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Zach shaves with a straight razor.

Chris first discovers this when he's hanging out after they'd returned from an afternoon's shopping. Zach is unpacking various bags of clothes and accessories he'd bought. He uses toenail clippers to snip the plastic tags from his purchases, making a pile of them on the bedspread. Chris futzes around the bedroom, making smalltalk and idly examining Zach's things, as he does when learning the quirks of a co-star he likes well enough to consider a friend. Well enough to go shopping with, which says a lot; he's never been one to wander up and down The Grove without a plan to get in and out as fast as possible.

The black leather grooming kit from which Zach had pulled the nail clippers lies closed on the top of the dresser, but not zipped up, so of course he investigates. Flipping it open, he finds another set of nail clippers, small scissors, various tweezers and combs, and three different knife-like handles tucked into elastic pockets. He pulls one out, struck by the vintage looking mother-of-pearl and damascus steel and quickly realizes exactly what it is.

For just a second, he considers all the weird shit that could be involved with this; Zach's hinted at questionable bedroom proclivities just to fuck with people, and he is rather known for playing a sociopath. Some actors go a little too method. But then Chris doubts it. Blood is just a little on the weird end of kink, even for Zach. Even so, this kit looks expensive, and well-used. The leather is pliable, parts of the velvet backing are rubbed smooth, and some loops of the elastic holding things in place are more stretched out than others.

"They rust."

"Huh?" Chris tries to cover yanking his hand away by scratching a fake itch on his neck, but Zach just nods to the kit, tucking the loop of a hanger under his chin while he works a new shirt onto it.

"If you keep them in the bathroom, they oxidize. The humidity," Zach says, and turns back to the closet.


The next time Chris thinks about it, they're having lunch out on the patio of a bistro outside of Studio City, and Zach is picking walnuts out of his salad.

"Dude, why did you get a Waldorf salad if you don't like walnuts?"

"Because I like all the other components together," Zach answers, dutifully checking for every latent speck of nut with his fork. "Anyway, the original Waldorf salad didn't have them." He glances up and to the left sharply at the sudden blaring of a car alarm nearby. There is a cut just to the left of his adam's apple.

Chris has gotten himself there more than a few times, but this cut is deeper than a typical safety razor nick. The scab on it is long, raised and reddish brown, the skin around it a little blotchy with irritation, and obviously the area around it isn't nearly so smooth as the rest of him. It occurs to Chris that when Zach is clean shaven, his skin is so perfectly smooth it's enviable. It goes with his neat-to-a-fault image.

"You could have ordered it without."

"And they'd have to make a whole new batch just to appease one person? Such a Hollywood-borne attitude, Christopher."


"Twice a day?!"

"Yeah," Zach says, standing at the sink in the make-up room. He's shaving with a regular Gillette disposable at the moment, and he's very carefully avoiding getting the upper half of his face or his Spock ears wet. Make-up will have to reapply his greenish base when they return to set. Fifteen hour work days are a bitch.

He puts down the razor, runs a washcloth under the steaming faucet, wrings it and dabs carefully at his smooth jaw, turning to Chris and patting his cheek as he heads out to the craft services for a late lunch. "I'm Italian, dude; it's a birthright."

"Hey, what about the eyebrows?" he calls after him gleefully, getting a middle finger in return.


Chris wakes in Zach's guest room after partying a little too hard the night before. He rolls over, assessing the situation here: he's slept in his t-shirt, but he's wearing a pair of sweats that are too long for him. His shoes have been placed neatly by the bedroom door, socks stuffed inside, jeans folded beside them. His wallet and phone are on the bedside table, right next to a glass of water and a couple of aspirins.

He smirks, head throbbing a little, takes the pills and rubs his eyes. He has to pee something fierce. There is music playing quietly from an adjacent room. Sounds like Emily Wells, whose dive bar performance Zach had dragged Chris to early on when they'd first started working together, and he'd ended up enjoying her slow beats and lyrics quite a bit.

He sits up and swings his feet to the hardwood, letting a little wave of nausea pass. Not the worst hangover he's ever had. Not too bad, actually, so he drains the rest of the water and stands to shuffle to the bathroom.

Zach is already in there, and the lights are too goddamn bright.

"Gotta piss," Chris announces, heading to the toilet while squinting so tightly against the fluorescence he can barely see to aim.

"By all means," Zach laughs behind him. He turns on the water, almost like he's helpfully providing a noise block, in case he's shy.

Once Chris has finished and his eyes are starting to adjust, he heads to the second sink to wash his hands, and notices the grooming kit lying open on the counter. One of the razors has been selected, a quite modern looking version with a smooth black lacquer handle, still folded closed and set near the sink. A leather strop is clipped on a little eyebolt set into the wall beside the towel rack that he's always wondered about. Zach's got the water in his own sink so hot that there's an arc of steam on the mirror above it, and a plush hand towel soaking inside. He lifts it out, wrings and folds it, then holds it against his face. He's shirtless, and a few little rivulets run down his neck into his chest hair.

Chris dries his own hands down the front of his t-shirt and leans against the wall beside the sink. Zach dunks the towel in the water again, shoots Chris a sidelong glance as he wrings and folds it again, the muscles in his forearms cording up with the twisting motion.

"What, are you gonna watch?" Zach asks with a smirk before he lifts the towel to his face a second time. His dark eyes regard Chris over the terrycloth.

"Gonna make it a good show?" he shoots back, and fuck it, hell yes, he's watching this. There's a certain romance to an old school shave, after all, it conjures up images of black and white movies, striped barber poles and luxury. He's never actually sat and watched someone do it to themselves. And Zach, being the metro hipster fashionista he is, of course he does a straight razor shave. It fits his whole persona to a T.

"You do this every morning?" he asks, crossing his arms.

"No," Zach speaks through an amused smile, picking up a bottle to squirt a little of its contents in his palms. He rubs them together before smoothing it over his stubbly jaw, still pink from the hot towel. "I do this maybe a once or twice a week. Or before an event or whatever. Anytime I'm supposed to turn up immaculate."

Chris thinks Zach looks immaculate even when he's scruffy, but he doesn't say so. He watches while Zach drains the water from the sink, and runs it hot again to fill a pewter mug. He wets and then dips an expensive looking badger bristle shaving brush into a tin of oily shaving soap and rubs it in neat circles, then starts applying it to his jaw just as meticulously.

Chris has, on several occasions now, teased Zach for the multitude of beauty products he has on his bathroom counter. Not that Chris doesn't have a few bottles of hair stuff and facial soaps in his own bathroom, but at least Chris' toiletries don't actually get their own designated suitcase when he travels. Zach has pomades, hair gels, face creams, exfoliators, lotions and potions, even a few cosmetics and concealers, as if he needs them; so many products that there's no room in the cabinets and drawers for them all. He picks up the stuff Zach has just put on his face, realizing it's probably sat there amongst the collection. Dobson's Pre-Shave Whisker Softening Oil For Coarse Beards, it declares itself in loopy letters. As he watches Zach lather up his face, he suddenly considers that maybe for something as ritualistic and decadent as this, all the excess might just be worth it. And there isn't really anything girly about Whisker Softening Oil For Coarse Beards, is there?

