours and I can think of better things to do.’ Adds, with a flicker of mischief, ‘To do to you,’ but Roger’s too distracted by that shadow of misery to blush. He’s noticing a pattern, that ostensibly Andy’s happy to talk but he’s thrown up distraction after diversion – not that Roger exactly put up a fight – to avoid anything but the right now, barely acknowledging outside these four walls and this one morning they’ve stolen from real life.
It’s uncomfortable, the abrupt worry that perhaps he’s been reading this all wrong. Maybe Brooklyn doesn’t mind because this is a one-off, never to be repeated. Maybe Andy thought of it as returning a favour to someone he likes, opening up to Roger as Roger opened up to him after ‘09.
And maybe he’s right. This is crazy after all, too late to wipe away now but the sensible course of action would be to walk away in a couple of hours well-fucked and the next time he sees Andy – months or years away if he tries, a hundred thousand reasons not to cross paths that wouldn’t even be excuses – after that, this will be a half-forgotten memory of a drunken mistake.
‘Roger?’ Andy’s frowning at him as if he can read every half-panicked thought and perhaps he can, always had an uncanny knack for seeing beneath Roger’s practised poker-face.
Abruptly, vividly, Roger’s reminded of the time, long before he was comfortable letting Andy break through his polite reserve, when he’d been caught in a rare chat with Mardy Fish during a delay in Toronto. With rain cascading down the windows of the player’s lounge, after an hour of circling the topic he’d dared mention Andy, the vulnerability of every emotion writ clear across his face even as he saw through every façade Roger tried to throw up. Back then he’d been uncertain over the flutter of his heart when Andy grinned at him across the locker room, in the early years before their post-match interviews replaced disarming jokes with veiled misery; he’d been trying to pick his way through the tentative fondness, navigate untested waters of developing feelings for a man he crushed on a regular basis and who still smiled at him after, bounced up to him in the locker room with unfaltering welcome.
Figured it was safe enough to let a glimmer of feeling loose, just once. For anyone on tour who might guess Roger’s weakness, Mardy was the least likely to take advantage.
For Andy’s sake, if not Roger’s.
Mardy had frowned at him, cautious. Roger still remembers the clear blue of his eyes, the slender arc of his wrist as he pushed his fingers through his hair, and that he’d wondered with an entirely unexpected flare of envy just how much Andy loved this man, knowing Mardy long before he ever stood on a court with Roger.
‘Andy doesn’t hide anything because he can’t,’ Mardy had said, looking out at the heavy clouds, the wet shine of water over the courts like false lakes, ankle-breaking slick and treacherous. ‘You know the way he shows everything, well that’s honest. I think learning to read people was a defence after he realised he’d never beat me at poker otherwise.’
Glancing back at Roger those blue eyes had gone suddenly glacial, dangerous, and realisation hit like a shock that no matter Andy’s feelings, Mardy – quiet, amiable-to-a-fault-Mardy – wouldn’t hesitate to make Roger collateral damage if it came to protecting Andy. He’d gone breathless at the thought of that much loyalty, wondering if he was mistaken in reading Andy’s affection too deeply – if he was already taken.
‘It means when he likes someone,’ Mardy had said, tone gone neutral, ‘it’s pretty obvious. But you’ve seen that, right?’
He’d said yes, Roger thinks, memory blurred by distance and countless years of rain delays blending over one another. But it’d been a half-truth at best: he’d seen the way Andy likes Mardy, vivid and uncomplicated; witnessed the disintegration of his naïve adoration for Mandy; is still quietly envious of the way Andy sometimes retreats to Bob and Mike when he’s upset, leaning into one or the other in the corners of locker rooms as if they could anchor him from drifting in misery.
He knows the ways Andy loves because it would be impossible not to know, not for anyone who bothered to look. What he doesn’t know is how much Andy likes him, if the intricacies of his affection run deeper or if he’s just- an afterthought. A familiar face, owed a favour.
Faced with Andy right there, touchable and his for the next few hours, if never again, he can’t bring himself to ask. If he never gets to have more than this, then this will be enough.
