Wildcat sat slumped in the locker room, long after the area had cleared of his coworkers. He looked up when the door opened, raising his bottle to Christopher. "Hey," he slurred, "What'cha doin' 'ere?"
"I - needed some time to think." Daniels eyed the big man. "You?"
Harris snorted. "I got dumped!" He waved his bottle in the air, swaying tipsily. "Fuckin' bitch hit me with a bottle."
"I saw." Daniels shifted on his feet. "I'm sorry."
"Yeah." Harris swayed in silence for a moment, his one good eye focused on Christopher. "Where's yer guy?" he slurred at last.
Daniels frowned. "I don't have one," he replied, his stomach tightening a bit.
"Oh no?" Harris took another drink, still swaying. "I thought you and Rhino were - "
"We're not!" Christopher's face darkened. "AJ doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about."
"Huh." Harris got shakily to his feet, managing to successfully stride over to Christopher and back him up against the lockers. "In that case, how 'bout we..." He leaned down, capturing Daniels' lips in a sloppy kiss as he seized the smaller man around the waist.
Christopher pushed Harris back, although after a moment's hesitation. Despite the alcohol on Wildcat's breath, the kiss didn't feel bad at all. "Sorry," Christopher murmured, sliding out of the bigger man's grip, "but I'm not ready, and you're drunk."
"Yeah." Harris plopped back down on the bench, raising his bottle in salute. "Worth a shot!" He took another long swig. Christopher sat on the bench across from him, having had enough solitude for the moment. They gazed at each other in silence, Harris continuing to drink. "So how come AJ's all after Rhino?" Harris murmured after a moment.
Daniels sighed deeply. "Because Rhino and I had crappy breakups around the same time," he explained, his voice resigned, "and we had comfort sex. AJ found out, and he can't get it through his thick skull that Rhino's just a friend!" He buried his face in his hands, shaking his head. "I don't know what to do! He just won't listen, and he won't leave Rhino alone! I don't know if he still cares about me, or if it's just injured pride. I just don't know!" He kicked the bench in frustration, scowling down at it.
“What the fuck’s wrong with guys?” Harris muttered, gazing morosely at Daniels. “They turn into fuckin’ crazy bitches overnight!” He sighed, taking a drink and offering the bottle to Christopher.
“No thanks.” Christopher echoed Wildcat’s sigh. “I don’t get it either.”
“Heeeyyy-ey!” A big form stumbled backwards through the door, turning around in two tipsy circles before facing them. “Ey!” James was so drunk, he could hardly stand. He tottered on his feet, attempting to take a drink from the bottle of whiskey in his hand, and spilling most of it down his shirt. “Bar next door’s a DIVE, man,” he slurred. “Fuckin’ pit! They – they tried to stop me drinkin’ – fuck ‘em! I took this!” He waved the whiskey at them, nearly dropping it.
Harris had stiffened, still sober enough to glare at his newly ex-partner. Daniels looked nervously between them, wondering if he should get out, or stay and attempt to moderate. “Wha’?” James demanded, frowning at Harris. He stumbled backwards, flopping onto the couch.
“What?” Harris growled angrily. “You fuckin’ ditched me, you bitch!”
“Oh yeah.” James laughed, attempting another drink and getting most of it in his mouth. “Yeah I did. Fuck you man!” He waved the bottle in the air, laughing drunkenly. Harris’ eye narrowed. He raised his nearly empty bottle, hurling it at the floor by the couch. Christopher had to jump up to avoid the spray of glass. James just laughed, brushing shards of glass off his coat.
“Why?” Harris demanded, standing and balling his fists in anger. “Why the fuck did you do it?”
James snorted, giving him the finger with his free hand. Daniels got in front of Harris before the big man could charge his ex.
“Let’s get a cab,” Christopher stated, grabbing Harris’ arm and forcing him out the door. Harris stumbled along with him, muttering curses as they headed out of the building. Their cab arrived in a few minutes, and Christopher gave the driver the address to his small local apartment. He glanced at his cell phone, then at Harris, taking a deep breath and asking something he really preferred not to. “Chris – is there anyone I can call, for him?”