As Zach pulls the magnifying mirror out from the wall to its full extension, Chris runs a fingertip over the mother-of-pearl razor handle still sitting against the velvet of the case.

"I don't use that one," Zach says. "It was my dad's."

Chris' head is suddenly filled with images of a young Zach, a dark-haired boy watching his father do this in the mirror. Chris has a memory like that of his own, when he'd stood on a stool next to his dad and pretended to shave with a spoon at the age of six in Superman pajamas, desperate for the day when he'd be old enough to shave for real. The first time he'd done it as a teenager, though, he'd discovered that actually no, it's not at all manly or cool to shave when you have shitty skin and every stroke is burning agony, and you get a rash and nick zits and make pitted scars that will never fucking go away.

Chris fucking hates shaving. He pays attention to his body, uses the medicated soap his dermatologist prescribes, and flosses twice a day, but nine days out of ten he doesn't bother shaving if he can help it, or he'll stick with his trusty wet/dry electric once-over in the shower. His skin isn't quite so awful anymore, thankfully, but it's still always been a chore when he's working and is expected to be smooth-cheeked.

When Zach picks up the black-handled razor he's selected and opens it, Chris' eyes zero in. The thing looks intense, so fucking dangerous with its perfect platinum sheen in the bright lights, but in Zach's left hand, the open angle of it with three fingers on the back of the blade, thumb on the hinge and his pinky looped under the handle, it is disturbingly elegant. Chris can barely contain his inhale when Zach brings it up to the side of his cheek.

The first stroke is quite careful, setting an acute angle against his sideburn. Zach usually plays with where his sideburns sit, Chris knows from watching shows he's done in the past, but right now he has to stick with the forward-angled point of it from the top of his ear downward, the appropriate Vulcan shape.

He does both sides, checking that they are even in his magnified reflection. Then he sweeps the razor down the flat of his cheek in smooth, even, unhurried but fairly swift strokes, swirling the razor in the mug between each one. He lifts his head, angling the blade carefully over the edge of his jawline and down his neck. At his adam's apple he slows significantly, following the angles of it with the sort of minute precision he exhibits in other tasks as well, tying his ties, combing his hair, doing the Spock walk and talk.

When most of the foam is gone, Zach runs the sink again, wetting and wringing the hand towel to pat his face. Then he's reaching for yet another bottle in his arsenal, this one labeled Shaving Oil, and smooths it over his freshly shaven jaw, like a coating of honey against his pale skin. He empties the mug and refills it, rinsing the razor's edge one more time under the faucet, and then begins all over again, this time going against the grain, which is about a hundred times more dangerous looking with the oil collecting on the blade and dribbling down his thumb before he swirls it in the water and away.

Chris watches the whole ritual with rapt attention, barely daring to breathe. Zach's sure, steady hand and quick strokes say he's done this hundreds of times, that holding this freakishly dangerous object up to his throat doesn't scare him in the least, and that he's possibly the most suave motherfucker in the universe.

Zach wipes his face again with the towel, grabs for yet another bottle of lotion, rubbing it in his palms and smoothing it up his face and neck, and Chris becomes aware of the familiar aroma of bergamot and oak, a scent he's smelled around Zach so often before.

Rinsing the razor, Zach spends a great deal of time wiping it down with a dry towel and then with a tissue. Then he takes hold of the leather strop clipped to the wall and glides the razor up the length of it, flips it, and then down the other side of the blade, and repeats.

The rhythmic sound of it is vulgar to Chris' ears for some reason, a sound that is reminiscent of particularly dirty bits of sex, the slurp of someone messily sucking cock, the slap of skin against sweaty skin, the stretch-and-stick sound of a condom being unrolled. Then Zach flips the strop to the white linen side and repeats, and this sound is a different sort, like the slip of sheets over naked skin, whispers of sweet nothings, hair sliding across a pillowcase. Chris looks away from Zach's bare shoulder blades to think of ice water baths and bad diner food for a minute to try to will his morning wood back down in Zach's sweats. Or you know, it's morning, whatever, Zach's always been pretty good at averting his eyes where Chris' dick is involved. But he's getting flashes of last night back now, of Zach dumping him on the guest bed, helping him tug his shoes off and yanking at the cuffs of his jeans, these same sweatpants being thrown at his face, Zach's wide grin and sparkling coal eyes as the guest room door closed behind him.

Zach finally folds the razor back into itself and sets it down. He rinses out the cup, dries it inside and out, sets the tin of shaving soap inside it and puts it and the other three bottles he'd used back to the large product collection in neat baskets on the counter. He wipes out the sink and pushes the extendable mirror back flat against the wall. Unclipping the strop from the wall, he slides it through his hands to loosely curl it up and tuck it into a drawer, then tucks the razor back into the kit, stepping into Chris' space to zip the whole thing back up. And his brown eyes are dancing like they had last night in the bright lights as he takes Chris' hand.

Chris plays it like he doesn't want it, fights Zach's grip on his wrist only enough to act the macho man but he's laughing, and so is Zach. He's not fooling anyone, hell yeah he wants to touch, needs to see, so he finally relents and lets Zach press his palm up against his face, and then the laughing stops abruptly.

On the downstroke of his fingertips, the skin is fantastically smooth and soft, hydrated from the various oils and lotions, flush with perfect freshness. Pushing up against the grain, there's hardly a hint of the usual sandpapery effect he's used to on his own face. Even the edges of Zach's lips have no stubble around them as he boldly traces half of the top one with his thumb. The shadow that typically accompanies Zach's face is hardly discernible under his pale Irish-blooded skin tone. It'll only take a couple of hours before it'll be back, and by lunchtime, Zach's jawline will probably be insisting it's five o'clock. Zach is motionless through all of his exploration, and when Chris looks back at his eyes, there is something distinctively different about the way they stare at him.

"Like a baby butt," Chris says, needing to inject some sort of humor into this situation to defuse it. Zach grins wide, the muscle of his cheek changing shape under Chris' fingertips. His gaze drops down Chris' body like a pebble tossed down a precipice as Chris drops his hand, and yeah, these borrowed sweats don't do a thing to hide a hard-on. But it's morning, so whatever.

Zach draws his dark eyes back up to his face, grabs the shaving kit under one arm, and asks, "Coffee?" before he darts out of the bathroom.


Zach likes to listen to particular types of music, depending on what he's doing. When he's driving, it's classic Stones, Bowie, Queen or similar. When he's jogging it's Gaga, or Madonna, or Blondie. When he's shaving, it's Adele, or Emily Wells, sometimes Nina Simone. After a few mornings, Chris notices the theme.