‘Will you fuck me please?’ he asks, too fast to catch on embarrassment, and the hand in his hair grips abruptly tight, Andy’s eyes blinking wide.
‘Sure?’ he asks, rasp to it that whispers please please even as he adds, only half-teasing, ‘not getting bored? I’m not picky about switching it up.’
The thought of fucking Andy makes the arousal clench tight, breath hitching because god, he might never get the chance again but he wants this too, sure enough to shake his head. Stepping in on a rush of boldness, reading the acceptance in the tremble of Andy’s grip, Roger leans down to trail open-mouthed kisses along the vulnerable ridge of collarbone, pressing his lips to the salt-sharp hollow of Andy’s throat where his shirts always expose a taunting patch of skin. Thinks of Mardy for courage, you’ve seen it right, and he has enough coherence left to curl a hand in the dip of Andy’s back before he bites down.
‘Roger.’ Flinch immediate, Andy kept from slamming into the sink by Roger’s hand but immediately he’s pressing forward again, laughing into Roger’s mouth when he pushes his chin up into a kiss. ‘You asshole,’ he says and it’s nothing but amused, affection breathed out between them, ‘that’ll mark and it’s fucking July, I can’t wear scarves. I’ll be running from photographers for a week.’
‘Sorry,’ Roger murmurs, insincere this time. He wants Andy to remember him beyond this room, this moment. Every time he looks in the mirror, wants him to see Roger’s touch written across his skin.
Which is wrong, should feel like a violation, but with everything bleached to unreality by the golden sunshine and the knowledge that it took them six years to find the space for this, again, it all feels ephemeral even with Andy kissing him breathless. There’s no trophy to inscribe, no record books marking out this result.
He lost, Novak’s name carved out in his place, but he’s not sure, not right now, if he’d trade that win for this. Andy’s skin may be sun-kissed gold beneath his hands but it’s soft in all the ways the Wimbledon trophy isn’t, sweat-slick and dragging his nails across it draws out a pleading sound, one Roger loves enough to chase it into the corners of Andy’s mouth. Tasting the sharp tang of mint, something like the salt of himself and the sweetness of Andy beneath that’s as much knowledge as taste, knowing the tactile curve of Andy’s smile as well as the image of it, finally.
Suddenly he’s glad he hadn’t considered the possibility of this before the final, before the whiskey shots and heartbreak. If he’d known this would be his consolation prize then there’d always be the doubt in his mind, slight but pervasive, did he trade the win for this.
‘Roger,’ Andy murmurs, breathless. They’re rocking together now, dry friction of skin almost too much. Roger’s hard as if he hasn’t already come this morning, aching all over with the pull of need low in his belly, building and building until his breath sobs with the heat of it glowing beneath every inch of skin. Andy’s no better, hands shaking when he catches Roger’s hips to hold them still.
‘No-stop,’ he rasps, ‘or this will be over before- sure you want me to-‘
‘Yes. ’ In the long list of things that Roger doesn’t know right now, this one choice is marked out in desperate certainty but Andy’s hesitating, breath hot where he’s gasping against Roger’s cheek with the grate of stubble that’s going to leave both of them raw. So Roger murmurs, ‘I want it’, mouth close to Andy’s ear and when he lets his teeth catch the lobe, too-hard, Andy makes a sound that’s almost animal, high and desperate. ‘I want to remember it. Not drunk, not because we lost. I want yo- I want to remember everything.’
In case we never have it again he leaves unsaid because he’s afraid of Andy’s confused look, afraid of the soft what do you think this is Roger, it’s great but of course this is it, we can’t keep doing this. If he can have this moment to keep, write it across himself in muscle-memory and box away the soft, broken sounds Andy makes as he grinds into Roger’s thigh, it’ll be enough.
‘Okay, okay.’ Andy sounds wrecked, like he’s holding on to control by his fingertips as he shakes apart beneath Roger’s lips, trailing open-mouthed kisses down the sweat-beaded curve of Andy’s neck . ‘Do you- fuck, fuck I can’t think when you do that, god – want bed or shower?’