“Fuck if I know.” Harris snorted. “You know, fuck him! Fuck the drunk bastard! He can clean up his own fuckin’ puke!” He scowled at the back of the front seat. “Always fuckin’ drunk,” he muttered, quieting for a few moments. He fidgeted, glancing at Christopher as if he had something he wanted to say, then looking out the window. He looked back a few minutes later, sighing deeply. “Roode,” he muttered.
Christopher blinked. “What?”
“He’s been pal’in with Roode lately,” Harris told him reluctantly. “Don’t know if the guy gives a shit, but cha could try.”
“Right.” Christopher found the number on his phone, making the call
as Harris went back to staring out the window.
“This is not my job. This is not my job. This is not my job,” Ms. Brooks muttered to herself as she staggered along the hall, trying to support a very very drunk Tennessee Cowboy. She cursed Roode for forcing her to grab a cab, come back here, and retrieve his buddy. She had refused several times, but he had insisted that, were James found dead of alcohol poisoning, she would be held responsible.
“Ya know,” James slurred, nearly walking into a wall for the tenth time, “if ya weren’t a chick, I’d fuck ya. Against the wall.” He laughed drunkenly as she steered him away from another potential collision with said wall. “Ya’d be pretty hot if these,” he had the audacity to grab one of her breasts, making her scowl, “were down there.” James chuckled, removing the offending hand and gesturing nonsensically with it. “Big ones. Down there. Ha!”
“I hate men,” Ms. Brooks muttered. “Especially big stupid drunk ones! God dammit.” They had finally reached the waiting cab, and she shoved Storm into the back, climbing into the front seat herself. “As fast as you can go,” she told the driver, who took off for Robert’s apartment. Fortunately, it wasn’t far, and soon she was handing James off to Robert.
“Thank you, Ms. Brooks.” Robert put an arm around James to support the swaying cowboy. “I’ll give you a bonus for tonight, alright?”
“Thank you,” Ms. Brooks muttered, signaling the driver to go and wondering if Gail and Val would still be at the bar where she had left them.
Robert helped James up the stairs and into his flat, taking him right to the bedroom and letting him flop down on the bed. “Jesus Christ, are you drunk,” Robert cursed, taking James’ cowboy hat and setting it on a nearby chair. “You better stay awake for a while, try and sober up a bit.”
“Ey, I’m fine.” James wiggled out of his coat, tossing it onto the floor. He sat up, still possessing enough coordination to grab Robert and flip him down onto the mattress. “Wanna fuck?” he murmured, rolling himself on top of Robert and trying to kiss him.
“I don’t do that,” Robert stated harshly, pushing James off him.
“Ok.” James attempted to unbutton his jeans, succeeding after several fumbled attempts. “You fuck me.”
Robert stared at him, too tempted not to look as James slowly pushed his jeans down, managing to kick them off with his boots. “You’re drunk,” he stated, biting his lip when James cast off his shirt, leaving him stark naked.
James shrugged. He flopped onto his back, spreading his legs invitingly and rubbing his cock. “I get HORNY when I’m pissed,” he mumbled, yelling the word. “Ya got any more booze?” He made a face, his eyes scanning the room.
“Not for you.” Robert tried to get off the bed, but James grabbed him around the waist, holding him tight.
“Come on,” he purred, sliding his hand up under Robert’s shirt and stroking his stomach. “Ya know ya wanna.” His hand moved down to grab Robert’s cock through his pants. “Fuck me!”
“You’re drunk!” Robert repeated, so tempted by the offer that he was on the verge of giving in anyway.
“I get fucked all the time drunk!” James slid Robert’s shirt up, licking his side. “Fuck me, baby. Fuck me.”
Robert took a ragged breath, then broke out of James’ arms, casting
his shirt off and pouncing on Storm, their kisses hot and rough as
Robert settled on top of the cowboy.