Any time Chris is over in the early morning—which is pretty frequently as they go to the gym and out jogging around the neighborhood on a regular basis—and anytime he sees that shaving kit on the counter in the bathroom, he makes a point to hang around and watch. Zach lets him.


Chris walks over to Zach's and lets himself in. He's at least forty minutes early for their session with the trainer at the gym, but it's because he knows Zach will spend half an hour getting ready, and then he'll want coffee. He drops Zach's paper on the kitchen counter and scrubs Harold's head where he sits like Le Chat Noir on the arm of the sofa, demanding to be acknowledged. Noah stands up on his hind legs with a thump against the door to the backyard from the outside, tail wagging his whole body from side-to-side at Chris' presence.

"Hey buddy! Who's a good dog!" Chris exclaims, sliding the door open and letting Noah attack him. He's knocked down to the floor and gets a thorough face-washing before Noah turns to lap up water noisily from his dish.

K.D. Lang is crooning through the back of the house, so Chris picks himself up and heads to the glowing light of the bathroom, drumming on the hallway wall as he goes. "Zachary!"

"Christopher," Zach says, significantly more calmly as the razor slides along his skin.

"Why don't you wait to do this?" Chris asks, crossing his arms to lean in the doorway, though he's not lamenting the sight of it at all. "You're just gonna go get all gross and need to re-primp or whatever."

Zach grins at his reflection as he makes a clean stroke up his neck and pauses to turn and give him a look. "Not everyone goes to the gym just to work out."

Chris gasps over-dramatically, putting a hand on his chest, "You're… you're cruising during our special time together? Zach, how could you? I thought we were exclusive!"

"Baby, you don't put out," Zach quips to his reflection as he shaves, "It was never gonna work between us."

"So you only want me for my body—GYAH!" Chris yelps and jumps suddenly, feeling something cold and wet on the back of his knee beneath his basketball shorts. An instant later, Zach hisses and makes a pained "Ah!" noise under his breath, the fingers of his free hand pressing at his neck.

Noah wags from the bathroom doorway, licking at his dripping beard.

"NOAH, FUCKING GET OUTSIDE," Zach shouts, and the dog cringes away with a whimper and bolts down the hall.

"Shit," Chris stutters, "Sorry, I let him in."

"It's fine, just go put him back out," Zach says, teeth clenched as he pulls his fingers away to see a dark red smear under his jaw.

Chris' heart performs a nerve-wracking flip. "Fuck, you're bleeding!"

"Just put the fucking dog out, okay?" Zack snaps, and Chris hurries down the hall to find Noah sitting by the back door looking thoroughly ashamed. "Sorry, buddy," he whispers as he pushes the door open and the dog scoots outside with his tail between his legs.

Back at the bathroom, Chris turns the threshold with a little apprehension at what he could find, but it's not as bad as he imagined. Zach's already blotted the spot with a tissue, and is dabbing it with a styptic stick until it's stopped bleeding completely.

Chris can't keep his eyes off of it as Zach silently finishes. It's almost an inch long, right under the line of his jaw, deeper on one side. And it's right over his jugular. Zach's reflexes are very quick, but apparently, not quick enough when he's startled.

It was Chris' fault, not the dog's. If he hadn't flailed around like a lunatic, just from a playful poke from an innocent mutt, it never would have happened. He feels like a world class douchebag.

Zach cleans up the bathroom, fusses with his hair a little, and pokes at the cut in the mirror again before he turns to head out, and Chris stops him with a hand on his arm, "Hey. I'm sorry, it's my fault. If I hadn't jumped when he—"

Zach just claps him on the shoulder, "No big deal, man, it happens. Is he outside?"

Chris nods and follows until Zach slides open the back door, closes it behind him and sits cross-legged on the grass. Chris watches as Noah timidly comes out from a corner of the yard and slowly approaches Zach's beckoning with his head low and tail down in submission. When he's close enough, Zach's hands are gentle, soothing, and being the pound pup that he is, Noah soon snuggles up in Zach's embrace and forgives.

Chris still feels like someone should smack him with a newspaper, though. Repeatedly.


Striding up the walk, Chris can hear Noah barking from the backyard as the town car idles behind him, waiting to take them downtown to Grauman's. He lets himself in, tugs on his cuffs as he turns to the hallway where he expects Zach is still preening—but the bathroom light is surprisingly off.


"In here," says a voice from the little desk in one corner of his living room where his laptop sits. He's dressed to impress with a shiny charcoal suit and a blue tie, leaning over the desk chair rather than sitting in it to type on the laptop.

"You ready?" Chris asks, hitching his thumb over his shoulder, "Car's outside."

"Yeah, let me just…" Zach says, tilting his head to squint at a credit card in his hand. He glances up at him briefly, and then does a double-take. "Wow."

Chris raises his eyebrows and smiles, rubbing at the back of his freshly cut hair. Zach actually leaves the computer to run a hand down the lapel of Chris' jacket and look at the cufflinks. "You didn't show me this one," he says, stepping back to look at the whole picture of Chris in his three piece suit.

He feels himself go pink under that gaze. "Yeah, the tailor almost didn't have it done, I just picked it up like three hours ago. Almost went with the blue one instead."

"Never wear the blue one. Like ever." Zach wrinkles his nose, coming closer to trace the top button on the striped waistcoat, and smooth a polkadot tie. "This, though, this is fabulous. You look edible."

"Yeah?" Chris licks his lips. He's still not quite sold on all this whole A-list, getting a stylist to dress you at every premiere shit, but if Zach approves this sincerely then it must be okay. Usually he spends plenty of time criticizing Chris' wardrobe at every opportunity (and Chris helpfully shoots down Zach's, because it's only fair). Zach looks good too, his own suit well-fitted and hair styled to perfection. But Chris raises a tentative hand to poke his stubbly chin. "No clean shave, Cary Grant? I'm shocked."

Zach smiles almost demurely down at his shined shoes, darting back to the desk to tuck his credit card back into his wallet and close the laptop. "I ran out of my shaving soap, like three days ago. That's what I was ordering, just now. I hope it gets here before we leave on this fucking tour."

"What, because regular old shaving cream won't work?"

Zach rolls his eyes, pocketing his wallet and phone and strokes Chris' cheek (freshly shaved with a Mach3, and he didn't even nick). "Sweetheart, when you shave with a $400 razor, you don't ever use shit that came out of a whipped cream can."

"Not very hipster of you," Chris laughs, "You might be more Hollywood than I am."

"I'm about to be Spock to the masses, Leonard says I can step out of my box."

"Oh, well, if Leonard says," Chris smiles. "Ready?"

Zach comes close to straighten Chris' tie and grins wide. "Let's do this thing."


One Saturday morning Chris wakes up on Zach's sofa still in his clothes, which is where he'd crashed after they'd played Halo until they died more times than they made any progress, and then turned the TV to infomercials and argued the merits of the Jim Kordach Powergrind Pro (Chris' choice) verses the Juiceman All-In-One Extractor (Zach's preferred model) over a forgotten Scrabble game.