Shock has Roger biting down harder than he intended at the curve of Andy’s shoulder, metal-tang of the bruise as he licks over it in apology for Andy’s gasp. ‘Shower,’ he rasps when he remembers the intricacies of forming words, narrowing himself to sound when ninety percent of his focus is intoxicated by touch. Still, at the thought of water gleaming over both their skin, the wet-slick of it as Andy fucks into him against the glass, he can’t think of anything he wants more right now.
And after all, Mirka had told him to take a shower.
‘Okay, that’s- good, I just need-‘ Andy hisses as Roger runs his nails down Andy’s sides, memorising the dip down to his thighs, the curve of his stomach that quivers against Roger’s fingertips. ‘You know I thought you couldn’t keep your hands to yourself before because you were drunk but I guess that time you grabbed my ass in Cincy wasn’t an accident huh?’
Roger jerks upright, abruptly mortified - because that was an accident, misplacing his hand when he went to pat Andy’s back at the net and he’d flushed at the unexpected swell beneath his palm, sweat-damp cotton warm and no kind of barrier at all. The tentative interest he was still qualifying back then had flared a little brighter, made him hyper-aware of every place they pressed together next time they hugged at the net. But Andy hadn’t flinched, never made it a joke so Roger thought he’d got away with the slip, only now - almost a decade later - Andy’s grinning at him with mischief that says he knew all along.
‘I- it was, I didn’t mean-’
Andy leans in to cut him off, presses a bruising-hard kiss over Roger’s mouth even as he’s edging back, away from their tangle of limbs. ‘I know,’ he whispers into it, muffled by the curve of his grin, ‘but you wanna know a secret? I liked it.’
While Roger’s still fumbling for a response, because that was years ago, long before he believed this thing between them would ever move beyond platonic but Andy- Andy’s pulling away, hand ghosting over Roger’s ass with a laugh as he pushes him towards the shower.
‘Don’t jerk off ‘til I get back,’ he says over his shoulder as he heads towards the bedroom door, ‘you’re already one up and I’m not losing this time.’
‘Shower!’ Andy yells back as he vanishes into the bedroom and Roger glares after him resentfully until the thought occurs, he’s about to get exactly what he wanted and the faster he obeys the faster it’ll happen - so maybe he should get his ass in the shower.
Like everything else in the bathroom, the shower is gleaming glass and white tile, but there’s signs of Andy here that have been packed away everywhere else. Shower gel left uncapped on the shelf is the brand Roger recognises from the scattered chaos around Andy’s lockers on tour, and there’s shampoo that smells familiar as it pools in his palm, same fresh scent that clings to the pillows in the bedroom and faintly, over Andy’s skin.
Turning his face up to the spray of water set just-below burning, Roger lets it wash away the final vestiges of his headache before he suds up his hair. He’s going to smell like Andy all the way home, and the thought alone is enough to make the coil of desire tug harder, cock twitching between his soaped fingers when he can’t help reaching down to stroke himself, just once to ramp up the delicious ache of not yet.
Cool air over his back is all the warning he gets that Andy’s opened the stall door before there’s a hand on his shoulder, turning him around under the spray. Water slicks the kiss when they move together, Roger’s eyes screwed shut against the soap so he finds Andy by feel alone, mapping the familiar contours afresh with the glide of wet skin as they kiss lightly, bare brush of lips.
‘I saw you there, cheating,’ Andy murmurs into it. For all the lazy drift of his touch he’s still hard, rub of it over Roger’s hip telegraphed by Andy shivering beneath his hands, and the stumble of his voice over the joke that any other time would come out smooth. ‘I can give you and your hand some alone time if you want? As long as you let me watch.’
It’s incredible, Roger thinks, how every time Andy casually offers up new options, new potential for all the things they could do to each other, it’s as if the map of Roger’s desires gets redrawn in bittersweet lines; every tennis player, by nature of the sport, is to some extent an exhibitionist but he’d never thought of himself as wanting- that. Andy’s eyes alone on him as Roger shows off this intimate part of himself, betrays all the ways he’d love to be touched as he comes apart for Andy, opening himself up like- like a performance, all the secrets he’s forever kept to himself laid bare.
He’s never done that for anyone, even Mirka; they’re both on the wrong side of reserved to suggest it. To even think it.