James Storm awoke, still feeling rather drunk. His head was pounding, and his stomach was doing flip flops. The first thing he did was lean off the bed, mercifully
finding a trashcan there to throw up into. He grabbed a Kleenex off the nightstand to wipe his mouth on, tossing that into the trashcan as well. He lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling in a daze. A slight stirring next to him managed to penetrate the hung over fog on his brain, and he glanced over, not entirely surprised to find Robert Roode lying beside him, naked.
“Aw hell.” He took a deep breath, trying to stay still to keep his stomach from rebelling again.
Robert’s eyes slid open, and he offered a weak smile. “Hey.”
“Hey.” James took another deep breath. “We use a rubber?”
“Yeah.” Robert cleared his throat, looking worried. “I’m sorry.”
James waved his hand dismissively. “I been drinkin’ with you, it was bound to happen.” He closed his eyes, wracking his brain for memory of the previous evening, but coming up blank. “Shit, I don’t remember a damn thing,” he muttered. “We go out drinkin’?”
“Not exactly.” Robert was highly conscious of the fact that, apart from a light sheet, he was entirely naked. “I had Ms. Brooks pick you up from the Impact Zone. You were trashed off your ass.”
“I bet.” James winced, putting his hands up to rub at his temples. “I call you?”
“Daniels did,” Robert replied.
“Daniels?” James frowned in surprise. “What the hell’ve I got to do with Daniels?”
“Wrong place, wrong time?” Robert offered, getting a little smile out of the cowboy.
“Yeah, prob’ly,” James murmured. He closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. “Think I could use ‘bout 12 more hours of sleep. You mind if I crash here for a bit?”
“That’s fine. Let me know if you need anything.” Robert waited until
James had been still for several minutes, then sprinted out of bed,
wrapping his bare body in a robe. He sighed and shook his head, moving
into the kitchen to round up some breakfast.
Chris Harris didn’t want to wake up. He lay, sprawled across a bed, trying to ignore his aching head. Christopher had forced several glasses of water down his throat the previous night, so his hangover was really much more mild than he deserved. His stomach actually felt alright, but his head was reprimanding him for drinking so much.
A delicious scent wafting through the air finally inspired him to raise his head. He glanced around, spotting Christopher Daniels in the small kitchen of the studio apartment. “Morning,” Christopher called, looking rather cheerful. “I made enough pancakes for two, you up to eating?”
“I think so.” Harris sat up, relieved that his stomach seemed only slightly tender. “Didn’t know you could cook.”
Christopher shrugged. “A bachelor’s life.” He flipped a few pancakes onto a plate, walking it over to the bed and setting it in Wildcat’s hands. “Anything to drink?”
“Water.” Wildcat bit into a pancake, pleasantly surprised to find it laced with hot blueberries. “This from a mix?” he inquired.
“You don’t get pancakes that good from a mix.” Christopher was feeling unusually perky, mainly from the simple pleasure of having company. Since AJ had started going after Rhino, they had felt it wise not to spend much time together, and that left him rather lonely.
“This is great.” Wildcat accepted the glass of water Christopher brought him, taking several gulps. “I can grill a chicken breast or a steak, but that’s about it.” He munched on the pancakes, trying not to think about anything but the momentary pleasure of a tasty breakfast. “Thanks for letting me crash here.”
“No problem.” Christopher took a seat at the table, digging into his own pancakes.
Wildcat finished what was on his plate, lumbering to his feet and heading for the bathroom. “Ok if I rinse off?” he questioned.
“Sure.” Christopher stood, darting over to his closet and fishing out a large robe. “Should fit alright,” he commented, tossing the garment to Harris. “There’s body wash, but I don’t have any shampoo or anything.” He gestured to his bald head, sharing a smile with Harris.
“That’s ok, I just need to get off the reek of booze.” Harris sighed, sequestering himself in the bathroom and indulging in a long, hot shower. Christopher’s robe covered him decently, and he emerged feeling physically clean and fresh, but his treacherous brain wouldn’t stop reminding him that his personal life was in shambles. He sat down on the edge of the bed, gazing at Christopher, who was now doing the breakfast dishes. “I like this,” he commented.