He can hear Lana del Rey drifting through from the back end of Zach's house, and he's on his feet in two seconds, heading for the bathroom and catching Zach halfway through the second pass, the against-the-grain part of the ritual. Dammit.

He's not totally quiet, clearing his throat and making no sudden moves until he's sure Zach sees him in the mirror.

He heads over to the toilet to pee, listening to the rhythm of Zach's stroke-and-swirl of the blade, up his face, then into the pewter cup, tap-tap to knock off the water and repeat. By the time Chris flushes and comes up beside him to wash his hands, Zach's wiping his face with the towel and reaching for his aftershave lotion.

"You missed it," Zach says, a soft smile playing at his lips as he smoothes the cream into his skin. "Sorry."

Chris stares at Zach's reflection in the mirror and then directly at him. A coherent response, or more accurately an adequate lie to cover his disappointment, fails to pop into his head when he needs one. Lana's dulcet voice ebbs in from the iPod in the bedroom: likes to watch me in the glass room bathroom, Chateau Marmont, slippin' on my red dress, puttin' on my makeup. Zach is still caressing his own jaw like the very feel of it turns him on. He's clad only in a soft looking pair of light grey sweatpants.

"I wa— Uh…" is what Chris says, and Zach laughs, shaking his head. He dumps the cup and rinses it out, but leaves it on the counter, hands finding and shifting the bottles of preshave oil, shaving oil, and after shave lotion into a row before he steps into Chris' space on the premise of sliding his thumb over the silver handle in his kit, tugging it out of its elastic.

He holds the etched handle up to the light and pulls it smoothly open. This one isn't a single, solid blade like the others, it's just a holder for a disposable razor blade to slide into, though it flips open and is held just like a real straight edge. Zach digs out a plastic case of disposable blades from the kit, and deftly slides a fresh new blade onto the silver handle.

"You don't use that one," Chris comments. He's only ever seen Zach use the lacquer handled one.

"I do, actually. I travel with this one," Zach corrects, still smiling, "Airport Security doesn't look at you quite as funny if you have a factory-wrapped package of them in a checked bag. Plus it's cheaper to replace if they lose it."

"Relevance?" Chris asks, folding his arms across his chest. Now that he's wide awake, he's back on his game.

This earns a grin from Zach. "I was just thinking you could give it a try today. I thought a bum was sleeping on my sofa this morning."

Zach reaches up to pat Chris' cheek, which has more than two week's worth of scruff on it, of the kind which would require he break out the Barbasol and do the deed, as much as he hates it. He's mostly been waiting for a stubborn zit on his chin to heal up. The idea of doing it with a straight razor is fucking alarming.

"What? No," he refuses, shaking his head adamantly, "No."

"Why not?" Zach tilts, concerned. "You're always over here watching me, I figure you're at least curious about it."

Chris darts his tongue across his mouth, mind shuffling through however many ways he really is curious about this. "Sure I am, but it's… that's…" He struggles for words. "I'm not good at shaving with a regular razor, man, I'd end my career with that thing, if not my life." He laughs incredulously on the last word, but he'd dead serious. He hasn't forgotten that cut on Zach's neck, however long ago it's disappeared now.

Zach considers for a moment, licking his lips on a laugh as his eyes dart off to the side, "I meant that I'd do it for you. If you want."

And that changes everything. Chris' stomach nearly drops through the floor with his jaw, which he snaps back up to keep from looking like a complete idiot. Zach wants to shave him. With a goddamn straight razor.

"Are you gonna eat my brains when you're done?" he shoots off, because fuck, defuse, disarm.

"Do you want me to?" Zach grins, and yeah, it's the scary Sylar grin, made all the more effective by the fact that his eyebrows have grown back in. Then it morphs into something more dorky, typical Zach as he shrugs, slipping the silver handled razor back into the case. "Call it a standing offer," he says as he rinses the lacquer handled one and dries it, and that really could be the end of it. He starts to work it up and down the strop, the lurid, rhythmic sound of it never failing to turn Chris' thoughts.

He reaches over to pull the silver handled razor back out of the case, looking at it skeptically and opening it up. It's practically designed, not quite as sexy as the lacquer handled one, and nowhere near the quality of the mother of pearl and damascus steel that had been Zach's father's, but it's clean and deadly sharp, the bright new blade shining in the overhead lights.

When Zach turns back to find it in his hand, he's got questions ready. "Have you ever done this before? To another person."

Zach's mouth curls, closing his own razor and coming forward to tuck it away. "Yes."

"And where are they buried?"

"Saskatchewan," Zach deadpans, before rolling his eyes at him with a smile. "I've never cut anyone but myself, I promise. Not to say it couldn't happen, and I'd feel like the asshole of the century if it did."

"That's not very comforting," Chris murmurs, eyes darting to where that cut had been on Zach's neck. There isn't even a scar. "Okay, so, how do we do this? Should I stand or sit or what?"

Zach goes very, very still, and only his nostrils flare a little as he breathes through them. A swallow works through his throat, ultra smooth adam's apple bobbing as he gently takes the silver razor from Chris hands, closes it, and sets it on the counter. "Stay here."

He slips past and out the bathroom door, leaving Chris to wonder if this is actually the worst idea ever. He glances around at the scattering of objects that make up the ritual: the towels, lotions and oils, the strop still swinging slightly from its hook. He starts the hot water running, letting it get to scalding before he pulls the drain stop and then tugs his t-shirt off over his head, wadding it and pushing it out of the way on the sink top. From the bedroom, the music volume is ticked up just a hair, and Lana sings, 'Cuz I like you quite a lot, everything you've got, don't you know? It's you that I adore, though I make the boys fall like dominos.

Chris leans his hands on the sink and sighs at his scruffy reflection, wondering what the hell he's doing. If he's really clinically interested in this, he ought to go to a professionally trained barber, for fuck's sake. Someone you trust with your life because you don't know them from Adam and you're paying them not to pull a Sweeney Todd on your ass. Or your throat, as it were. He pokes at the spot on his chin, almost gone, and pushes his fingers though the rest, hoping there's nothing under there that will make this difficult. Zach's well-versed enough with dragging a razor sharp edge over his own perfectly flawless skin, but Chris' could be a challenge.

Zach returns carrying one of the stools from his kitchen bar; it's taller than a chair but not too tall, post-deco diner in its design with a round black leather seat and a low-set, curving back rest. He sets it down in front of the sink and then opens the linen cabinet to pull out a couple of fresh towels. He's put on one of those fitted white undershirts, and Chris eyeballs his own t-shirt on the counter, suddenly feeling a little naked.

"I was hoping you went to make coffee," he smiles. Defuse.