And it doesn’t matter that he thinks now that he might like it, with Andy, because it’s something to be done leisurely and time is slipping away like the water through Roger’s fingers. Could say yes please, that and he knows Andy would listen, but if he’s forced to weigh up one infidelity over another then he still wants to take away the memory of Andy in him, carry the ache of him deep for days. The flicker of interest in this new thing is just one more impossibility.
Still, whispers the treacherous voice at the back of his thoughts, the one that still urges him to kick over Rafa’s water bottles and deliberately antagonise Novak into unforced errors, if Andy never touches you then it isn’t really cheating. If he happened to jerk off sometime when Andy just happened to be in the room, that’s just- careless.
‘Another time,’ he whispers, still water-blind so he can’t see Andy’s reaction, only read the flex of fingers where they grip his shoulder as surprise. ‘But this time-‘
‘I know, I know. Pushy bastard.’ Amusement curves Andy’s mouth on his, although the hand he runs through Roger’s hair – rinsing away the last of the shampoo – is gentle, rubbing circles through the strands that have a contented sound jerked involuntarily from Roger. Loves having his hair played with and he presses up into the touch, distracted into almost missing Andy’s next words until the hand in his hair tugs, just slightly.
‘You’re going to have to turn around,’ Andy’s saying, pushing him back a step and the glass of the stall is suddenly cool on Roger’s heated skin, shock of it rocking his hips forward and they both gasp as they bump together, wet grind frictionless and easy. Andy’s voice goes breathy as he carries on, ‘As much as I’d love to hold you up, we’re not twenty anymore and my knees might dump us both before I’m done with you.’
Guilt flickers beneath Roger’s desperate need to be touched and soon, so hard his nails are digging into his palms to hold himself still. ‘Should we go back to the bed? I didn’t think-’
‘I’m not that ancient yet, thanks.’ Andy laughs, almost too low to hear over the falling water and this time his hand curves along Roger’s chin before he leans into a kiss, holding him still as Andy opens him up with teeth and tongue until Roger hears himself make a broken sound of acquiescence, torn from him as they part because there’s no sense in arguing against this thing they both want anyway. But he blinks the water from his eyes before he turns, wanting the after-image of Andy’s face as he’s pressed up against the glass.
Takes an instant before Andy registers him looking, tries to wipe his expression back to neutral but he’s too slow, Roger catching his breath at the flash of unguarded – adoration, nothing less.
Looking at Roger like something marvellous, like he’s been handed Wimbledon three times over and he can’t quite believe he’s allowed to touch, that this is his.
Maybe, Roger thinks, shaken, there’s his answer for how Andy feels about him. For how much this thing matters. Maybe it should’ve been clear from the start, it means when he likes someone, it’s pretty obvious - except for every time Andy’s voice went warm with affection in after-match interviews, when he smiled at Roger after having his dreams crushed, Roger had always managed to convince himself it didn’t mean anything serious. For it to be something more, to believe that Andy could lo- that this might be something heartfelt, seemed impossible enough to dismiss as pure wishful thinking.
Whatever reaction he can’t keep from his face must be welcome though because Andy smiles at him, soft-edged as he runs his fingertips along Roger’s cheek, brushing away the trickling water.
‘Turn around,’ he says, quiet, and Roger turns, relieved to hide his flush in his folded arms up against the glass, bury the tangle of hope and despair pulling him apart beneath the sure strokes of Andy’s hands. Giving himself up to be held captive by touch a little while longer, before the consequences become too pressing to ignore.
‘I used to imagine this, you know.’ Murmured beside his ear like a confession, Andy tracing wayward trails down his back, pausing at the tan line where his shorts sit, teasing bite of ragged nails along the mark. ‘I’d watch you walk past me to the showers and I’d wonder what you’d do if I followed you. If I’d stepped in your cubicle and kissed you back against the wall, if all that restraint would keep you quiet as I sucked you off.’
