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Gareth David-Lloyd is straight.

He is, dammit. Always has been, always will be. He loves women and he's unrepentant about making that publicly clear. It's almost a shame, he thinks sometimes, that he's been in steady relationships since filming of the first series of Torchwood began. Of course he only thinks it in jest. Though many of the show's female fans are excited (in ways he never guessed heterosexual women could be) by his character's onscreen relationship with John Barrowman's, he'd never take advantage of it.

Well, aside from the fact that Gemma finds it all pretty hot.

"Did you get to snog John again?" she likes to ask him when they're out together after filming. When he says yes, her legs shift below the table. It amazes him. He asks her, once, why the idea affects her so.

"You're hot," she says, matter-of-factly. "Barrowman's hot. Two hot guys together?" She shivers, gives him a dark-eyed look. They leave the restaurant without finishing their dinners.

Another time, in bed, she asks what it's like to kiss John. As Gareth tries to describe it (leaving out the uncomfortableness of having a large crew watching your every move while you're sweating under hot lights), Gemma kisses down his bare chest, takes him into her mouth. "Pretend I'm him," she says huskily, when she comes up for air. "I'm Captain Jack, going down on Ianto."

Gareth comes so fast it's embarrassing.

Fine. He's straight, he just has a crush on John Barrowman. Who the hell doesn't? John has the cast and crew of Torchwood wrapped around his little finger, male, female, regardless of orientation. John is possibly the most charismatic man on the planet.

It's silly and stupid, anyway, since John is perfectly happy with his partner, Scott. Hell, Gareth attended their civil ceremony. He was a little jealous even then of the evident love the two of them had found in each other. (Gareth chalked the jealousy back then up to the recent breakup with Sara, which had been -- to put it mildly -- ugly. John had noticed Gareth's mood, something that amazed Gareth considering the man was in the middle of celebrating his legal partnership to the man he loved. John took Gareth outside -- even though it was freezing, a stiff wind coming in off the bay -- and reassured Gareth that it'd be all right, he'd find someone. Gareth appreciated that more than he was willing to admit.)

And matters of partners aside, even if Gareth wanted to hash this out with John, it's difficult if not downright impossible to pin the man down. He's always busy. Sometimes Gareth wonders if he sleeps.

Gareth tells himself firmly to forget it. It's pointless and silly. They wrapped filming on series two a month ago and he's busy himself, between conventions, some audiobook recordings, and Blue Gillespie. He wants to organise a big concert/arts festival thing focusing on Welsh musicians, artists, writers. He doesn't have time to fuss with an inane crush that will no doubt be gone by the time they all get back together to film series three.

Even when he does see John -- at the recording of the radio play, "Lost Souls", that's been put together to commemorate the upcoming launch of the Large Hadron Collider -- he doesn't have time to talk privately with him. And that's fine, really. Eve and Freema and a lot of spectacular voice actors are there as well, and John is as entertaining and charming as ever, hugging the girls until their feet come off the ground then pretending to stagger when he tries to do the same to Gareth. There's the usual flashing of genitalia and laughter loud enough to ruin multiple takes, and Gareth tells himself he was imagining everything.

Not long after, he and Gemma break up. It's more or less amicable; at least there's less fighting than there was with Sara, for which he's grateful. They hire a truck to move her things out of the flat. Afterward, Gareth sits in the empty front room and wonders what went wrong this time. If he wasn't so busy. If he'd tried harder. If, if, if.

He actually jumps when the phone rings, starkly loud in the flat. After he swears at himself loudly, he reaches over and grabs it.

"Gareth!" John shouts. "Hey, man, what's shaking?" There's music playing behind John, the sound of voices. A party?

"John." Gareth wonders what god is laughing themselves sick over the timing of this. "Mate, I--"

"Scott's gone up to London," John goes on as if Gareth hadn't spoken. "I've got the house to myself. Well, me and the dogs. Thought you could come over, we haven't hung out in ages."

It must be a DVD on in the background, Gareth thinks muzzily. "John, I -- any other night, maybe--"

"What's wrong?" The sound cuts out behind John's voice. Gareth can hear the dogs barking. "Gaz?"

Gareth opens his mouth to tell John not to worry, that he's fine. Instead he hears himself telling John that it's over with Gemma, she got her stuff and left today, he's alone with the dogs.

When he finally goes quiet, John sucks in a breath and mutters, "Shit, Gareth. I'm sorry. Hey, look, you shouldn't be alone tonight. I'm coming over."

"John," Gareth protests.

"No. I'm on my way now. Be there in ten minutes."

It turns out to be twenty, actually, because when John arrives on Gareth's doorstep, he has two pizza boxes in one hand and beer in the other. Gareth (who'd changed into clean clothes and pondered a shower, then kicked himself for being a total fucking girl) takes the beer and John carries the pizza into the kitchen, the dogs following him, yapping at the smell of food.