Zach shakes his head with amused noise, putting one clean, folded hand towel on the counter and pushing the second under the hot water Chris had run, looking back up at him. "I don't think either of us needs caffeine right now. I don't want my hands to shake."

Fuck, right. Chris stands dumbly and watches Zach move to the unused second sink to wash his hands with soap, dry them and then arrange things on the sink top within reach, wondering if he's just as nervous. Finally, Zach indicates the stool. "Sit."

"Facing you, or…?"

"The mirror. It'll be easier." Zach says and Chris sits, knees bumping up against the cabinets, regarding his own reflection and Zach beside him. He pulls the soaked towel from the steaming water and wrings and folds it, moving around behind him and then gently draping it around the lower half of Chris' face. It's hot, but comfortably so, and he can feel Zach's forearms against his ears as his hands press and smooth it against his jaw and neck, the back of his head bumping against Zach's chest. "Plus I know you like to watch," he says lowly, wickedly grinning upside down at him from above.

Chris is prevented from snarking right back at that by the hand pressing the towel over his mouth, careful not to block his nose.

They're uneasily silent through the second dunking and wrapping of the hot towel, Chris' skin now feeling hot and damp while Zach sets the towel aside and reaches for the pre-shave oil, squirts a dollop into his palm and rubs it between his hands.

"Did you want me to, uh…" Chris asks, leaning forward a little. It's admittedly a little weird to let another dude rub oil over your face.

"No," Zach smiles, circling back behind him and watching them both in the mirror while he swipes the oil over Chris' scruff, up his cheeks and then where it grows down his neck a ways. Zach's hands are warm, fingers moving in gentle circles to push the oil down to skin level and get everything well-coated. It feels good, Chris won't deny that, and Zach's hands aren't hesitant or shaky, which is actually comforting, that he has no qualms at all about touching another man this intimately.

"You totally get off on this, don't you," Chris accuses. Because let's be real.

Zach's fingers stop and he grips Chris' shoulder, leaning over to look him in the face. "If I say yes, are you gonna run away screaming and never talk to me again?" His voice is playful, but his eyes are serious.

Chris lets a giggle erupt, smiling wide under his hot face. "No."

"Good," Zach grins as well, biting his lip as he comes back around to one side and reaches for the badger brush and the tin of soap. "Yes, I get off on this."

Chris watches Zach rinse the brush thoroughly, then scrub it into the soap tin to work up a good lather. "Why?"

Zach stands to one side of him, using the fingers of the hand holding the soap tin to tip Chris' chin up into the light, the foamy brush poised in the air as their eyes meet, "Because it's incredibly sexy to be allowed to do this to someone else."

Chris swallows, his adams apple moving against the knuckle of Zach's hand as the brush descends and rubs smooth circles of foam into his beard. His heart is pounding so hard he's afraid Zach can see it under his bare chest (why did he take his shirt off again?), feel the pulse throbbing in his neck. He feels intensely vulnerable, because yeah, Zach has all the power over him in the world right now, he's about to hold a sharp-as-fuck razor blade up against his face for the next twenty minutes and it might as well be a loaded gun or a katana or something.

Which is stupid. Actually, no, if he wanted to, Chris could stand up right now and say You know what, buddy, I'm a little freaked out, let's just forget it and I'll make us some omelets, and things would probably be slightly awkward for a minute, but then cool, because Zach's his friend and they've accepted each other's numerous quirks. They have a relationship that is both personally and professionally based on honesty, bro code and having fun. Chris agreed to this madness, and he can end it at anytime, it's not like Zach is going to strap him down. If he was, he probably would have done it already.

So when Zach rinses the brush, pulls one of the drawers in the center of the sink cabinet all the way to the end of its track to set the cup of water and a towel inside so they're within easy reach, Chris folds his hands in his lap and stays where he is.

Doesn't stop him from keeping his eyes on the razor though, the deadly gleam of it as Zach picks it up from the counter and moves around behind him. Chris is suddenly enormously grateful for the mirror, allowing him to see the way Zach unfolds it and holds it elegantly in his left hand for a moment, almost hefting it like it has a slightly different balance point than his favored lacquer handle. He can also see how Zach closes his eyes and inhales a deep, slow breath, yoga-like in its stillness, centering himself. He opens them again, placing his free hand on Chris' shoulder as he steps in close behind him. The razor is still held off to the side.

His hand smooths down Chris' chest over his shoulder, stopping right over his heart where it's thumping hard against his ribs, feeling exactly how nervous he is. Their eyes meet in the mirror, something indefinable passing between them in the seriousness of the situation. Then Zach draws his hand back up, one finger penetrating the foam to tip his chin upward.

"Rest your head back. Against my chest," he instructs in a very soft, low voice, almost the same one he uses to soothe the cat when something ruffles him up. "And relax a little, you're freaking me out."

Chris blurts a little laugh at that and obeys, putting his elbows on the low ends of the stool's back rest and feeling the solidity of Zach's chest behind him. In a real barber's shop, he'd be in a fancy brass chair that tips way back, and the barber would absolutely not be touching him this way, but the position gives him a little bit of something familiar to brace against.

"Where do you like your sideburns?" Zach asks, still holding the razor down at his side, and the anticipation is nearly driving Chris nuts.

"Uh. Mid-ear, I guess?" he says, then amends, "And watch the uh, mole, on the right side."

"I know," Zach says. He finally brings the razor up to Chris' face and waits for him to see it up close, waits for him to take a breath and meet his eyes in the mirror, waits for the silent permission to pass between them. Chris inhales, swallows, and closes his eyes.

"Open, Chris, I really don't want you jumping the first time I touch you," Zach murmurs above him, and the thumb of his right hand gently braces against his jaw. Chris has to force his eyes back open, seeing Zach's downturned gaze watching him from under his brows in the reflection. "And breathe," he says. "You have to breathe normally." Chris lets out the breath he'd been holding and just like that the razor is on him before he has a chance to react at all.

It slides smoothly down from his sideburn to his jawline, lightly, and it doesn't burn or scrape like his normal razor at home. It's just smooth, like butter, sliding down his cheek and leaving nothing, not even a single hair in its wake.

The tinkle of it being swirled in the pewter cup is familiar, and with the next stroke, Chris feels himself starting to relax. Zach's lips turn up as he continues his next few strokes down the left side of Chris' face.

"Not so bad, huh?" he says, as he wraps around to the other side.

"No," Chris hums, watching in the mirror as Zach slows at the sideburn of his right ear, the thumb of his free hand searching for the mole on that side as he very carefully strokes the blade close around it. There's no sting, and no blood where Chris has so many times nicked himself on that damned thing, so he can only assume Zach was successful. "So precise," he mutters, seeing Zach smile in the mirror.

"Always, Captain."

Zach finishes the flat of his right cheek, and then his fingers tip his chin up and back even more to bring his neck straight up. Zach doesn't have to tell him to not to move, watching the concentration in his eyes as he feels Zach's free hand pull the skin of his neck down toward his collarbones. The razor slides downward along his neck on one side then the other. But when he gets to strip down the middle of his throat, Zach rumbles, "Don't swallow," and Chris can't help himself.