‘I-‘ Roger’s breath sobs in his throat. ‘Andy, please.’ Not certain if he means please touch me or please stop because he can’t picture that every time he showers after a match, not when the privacy to jerk off in locker rooms is dubious at best. Heart racing so hard he feels breathless with it, hoping the glass will hold as dizziness presses his entire weight into it to hold himself upright, he pushes his hips back into Andy’s grip. ‘Please. ’
And there’s a fresh flush of mortification as he realises he’s begging, voice shredded thin, but it works. There’s the click of plastic, Andy’s hand vanishing from him for an instant and then back, gliding down the curve of his ass smoother than before and only when the tip of a finger breaches him does Roger recognise the slick ease of lube. That’s what Andy’d gone to get from the bedroom, ever careful even with Roger stretched out from last night.
Letting tiny sounds of pleasure escape on every exhale, Roger braces his feet wide and arcs back to give space to Andy’s fingers in him, Andy’s teeth sharp on the curve of his shoulder, everything heated and smooth with the water slicking their skin, steam fogging the glass until the room around them disappears, enclosed in this tiny space with his whimpers echoing from the tiles.
‘The way you sound, ’ Andy breathes, ticklish over the nape of Roger’s neck and his groan is involuntary, shiver running down his spine at the ragged awe in Andy’s tone. The fingers inside him curl, seeking, and he sinks his teeth into his own forearm bruising-hard to muffle a shout, bliss jolting to the edge of pain. He’s going to come if Andy keeps it up, no breath left for a warning but the tension in every muscle must scream it anyway because Andy eases back, stilling his hand until Roger grounds himself, aches and trembling pleasure winding down to manageable again, remembering technicalities like breathing.
‘I could do this for days and never get bored, you know,’ Andy says, voice steady as if he’s not knuckle-deep in Roger and hard against the curve of his thigh; without looking, Roger knows the exact teasing line of his grin. ‘How long did we play in ’09? Think you could last that long?’
Torture and temptation together, imagining the exquisite agony that would be, and Roger has to swallow before he can speak, steam-thick air catching in his throat. ‘We don’t have time. You- you’d miss your flight.’
The laugh is soft, a bare exhale of warm air over wet skin. ‘That’s not a no,’ Andy murmurs, keeping his hand, the hand where it matters, still as he runs ticklish-light fingertips over Roger’s chest, dipping into his belly button, stopping just short of where Roger aches for it, ‘but- you’re right. Raincheck on the denial for today. Not like I was all that good at denying you in ’09 either.’
Not bitter, not even close, but Roger turns his head on a flush of guilt, pinned against the glass so all he gets a glimpse of is a half-smile, a distant look dimming the gleam in brown eyes until Andy blinks it away, catching Roger’s look with a frown.
‘Quit beating yourself up Rog. It’s not as if you haven’t been there too, and I’d rather lose to you than anyone. You’re not an ass about it. Mostly,’ he adds, flicker of mischief and Roger’s halfway into the first syllable of an apology anyway when Andy’s frown becomes a glare, and the fingers in him twist right there.
White-out behind his eyelids when they screw shut against sensation, sharp jolt that drives him up to his toes with overstimulation, oh god, god, too much, and he might shout because his throat hurts when Andy slides his fingers out, rubbing the heel of his hand down the curve of Roger’s back with a whispered shhh, like he’s soothing a ruffled cat. Roger exhales shakily, aching and on the edge, water agonisingly ticklish over sensitive skin and he bites hard on his lower lip to keep from pleading for more.
‘Guilt isn’t in the game plan, remember?’ Murmured against the back of his neck, Andy shifting behind him and Roger forces his breathing steady with a rush of relief as he leans his forehead on his folded arms, braced. His wet skin smells like Andy’s soap, as if it’s ground too deep to wash away.
‘What is?’ he manages as Andy slides an arm around him again, flex of muscle that Roger used to watch uncoil like a weapon over the net, now pinning them together as Andy curls his fingers around Roger’s dick, pressing just tight enough at the base to hold him back from the edge. Want and the dizzy spin of desperation makes Roger brave – or stupid – enough to gasp out again, ‘Andy, what’s the game plan?’ Because he thinks he’s getting it finally, but he needs to hear the words.