John seems willing to shoulder the burden of conversation, which Gareth appreciates. He sits there, drinking beer and gnawing absently at a slice of pizza without tasting it, while John talks about the album he wants to make, the variety show style television programme he's developing in London with Gavin, Scott's parents, the impending visit from his niece, Clare. John can babble with the best of them. Eventually, John pauses at the end of a story and looks over at Gareth. "How are you?" he asks.

Gareth's been through three beers. He shrugs. "Starting to feel numb."

"Anything I can do?" John asks. Gareth finds his attention drawn to the glossiness of John's lips. He knows how they taste, how John kisses. He remembers Gemma asking what it felt like to kiss John. He'd left out how John's kiss made his knees a little weak, how John's hand was so warm in his hair.

Before he really stops to let himself think about it, he slides up against John and kisses him. It's wet and just a bit awkward, but John doesn't push him away or stop him. In fact, after a few startled moments of stillness, John slides a hand to rest on Gareth's nape and kisses him back. Gareth inhales. He nips at John's lower lip, pushes his tongue wantonly into John's mouth. He's kissing a man and he can't get enough of it.

John's the one to break it off, but it's only to gasp for air. His voice shakes when he says, "Gareth, what -- what the fuck?"

Reality sinks in and Gareth pulls himself away. John's mouth is wet from the kisses; Gareth forces himself to look somewhere else. "Sorry," he mumbles. "Sorry, I."

"No." John's hand on Gareth's shoulder makes Gareth look back up at him again. John's eyes are concerned, dark. Gareth notices John breathing a little shallowly. "Come on, Gareth. What is this? You've never--. You're straight."

Gareth barks a weak laugh. "That's what I thought, too."

John goes very still for a moment. Then his fingers curl below Gareth's chin and his thumb traces a line over Gareth's mouth. "And now?" John asks, his voice silken and low.

"Now I don't know," Gareth whispers.

It's John's turn to chuckle. "What, are you trying to tell me I made you bi or something?"

Gareth yanks himself away and stands up. It's too much. "Would you-- I just. I don't know." His voice trembles and he curses at himself. "I don't know what this is. It's confusing as fuck."

John stays where he is, but his eyes are regretful. "I'm sorry," he says. "I shouldn't do that. Come here. Come on," he adds, patting the couch next to him when Gareth stays standing. After a moment, Gareth settles down again, half-facing John, a leg tucked under him. John rests a hand on Gareth's shoulder. He's always so tactile, John is; it's how he connects with people. Touches and hugs and friendly playful kisses. Gareth wonders if John's ever felt strange about his sexuality. Of course not, he thinks. John's family are all amazing, sweet people. They probably didn't bat an eye when he came out to them.

Gareth realises John's hand is stroking along the tense line of his shoulder and he sighs. "I'm an arse," he says. "I shouldn't have done that."

"It's all right," John says absently.

"No, I mean. You and Scott. I respect that. You."

John shakes his head dismissively. "Don't worry about it."

Gareth tilts his head and looks at John, confused. John's eyes are dark, troubled. "But," Gareth starts to say, only to find the words stopped by John's mouth on his again. He inhales sharply, taking in the soap-clean scent of John so close to him, a smell that prickles down his spine and stiffens his cock in his jeans. "John," he whispers.

"Anytime you want to stop," John says against his mouth, "you just have to say so." His voice is low and rough, and Gareth shivers, curls his fingers in John's soft hair.

"Not a fuckin' chance," Gareth mutters into John's mouth. He's never felt so turned on in his life. John doesn't stop the kiss this time; it goes on, exploratory and challenging, so utterly different to their staged kisses for the camera or the teasing ones for fans at conventions. John's giving and warm, his tongue lush in Gareth's mouth, and when Gareth runs his hand down over John's chest to between his legs, John is hard under his hand, a prominent bulge in the denim jeans.

"Fuck," John whispers, shuddering a laugh against Gareth's lips. "Don't waste any time, do you?"

"Want to feel you." Gareth nips at the tantalizing curve of John's full lower lip, but when he plucks at the button of John's jeans, John's hand covers his. Gareth makes a sound embarrassingly like a whimper.

"It's all right." John's hand moves on Gareth's, stroking his skin, sliding up his forearm above his watch, and Gareth shivers. "You don't have to. It's a lot all at once."

Gareth shakes his head, eyebrows lowered, determined. "Let me," he murmurs, "please." This time, when he pulls the button out, John doesn't stop him. Gareth tugs the zipper down, sucking in a breath as he gets a glimpse of pale fabric distorted over the distinctive swell of an erection. John's mouth catches his again; Gareth kisses him back, almost distracted, as he traces a fingertip along the line of John's dick, hot through the thin boxers.