"You sure?" he cracks up, "I thought you guys liked that."

Zach's upside down face breaks wide open and his diaphragm spazzes against the back of Chris' head with laughter. "Shut up," he snorts through giggles, and has the presence of mind to take the razor away and swirl it in the cup for a minute while he gets himself back under control. When he clears his throat and tips Chris' head back up where he wants it, he looks smolderingly down at him and says, "For the record, I do like it, but now's not the time, sweetheart."

"Later, then."

It's out of his mouth before he can stop it, and fuck, he didn't mean to make it sound as blatant as it did. He closes his eyes so he doesn't have to see Zach's face, but it doesn't matter, he can feel it in the pause of his chest behind him, the tension in the hand spread on his collarbone, hear it in the deep breath Zach takes from above and behind him.

Then the hand is tipping and stretching his skin, and the razor is back against his throat. "Don't move."

He doesn't, and Zach shaves the rest of his neck, jaw and the round of his chin before letting him relax his head again.

Zach's watching him darkly in the mirror now, fingers smoothing along the angles of his jawline, and his right hand now braces carefully against the whole of his neck, tipping him back upward. "No more talking. I'm going to do your mouth," he says, and just as Chris is wondering if that was a reprimand for crossing a line or an actual command in a brand new dynamic, Zach leans down to speak close enough to his ear that his lips brush against it, "And yes, Christopher, I'm thinking what you're thinking I'm thinking. Be still, because I don't want that mouth out of commission."

Okay. Lines crossed and dynamic officially tilted way off kilter. There are so many ways Chris could end this situation, but as it stands, Zach has a razor blade in one hand and his neck in the other, hot breath puffing against his freshly shaven jaw. His blood is thrumming under his skin and he's rock hard in his jeans, so yeah, he's going to comply, he's going to be silent, and he's going to be good.

Zach remains crouched down, looking at him with the razor hand draped over his shoulder and the other delicately gripping his chin. "Open your mouth, and suck in your lips a little," he instructs, so close his hair is brushing Chris' temple. Chris hesitates, and Zach rolls his eyes, "I don't need you to look sexy right now, Chris. Open your mouth."

Chris can feel his cheeks burning, and not from the shave. He's not an idiot, he knows exactly what this looks like, but he obeys, feeling Zach's breath puff hard over his cheek as the razor comes back to his chin, shaving down the underpart of his bottom lip. "Don't stop until I say," Zach breathes, and Chris' eyes drop closed as he feels the razor's edge working delicately around the edges of his mouth, stroking down his upper lip, Zach's fingers tugging the skin tight where he needs it, his toothpaste breath heavy against his cheek.

"Good," he finally says, fingers stroking along the edges of Chris' lips. "You can relax."

When he opens his eyes Zach is standing up, swirling the razor in the cup, and leaving it for a minute as he uses the damp towel to wipe Chris' face, rubbing a full palm over his cheek for a second and smiling before he reaches for the shaving oil. "So clean," he says, smoothing the honey-colored oil over Chris' now naked cheeks. "You almost don't need a second pass."

Chris groans, unsure if he can even survive another pass. He can barely even surreptitiously hunch and scoot to tug down legs of his jeans and get a little more room in them with Zach's eyes on him.

Zach just snickers, grinning at him in the mirror, "You look pretty, Princess Pine."

"Hey now, don't start that again, come on," Chris grumbles, but Zach tilts his head backward and places a pecking kiss to his hairline and one oily finger over his mouth.

"Hush," he says, wiping his hands on the towel and picking up the razor again, "This'll be quicker."

"You just want to keep telling me lean up against you and make blowjob lips," Chris complains, watching Zach's face in the mirror.

Zach's expression is a downturned half-grin as he swipes the razor on the towel, looking at it speculatively and picking something deftly off of the handle. "Guilty as charged."

Their eyes meet in the mirror, and the dynamic has shifted again. Chris feels like he's got his bearings back if he can get Zach to admit this. And yet the fact that he's owning up to it is better than Chris can say. He isn't even sure why he's spent the better part of a year with a boner every time he sees Zach with the razor in his hand.

Zach's behind him again, free hand coming around to tilt his chin upwards, leaning his head back against his chest again. He's smiling down at him, but he doesn't say anything, just licks his lips, tilts Chris' head to one side and draws the razor all the way up the side of his neck and face. One smooth stroke against the grain, then again, and again, strokes overlapping each other. It doesn't pull or catch, just glides up his face like silk.

Over his chin, Zach's fingertips touch and trace, finding minute remnants of hair, pulling the skin this way and that to work around imperfections. The same around his lips, which he doesn't make him stretch this time, the razor's short strokes work around them, vigilantly removing every stray hint of stubble along the edges, and Zach's fingertips follow and caress the curves. When their eyes meet, Zach's are like embers in his upside down face, teeth coming over his lip from time to time.

"Okay," Zach murmurs, setting the cup with the razor in it on the counter and shutting the open drawer before he swipes at him with the towel and leans over his shoulders to regard them both in the mirror. His hand comes up to smooth his fingertips down one side of Chris' cheek, and then the knuckles of his same hand down the other. "See?" he purrs, his nose bumping Chris' face as he turns to him. "It's so worth it."

He lets him go, reaching for the bottles on the counter as Chris stands up, tugging his jeans a bit to adjust while Zach's occupied, and looks at his face in the mirror, finally raising his own hands to touch it. It feels downright sinful. Smooth, no irritation at all, not even on his problem areas. He rumbles an appreciative noise and turns back to Zach to mention it, but gets lotiony hands on his face instead, laced with that familiar scent.

Zach moves closer to work it gently into his skin. It doesn't burn like Chris' aftershave at all, it just feels cool and then warm and tingly under Zach's fingertips smoothing it into his skin and neck. When it's all gone, Zach's hands remain, and the sounds of their breathing occupies the inches of space between them. Chris can't help darting his tongue nervously over his lips, watching from this close as Zach's eyes zero in and dilate, and he's not sure what to do with his own hands but let them hang dumbly with his thumbs tucked in his jean pockets.

"So, when you do this to other guys," he whispers, his voice sounding loud to his own ears, "What happens now?"

Zach's hands slide down to Chris' shoulders on an exhale, his eyes dropping down between them, and there's no way in hell he can't notice the hard-on Chris is sporting. "This is usually when the kissing starts, but..." Zach murmurs, gaze sliding off to the side and out of dangerous territory, "I should just clean up. And then we can..." He lets Chris go, darting around him to dump out the cup and drain the sink, moving to clean up, "I can break out the Juiceman and show you what a real glass of Blueberry Apple Pear juice is supposed to be."