Christopher looked up. “What?”
“Seeing you all domestic.” Harris grinned. “It’s different.”
Christopher just shrugged. “Someone’s got to do it.” He couldn’t help letting his thoughts drift to his favorite dishes-related memory; he and AJ had shared dish duty after a rib feast, but the dishes had to wait, as they had quickly become distracted in a hot water fight, then had made love on the counter.
Harris was lost in his own memories, more bitter than sweet. His home life with James had been turbulent, even before his lover had smashed a bottle into his face. They fought about everything, most of all Storm’s near constant drinking. Harris was hardly one to avoid the bottle himself, as evidenced by the previous night, but barely a day went by when James wasn’t drinking. Harris swallowed, trying to force his thoughts back to the present. “Sorry about last night. When I kissed you,” he clarified. “I was pretty drunk.”
“Well, you took no for an answer.” Christopher shrugged. “I didn’t mind.” He finished up the dishes, drying his hands, then moving over to the bed and taking a seat next to Wildcat. “You’re welcome to stay, or I can give you a ride home.”
“God no.” Harris cleared his throat. “I mean – he might be there.” He shook his head. “Although he’s probably passed out in a gutter somewhere.” He blinked back the tears that were stinging his eyes. He glanced at Christopher, not feeling quite weak enough to ask for a hug. Instead, he cupped the back of Daniels’ head, pulling him into a soft, comforting kiss. Christopher closed his eyes, accepting the soft, warm contact. They both allowed the kiss to continue, moving closer to take full advantage of each others’ warmth.
Before he knew it, Christopher was in Harris’ lap, and he was
slipping open the Wildcat’s robe, enjoying Harris’ smooth, clean skin.
Harris slowly unbuttoned Christopher’s shirt, his hand sliding down
Christopher’s back. Then he was rolling Christopher beneath him, their
kisses still sweet, but growing hotter.
The light was on in their house. Chris stood outside, trying to work up the nerve to go in. He didn’t want to see James. He didn’t want to think about them being over, after nearly 5 years together. He took a deep breath, trying to prepare himself for the fight. “It’s a good thing,” he told himself. “He’s a drunk bastard. He never listens. It’s a good thing.” One more ragged breath, and he forced himself to enter.
Storm looked up from the entertainment center, where he was sorting through CDs. “Hey,” he greeted, holding up a Toby Keith disc. “This yours or mine?”
Chris didn’t answer. “So we’re really over?” he whispered.
James shrugged, placing the CD in what appeared to be his pile and continuing to sort.
“You need to tell me why,” Chris demanded, cursing his voice for its slight waver.
“’Cos we don’t work no more, ok?” James didn’t look at him.
Harris shook his head, tears again stinging his eyes at his lover’s brusqueness. “I should be the one dumping you,” he whispered harshly. “You’re the drunk. You’re the one who breaks shit and pukes everywhere, and I’m the one cleaning it up. You got no fucking right doing this to me!”
James turned blazing eyes on him, rising to his feet. “You never fucking get it,” he growled. “You’re a fucking asshole, you never get what I want! And don’t pretend that you’ve never gotten me drunk so I’d shut up and let you fuck me.”
“You shouldn’t have to be drunk for me to fuck you, you’re my lover!” Harris yelled back. “I’d love to see you sober for once!”
“Well I’m sober now!” James exclaimed. “And maybe I don’t wanna be fucking sober around you! I – I can’t stand you!” He charged on, his mouth running away with him, “I can’t wait to have you out of my life, and I hope I never have to see you again!” He expected screaming in response, but Chris just stared at him for a moment, looked gutted. Then, the Wildcat sunk onto the couch, bursting into tears. James shuffled his feet, staring awkwardly at the big man sobbing so uncharacteristically. “Don’t cha wanna yell at me?” he ventured, the sound of Chris’ sobs making his heart clench.
Chris shook his head, hurting too much to care how unmanly he was. He didn’t even bother to wipe his eyes, letting himself cry unrestrained. “I love you,” he choked out between sobs.