John makes a little hungry sound that's the hottest thing Gareth's ever heard and mutters, "If you're going to, then for fuck's sake please--" and he shifts as if trying to push himself into Gareth's hand. Gareth wants to laugh, but he pulls the flies of John's jeans wider and hooks his thumb in boxer elastic, tugs it down, revealing the dark head and a few inches of shaft. Before he can lose his nerve, he rolls his fingers over and around, circling John's cock in his fingers. It's amazing and ordinary all at once, almost like holding his own dick in his hand, except for the angle and the way John hisses and mewls. "God," he says, "yeah, fuck, Gareth, your hand..."

His voice is low and rough, and it encourages Gareth to move, pushing the waistband of the boxers down lower so he can stroke John completely, root to tip. John shudders, gives a raw groan; Gareth pushes in to kiss him again, feeling incredibly daring. John's fingers clasp the back of Gareth's head, and they gasp together. John mutters low instructions: slower, squeeze a little tighter, use his thumb-- Gareth has to watch, leaving off kissing John to observe the surreal sight of his hand fisted on John's cock, the skin sliding under his fingers, liquid beading at the tip. He spreads it with the pad of his thumb and is rewarded by a shuddering moan from John.

When John gasps that he's getting close, Gareth's tempted for a crazy moment to bend down and put his mouth where his hand is, to taste that hot skin; the very idea makes his head spin and he rests his forehead against John's shoulder, clutching him and speeding his strokes all at once. "Come on," he breathes, "come on, John, come on--"

And John does, coming with an incoherent gasp, a beautiful cry, pushing up into Gareth's fist, cock jerking and spurting threads of hot semen over Gareth's hand. It's messy and electric and gorgeous when John drops his head against the back of the sofa, his throat flushed red, lips glossy and eyes shut tight. Gareth lets go of John's dick, slowly softening again, and reaches for the tissues on the side table to clean both John and himself up. A few spots of semen darken John's shirt, making a trail. Feeling brave, Gareth dips his finger in one and dabs it to his tongue.

"Jesus fuck, that's hot," John mutters. Gareth swallows involuntarily, though it's not a bad taste, salt and a little bitter. When he sets the tissue box down again, he's reminded of his own arousal by the rub of his cock against the inside of his zipper; it makes him suck in a breath, and John dips in to kiss him again, hand covering the hard line of dick inside his jeans. "My turn," John says, or maybe growls, and Gareth's helpless to do anything but let John do exactly what he wants.

Gareth's expecting John to reciprocate with a handjob, figuring that'd be more than fair and maybe the easiest to explain away to Scott. John undoes Gareth's jeans, tugs the zipper down, then with firm fingers pulls down on jeans and briefs together. Gareth shakes a little, suddenly feeling far more vulnerable and exposed with his cock out, hard and leaking against his belly; but John just grins that predatory grin of his and licks his lips.

From the first moment John's mouth comes in contact with Gareth's cock, Gareth shakes. He's had blowjobs before, lots of them, but never like this: never so slow and teasing and knowing, never from a mouth that seems to be able to cover him everywhere, never with a tongue glancing in agile patterns on him. Gareth tips his head forward to watch the intensely erotic sight of John Barrowman sucking his cock and moans. He's lost to anything that isn't John now; he wonders vaguely if he'll ever be able to go back to women again after this.

John's fingers squeeze him tight while that talented mouth sucks him down, and Gareth's absurdly grateful for the grip that staves off his orgasm. It's already licking close, dancing at the base of his spine, and he just wants this for a few more minutes, wants to drag out the astonishing pleasure. Every slide of John's tongue and rounded lips shatters him anew. Gareth has to drop his head back and close his eyes at last; he's too turned on by watching John's glossy lips on him. Another slide, another, and John's taken him in completely, swallowed him down, he can feel the impossible squeeze on the head of his cock-- It's too much, just too fucking much, Gareth can't hold back anymore. He shouts as the orgasm rockets through him, his fingers squeezing John's nape before he lets his hands drop to the sofa.

John pulls back; Gareth hears him sit up on the sofa again, feels John's warm hands tucking him back into his briefs. He blinks dazedly at John, grinning goofily; John laughs, shaking his head a little, and Gareth feels his cheeks flare, but John just leans in and kisses him, brief and soft. Gareth can taste himself on John's lips. It's strange and hot.

"What happens now?" he hears himself ask, and then curses. Talk about the tritest fucking thing to say.

But John shakes his head. "I don't know. That's up to you."

Gareth bites his lip, reaches out to rest his hand on John's chest, thumb just inside the open flap of his button-down. "You should stay," he says quietly.

John closes his eyes for a moment. Then he nods, and when he tips his head to kiss Gareth again, it's slower, lazier. Gareth closes his eyes for it. When he pulls back, he can see the explanation starting to form on John's lips: what happened with Scott, why he said not to worry about it. Gareth shakes his head and sets his fingers over John's mouth. "Don't," he says. "Tell me later. Not yet."

John nods.