Chris shakes his head. That's not how this is supposed to go. He turns and stills Zach's hands as they run a tissue over the razor, slowly to pull it safely from his grasp. He wants to crack a joke, but he's also walking a fine line here and he knows it. Zach's breathing is just this side of unnerving, and there's a pink flush under his smooth cheeks.

"Could cut the tension in here with… a knife," Chris murmurs, looking at the straight razor as he folds it closed with a finger and sets it on the counter. He grins wide as Zach rolls his eyes and snorts half a giggle, shaking his head with eyes sparking back at him. Then the amusement melts off his face just as quickly, eyes dropping down Chris chest and then averting guiltily across the small, bright room. "I might've had… lascivious intentions when I talked you into this."

"No shit."

The bluntness pulls another smile to Zach's face, and Chris reaches up to feel just how smooth, taking a step closer, his heart beating wildly in his chest as he rumbles, "So, this is when the kissing starts."

Zach's face flashes astonished and overwhelmed as Chris brushes their lips together. There's a gasp and a hesitant kiss back, right before Zach's hand is pressed against Chris' stomach, inching him back. "Chris…"

"I don't even know, man, just go with it," Chris stutters against his lips, "I want it."

There's an explosion of breath and Zach against him, steering him back until his ass is against the sink top, hips against his own, hands and mouth everywhere. That unsure, timid Zach is long gone, replaced by the driven, dauntless one he's seen shades of before, sometimes in roles, or with other guys at clubs, but most often in the mornings, dragging the razor over his jaw.

The kissing is stunning, lips that are absolutely masculine, strong, demanding, biting, sucking and soothing against his own lips, his jaw, his neck. His skin is so goddamn smooth, yet with the barest hint of grit to it to remind him that this is Zach attacking him like he wants to eat him from breakfast. All Chris can do is fist his hands in that undershirt and try to keep up. This is nothing—and everything—like he expected it might be and more, when Zach starts talking.

"Do you have any idea what a goddamn tease you are?" Zach growls against his throat, between biting kisses and licks and hitched breaths. "Over here watching me every other fucking day, and every time, Chris, every time, you'd get hard for me. And I couldn't do a fucking thing."

A laugh gurgles up under the haze of lust Chris is stuck in, "You noticed that, huh?"

Zach sucks in a breath through is teeth up against Chris' smooth cheek, one hand slipping down his hip and grabbing hold of him in his jeans so completely without preamble that Chris gasps and moans in surprise, hips canting right up into it.

"This," Zach breathes, "is hard not to fucking notice." His movements slow, leaning hard against him, cheek to cheek and looking down between their bodies as his hand molds to the shape of him, squeezes, strokes and glides down to cup his balls, making Chris nearly bite through his lip and still not manage to keep whimpers from falling out of his mouth, because fuck, how is Zach's hand so steady and sure and talented as it is on that razor?

"Every time I knew you were coming, or if you slept over, I'd make sure I'd shave in the morning," Zach murmurs, nudging a thigh between Chris' as his hand keeps working him, but letting him crush his own very hard cock in his sweatpants up against Chris' hip. "I'd turn the music up just loud enough, put the dog out, and wait for you to wake up. You snore, by the way."

Chris finds the braincells to grate out a laugh at that, and an answer, "I don't snore."

"You snore like a little pug dog," Zach grins, pushing his nose against Chris' face, trailing lazy kisses along his jaw, "When you sleep on your tummy, and you're all spread out across the bed. You drool a little, too."

"You watch me sleeping?" Chris stutters out a breath, pulling back a little to look at him weirdly.

"You watch me shaving, dude."

Chris has to concede to that, dropping both hands to the edge of the sink top for leverage to push his hips harder against Zach's hand and his cock with a huff.

"Fuck," Zach growls, kissing him hard again as his fingers drag up to the button, "Can I…?"

"Please," Chris breathes, and Zach is peeling his fly apart, shoving his jeans down to rub his palm over him through the cotton of his briefs, thumb skating over the damp spot where he's leaking. "Oh god," Chris bleats, grabbing the hard, clenching muscle of Zach's bicep. They kiss fierce and deep, tongues fighting and teeth clacking, and each time they stop to breathe, Zach's nuzzling against his face and neck, leaning down to suck biting kisses into his collarbones, rubbing the subtle texture of his jaw against Chris' skin.

Chris' hands realize they can touch, now that he's felt a bit of Zach under them. Zach's body is hard and sinewy, some parts virtually hair free and others, hairy as fuck. He's seen it often, but now he wants to touch, tugs at the undershirt until Zach gets the message. He's left aching when Zach's hand has to leave him to yank the shirt off over his head and throw it somewhere, but as soon as it's gone Zach's hands are back and pushing his underwear down to meet his jeans until his cock falls heavily into Zach's hand. Chris' hands in turn push Zach's sweats down by the hips, the trail of hair under his belly button culminating into dark, trimmed curls, and Zach helpfully scoops himself out before he crushes the pair of them together from mouth to balls against the sink top.

Chris can hardly control the sound he makes at that first hot, draggy slide of another hard cock against his own. This is insane, and he can't remember feeling this desired in his life as Zach is sucking marks into his neck and shoulders, hands sliding up the muscle of his back and then down over his ass. And he talks. He's a chatty fucker, and despite conversations that skated near sex, they never really got too deep into that discussion because Zach went all smiley and mysterious, probably under the premise of sparing Chris the details. This might have been why.

"Fuck, Chris, you should see what you look like," Zach groans against his skin, eyes over his shoulder at the reflection in the mirror, "Your bare ass all over my sink, little marks where your pockets rubbed, when you were squirming around trying to make room for this cock of yours. Like you thought I wouldn't notice." Zach's fingers come down and squeeze at the muscle of his ass appreciatively, pulling him into his own hips, "Oh my god, I could flip you over right here and just go to fucking town on you." Then he's dropping his hands under Chris' ass and lifting him up, feet leaving the floor by a few inches so he's sitting on the edge of the sink. Chris' hands flail back to catch himself, knocking the cup and a bottle of something clattering into the sink before Zach is between his spread thighs and reaching down to grab both of them in his big hand.

Chris' nearly shouts at the feel of it, crushed against hot, damp heat. Zach pauses to grab for a bottle and seconds later it's back and making everything glossy and slippery, his free arm wrapped around Chris' lower back to keep them tight together as he pumps through his own fist and up against Chris with a groan, making fireworks go off behind his eyes. They're kissing again, and for a minute Chris just lets Zach arch him backwards with it, pushing his mouth wide and his tongue deep, demanding everything he has, the circuits firing between his mouth and his cock driving everything. Then Chris wraps his arms around Zach's neck, legs curling around Zach's solid thighs to drive up against him and get as much of this as he possibly can have.