‘Now that’s cheating,’ Andy says, laughing, and he drops a light kiss on Roger’s shoulder before he finishes, mouthing it over wet skin so Roger has to strain to hear, ‘you never used to have to ask, Rog. Don’t go easy on me now.’
‘I-’ never did, Roger’s going to say, not quite an untruth when it’d never been easy to beat Andy, regardless of the tennis. But Andy hums something impatient, shifts an inch and at the first push in Roger’s voice gives out, losing his train of thought at the unexpected pressure. God, it was easier when he was drunk but this, the instinctive tension and the soft sounds Andy’s muffling in Roger’s dripping hair as he holds still barely an inch inside, this is something new in itself. Barely remembers the details of the last two times Andy did this, just hazy-edged flash memories of heat and the loose, liquid pleasure coiling up his spine; this, in contrast, is all sharp.
This, the third time he’s let Andy do this and he can’t think why three jars against memory until he remembers why he’s here, opening himself up to Andy Roddick again.
Three times he’s lost, three times he beat Andy, and now three times this, three times he’s been stretched out with Andy’s voice trembling on wordless affection as he presses in steady, slick and beautiful and everything Roger’s been longing for without letting himself acknowledge it. He wonders if that means this will be it, all they ever have, three times three the magic number to force them back into an equilibrium, balance away from the pull of loss and attraction. Maybe this is it.
Andy gasps out a ‘Please Rog’, voice wrecked, and it doesn’t feel like this could ever be enough.
‘Yes,’ Roger pants, arcing his back to ease the angle, ‘go, go,’ and Andy slides all the way home, muffling a groan against Roger’s neck. Only still for a second before he’s moving, gripping Roger’s hip as he finds a slow rhythm and the hand on Roger’s dick eases, letting the rock of them together set the pace as Roger pushes into the loose circle of fingers and palm, wet drag of skin on skin rough and perfect. Easy, the fit of them together and the steady give and take, Roger breathing into it as the last of the tension dissolves. Shivery heat building everywhere Andy’s rubbing over the aches left from last night, driving him closer to the brink with every thrust.
Trying to fix this, them, in his memory, all Roger can focus on is fractured impressions; the loud hiss of the water, the choked-off moan from Andy when a thrust at the right angle makes him clench tighter, the smoothness of the fogged glass when he scrabbles for a hold, sliding until Andy reaches up to lace their fingers together, pressed hard against the glass. Sunlight so bright he can’t tell if it’s an afterimage or arousal dazzling him even with his eyes screwed shut.
Riding the edge now, pure burn of pleasure humming under every inch of skin and he forgets why he ever thought the drunken fumbling in ’09 would be all they had; of course they ended up here, inevitable as winning and losing, as Roger’s instant of surprise whenever he forgets not to look for Andy’s name in a draw and can’t find it.
This isn’t it; this can’t be it.
‘Rog,’ Andy gasps out, ‘Roger come on. I can hear you thinking, don’t-’ Squeezing Roger’s hand where they’re tangled together, he speeds up with a grunt of effort and the cry that rips from Roger is relief, and release, rush of bliss rising up and crashing over him as he comes hard, sparks of sensation everywhere they grind together until his toes curl against the floor, left trembling and breathless in the aftermath.
Andy’s still rocking into him, voice gone thready and desperate on Roger’s name, and the overstimulation is almost too much, jolting over nerves rubbed raw with every push. He’s held up by the glass and Andy’s grip alone, shaking through the aftershocks and it takes every shred of effort he has left in him to find his voice, tilt his head back to rest on Andy’s shoulder and say, beg, ‘Now Andy, please’-.
And Andy gasps out a broken sound, coming in a hot, wet rush that Roger feels, pressing in deep and it’s impossible to separate their shaking, locked together because neither of them have the strength to move, even with the water beginning to run cool on overheated skin. Andy turns to drag a clumsy kiss over Roger’s cheek, making no move to pull away and in the exhausted calm of comedown, a wave of utter, certain affection catches Roger by surprise. No, no he can’t, but-
Oh god, he thinks and it’s tinged with- yes, panic, nothing less, even as the certainty sinks in to take root, I’m in love with Andy Roddick.
Which means this can’t be it. Not even close.