James stood still, just staring at him. “Hey,” he said after a painful moment spent listening to Chris cry, “That ain’t fair, cryin’.”
“I don’t care,” Chris gasped, turning tortured eyes to James, “I love you, and I don’t understand. I don’t understand why.” He sniffled, his eyes still leaking, but the heavy flow of tears now past.
James frowned, taking off his hat and running a hand through his hair. “Because ya don’t listen!” he exclaimed.
“You don’t talk to me!” Chris shook his head. “You never wanna talk about us!”
“I shouldn’t have to!” James threw his hands up in the air. “You should know what I want!”
“How can I know that?!?” Harris took a deep breath, his voice regaining strength. “How can I know if you won’t talk to me? Tell me what you want, James!”
James glared at him, gesturing with his cowboy hat. “I don’t want you bein’ the man and me bein’ the bitch, that’s what I want!”
Chris stared at him, stunned. “What? You never…”
“Don’t pretend!” James snarled. “You’ve always gotta be the man! You’re gettin’ the check, you’re drivin’ the truck, you’re in charge, and Storm’s the bitch who gets to spread his legs!”
Chris was floored. “I – I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was doing that.”
“Well, ya are!” James tried to glare at Chris, but his lover looked so upset, he could hardly bare it. “Hey – don’t be cryin’ again,” he muttered.
Chris put his head in his hands, sighing deeply. “I’m sorry, baby. I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize,” he repeated. It was quiet for moment; Storm just stood awkwardly, wanting to pick a fight to dispel this uncomfortable moment, but not able to bare the thought of making his lover any more unhappy. Wildcat raised his head after a long silence, his eyes connecting piercingly with James’. “Do you really not love me?” he whispered brokenly. “Do you really not want to be with me, no matter what?” James couldn’t reply, his tongue tied in knots and his heart in his throat. “I can change,” Chris whispered. “Now that I know…I can change.”
James glanced at the floor, shifting his feet, then returning his eyes to his lover’s. “I hit ya in the face with a bottle,” he stated. “I dissed ya on national tv. Ain’t cha mad?”
Chris took a deep breath. “I love you too much to care,” he whispered.
James closed his eyes, almost on the verge of tears himself. “I - ” he began, wanting to get his demand in before the moment passed, “I wanna top you.”
Chris stared at him, and James prepared himself for a fight once the excuses started flowing. To his surprise, Chris actually looked a bit scared. “I – I’ve never done that before,” Chris confessed quietly.
“Never?” James blinked in surprise.
Chris shook his head. “No. But for you - ” He took a deep breath, raising his gaze beseechingly to his lover. “I would do anything for you.”
“Oh.” James cleared his throat, not used to hearing such intimate words. “I – I thought you knew I wanted that, but when I’d try and get on top, you’d always get back on me.” He ran a hand through his hair again, playing nervously with the smooth strands.
“I thought you were just playing.” Chris shook his head in disbelief. “You should’ve said something, baby.” He swallowed, continuing on, very quietly, “Are you still set on leaving me?”
James paused a moment, his eyes locked with his lover’s. Then, he reached out a boot and tipped over the piles of CDs, mixing the two stacks. “Hell, I love you Cat,” he confessed, rushing to the couch and pulling Chris up into his arms. They held each other tightly, almost so tight it hurt, but they needed to be that close.
“I love you, cowboy,” Chris whispered, delighting in his lover’s familiar scent.
“I love you,” James echoed, drawing his lover into a sweet kiss. “Tell ya what,” he whispered, trailing a finger affectionately down his lover’s cheek, “I’ll make us reservations, somewhere nice and private, and we can have a long heart to heart. Let me get the check and do some romancin’, then we’ll come back here, and I’ll make love to you.” He kissed Chris, letting the kiss linger gently between their lips.
Chris nodded, his fingers caressing James’ silky hair. “Sounds nice,” he murmured. “And no drinkin’, ok?”
“Ok.” James pulled Chris back into his arms, holding him tight.