Zach's pubes are coarse against his balls, nearly painfully so, but every time he thrusts up through his hand, the crown of Zach's prick drags up against Chris' slit. He's right on the edge of exploding, breath hitching little sounds with each movement. It's pooling in his balls when he wonders the protocol for this, if maybe he should give a warning. But then Zach pulls his mouth away and grunts against his neck with hot, panting breaths and a strained voice, "Oh god, I'm so fucking close." His hand flies between them painfully hard and fast.

"Fuck, Zach, please, I'm gonna—" Chris grits out and then comes hard, feeling it splatter hot on his stomach, and and instant later Zach is doubling the wetness, spurting high against Chris' belly and gasping against his neck, grip tight and too fucking intense before it relents to sweaty, sticky heat. Chris collapses back at an awkward angle with his head and shoulders against the mirror, lungs searching for air and legs falling to hang from the sink top, which he'd probably melt right off if Zach wasn't braced on wide legs over him, panting into Chris' neck.

After a few heavy, shuddery breaths, Zach's pulling himself back upright, one hand reaching back to tug his sweats up and then pulling Chris into a sitting position to let him drape over his body and hug him close. "Sorry. Uh. I usually... usually move things to the bedroom before that," he inhales and then laughs, bumping his forehead into Chris shoulder for a second before he pulls him off the counter, back to his feet and watches over his shoulder in the mirror as he tugs Chris underwear back up over his ass. His hands don't leave it, though.

"Right," Chris searches blearily for a joke, "Usually you're suave right to the end? That oil's fucking amazing."

Zach presses their foreheads together, looking at the bottle he'd grabbed for in the heat of the moment and laughs, "That shit's expensive, man. Not meant to be lube. Well, not for this." He cups a gentle hand around Chris, earning a hiss and a groan with how sensitive he is. Zach breathes in his ear, "Usually I don't have to put on such a goddamn show to fuck someone I've wanted since I laid eyes on him either."

"Bullshit," Chris laughs. He can't imagine that. Zach's always been his buddy, his bro. Their flirting had always been sort of arbitrary. Right?

"God, you're an idiot," Zach murmurs and kisses him deep, making it hard for Chris to run the events of the last few minutes back in his head.

He breaks the kiss with a suctiony noise, "Wait, you set all this up so I'd watch? All this time?"

"Well, not all the time," Zach admits, "Not until the last few times, I guess. Maybe not even consciously. I just like it when you watch me."

"I didn't watch today. I missed it."

"You passed out on my couch. Not in the guest room. I guess the music wasn't loud enough." Zach laughs, pushing his clean hand through his floppy hair. "You looked so cute, I didn't want to wake you."

Chris looks down at himself, jeans around his thighs and undies not exactly containing him, stomach covered in oil and more jizz than he's frankly used to seeing there. "I dunno that you get to call me cute looking like this," he mutters, face going hot.

"No?" Zach gropes for the damp towel still on the counter and gently wipes up the mess between them, tucking Chris back into his underwear and pulling the jeans up, though leaving the fly undone, and the crowds him back against the sink, "God, you're so fucking sexy when you come," Zach kisses him, languid lips and tongue and the rough smooth rub of his chin making him melt into it. His hands are back on his face when he pulls back, smiling, "And you're incredibly cute when you blush."

And this just makes Chris's face flare up more, closing his eyes against it, though Zach just kisses over them in a gesture that's sweeter than it has a right to be after that.

"What I really want to know is why my shaving does it for you."

Chris groans frustration. He should have seen that question coming. "I don't know," he rumbles, scrubbing at his hair, "Wait, since you laid eyes on me… you mean at the audition? Or the thing?"

"Both. I have eyes," Zach grins, reaching down to squeeze his ass again. "Anyway, don't try to distract and redirect."

Chis bites his lip that he can't slip it past him. "So you did just want my ass."

"I haven't had your ass yet," Zach fires back, tilting his head, "Why does shaving make a pretty much straight boy get hard for a guy, Chris?"

Chris tips his head backward in exasperation, but all this does is make Zach laugh and mouth kissy little bites along its smoothness, which tickles and makes him giggle. "I don't know, man. It's so you."

"So me?"

"The whole straight razor thing. All fancy and old Hollywood and shit."

"Doesn't explain the hard-ons," Zach murmurs under his ear.

Chris huffs, feeling a little uncomfortable now. "Does it have to have a label on it?"

Zach pulls fully back, moving his hands to the safe territory of Chris' arms and then drops them completely, pushing a hand through his hair. "No. It… you're right. Shit." He covers his face with both hands in the way he does when he's annoyed and ashamed of himself, and it's so hard to believe this is the same guy who essentially seduced Chris into overstepping his boundaries ten minutes ago. Zach bends to grab his undershirt from the floor and stands back up to tug it on, backwards, which just makes him swear. Chris can't help but snort a laugh at how cute he is.

How cute he is, is what Chris just thought about his friend.

"You can, uh, you can use my shower, if you want," Zach stutters, tugging the shirt on the right way with his shoulders hunched, "There are clean towels in the cabinet and I'll just…"

"Stop," Chris says, taking his arms to still him, and then pull him into a hug because he wants to.

"God, I feel like an asshole," Zach whispers.

"You are an asshole," Chris grins, pulling back to look him in the face, and taking a deep breath, "It's just cool to watch you. I don't know what it means, but I like it."

Zach exhales, pushing their foreheads together, and arching his brows at the same time to look at him. "Still doesn't explain the hard-ons."

"Asshole," Chris retorts with no conviction. The words for this feel stupid in his mouth. "You're just… really hot sometimes, okay? Like Cary Grant. I'm an actor, I'm allowed to think Cary Grant was sexy."

Zach's eyes go squinchy as he smiles, and his hands are back on Chris' hips. "That would make you Randolph Scott, hmm? They probably shaved together, among other things."

"Did they argue about juicers?"

Zach throws his head back and laughs, "You should shower, so I can prove to you the Juiceman is the best."

Chris grins and backs Zach up until he's against the glass of the shower door, "You could shower with me," Chris says, tugging at the hem of the undershirt. "It's only fair I get to wash your hair or something."

Zach stares incredulously, "Okay, you have a serious personal grooming fetish."

"Maybe." Chris laughs. He can't hide his blush at that.

Zach pushes his hands into the back of Chris' jeans, "I'll let you clip my toenails if it means I get more of this."

"Clip your own fucking toenails, dude," Chris smirks, looking down at the bare feet in question. "You do have nice feet, though."

"We are not going jogging today," Zach says, dropping to his knees to tug Chris' jeans down.

"No?" Chris swallows at the image in front of him, even though there's no way he's ready for another round for awhile.

Zach tosses his hair out of his eyes as he smiles wickedly up at him, "No. And I'm not shaving tomorrow either."

"Why not?" Chris pouts, sticking his lip out.

Zach tugs his underwear down and eyes the soft cock in front of his face with a hungry smile, helping him step out before he rises and drops his own sweatpants, tugging Chris into the shower and purring in his ear. "Tomorrow, you're gonna learn what stubble feels like."