|Michael/Tom RPS: Conspiracy of Two
||[Sep. 24th, 2008|09:34 pm]
Pairing: MR/TW (with mention of JA/JP)
Warning: RPS is not to everyone's taste. If it's not your thing, please skip this one :)
Disclaimer: Not a single word of truth in it! No real people! Make-believe from start to finish!
Plot: After seven years, Michael has figured out a few things...
Michael knows the potential success of a show is not entirely measured by the promise of its scripts, nor by its onscreen talent. How the cast and crew work together will ultimately determine if this is a venture with staying power. He's seen fool-proof projects falter and unlikely ones succeed, all based on the people. And the Smallville people, at the moment, are a big question mark.
He meets Tom at the first read-through. They're sitting at a table across from each other, but inwardly Michael is circling Tom like a dog getting a good sniff. Tom is impossibly good looking; that's expected. His demeanor is calm. There is no entourage in evidence, not even a cell phone.
Michael decides to stage a test. He says in a confiding tone:
"Have you read the script? You realize in the rescue scene, you'll have to kiss me?"
The kid leans forward, eyes grave:
"That's the only reason I accepted the role."
Then he grins. It’s at this moment that Michael realizes this will actually work.
* * * * *
The set dynamic fascinates Tom. While he and Michael wait to be called for their scene, Tom takes in every detail of the crew milling around them. There's one lighting technician in particular that they watch; Michael has nicknamed him "Surly". He glares at everyone indiscriminately.
"But he really doesn't like me," whispers Tom.
"It because you're too big," says Michael. "You block the path of his lights. He'd prefer a show with unbroken light beams and no actors."
"Actually, that sounds kind of good," says Tom. "Get David Lynch to direct, give voiceovers to the light beams and I think you've got something."
Surly walks by, a dejected younger guy trailing him. Michael takes a bite of his sandwich:
"What do you bet he just ripped that guy a new one?"
"Do you think Surly even knows what the show is about?"
Michael takes a moment to create a "Surly voice". He growls:
"There's people, see. On a farm. Or sometimes in a big house. And they move around too much, especially this one enormous kid in flannel with a blank look on his face-"
Tom smacks him:
"Ow! He wrecks my lighting, that kid. And there's this other kid with a head you could screen a movie on. He gets in the way too but I can tell just by looking at him that his dick is huge-"
"Piss off!' says Tom. Michael giggles, then growls:
"I call it "The Show with a Farm and a Big Dumb Kid in flannel" but I think it’s got another name though…."
"Shhhhh," whispers Tom, as Surly leads his dejected protégée past them again.
* * * *
Sometimes, when he's bored and waiting for his close-up, Michael climbs Tom.
"Tom, you have the patience of a saint," says Annette.
"Thank you," says Tom, gently detaching Michael from his shoulder.
"He loves it," says Michael.
"My niece does this sometimes," says Tom, adding, "she's three."
It has taken time and research to discover where Tom's ticklish spots are. Try in the wrong place, and Tom will shut you down with a cold stare or perhaps a raised eyebrow. But hit a sweet spot and you’re rewarded with a chuckle:
"Like the Pillsbury Doughboy," says Michael.
"Thanks a lot!" says Tom.
But you only get one chuckle, and then the spot loses its magic. Michael, on the other hand, is ticklish everywhere, all the time, and leaps into the air at the slightest application of Tom's enormous paw. Then, he's the one who gets in trouble, while Tom shrugs apologetically at the director.
* * * *
Scenes with Glover are thrilling; Michael never knows what John will do in a scene.
"Sounds like acting with you," says Tom.
"Nah, it's different. He's big league."
Michael finds it hard to put into words. John has the utter confidence of a man who's accustomed to getting what he wants; none of Michael's antics faze him in the slightest.
"Whenever he's circling me," explains Michael. "Or Lionel looms up behind Lex, it’s like there's this undercurrent." He switches to his Glover voice: "you can be had. Oh yes, you can be had."
"And can you? Be had?"
Michael spreads his arms:
"That's the thing! John's used to victories. How many guys do you figure have turned him down? Hardly any, I bet. What if I get hypnotized by the voice and the hair and can't resist?"
"Okay, now you're making me nervous for my first scene with him," says Tom.
"No, he's awesome…but he's so awesome it's worrying. Know what I mean?"
"No," says Tom. He's due back on set but as he passes Michael's chair, he leans in and whispers: "You can be had. We both know it"
Michael whispers: "Mmmm….take me, baby" and turns to watch Tom amble off to the barn set.
* * * *
"I don't see why you're worried; it's just another kiss."
"We've only kissed once," Tom points out. "And that time it was Kristin who had to plant one on me. I just stood there. This time, I have to plant one on her."
"Cry me a river, big guy."
"Look, it’s awkward enough….the script says it’s supposed to be sexy, and if it isn't, we'll have to do take after take and I don't want to put her through that."
"So, practice," says Michael.
"On what, my mirror?"
"No," says Michael. "On me."
Then he thinks: did I just say that? Tom says gloomily:
"I wish it was you in the episode. Even if you farted on me. It would take the pressure off."
"Is this just an excuse to make out with me?" says Tom, mock-suspicious. "I know you have issues. It’s not going to happen, dude."
Michael tosses his head, playing along:
"Tom, a true actor, can play a scene of grand passion opposite anyone. His own sister, his worst enemy, a plaster dummy…. And what's more, he can make the audience believe-"
Tom kisses him. It’s a good kiss. Michael has to grab the table for balance and gets a fluttery sensation in his stomach.
Tom draws back, looking pleased:
"I faked you out! In the script, Lana isn't expecting the kiss so you couldn't be ready for it."
Michael is finding it hard to collect his breath:
"Well, kudos, my friend. You plant one of those on her, she'll swoon right into your arms."
"Or at least she won't have to endure a second take. Thanks, Michael."
"You're welcome," murmurs Michael. He thinks he might need to sit down for a minute.
* * * *
The scene is going wrong and Michael senses the director is getting frustrated; it’s a Talon scene, with lots of extras. The problem is a guest actor with one line. She's supposed to come up and ask Lana a question, while Clark and Lex sit in the foreground.
But she's fumbling her line and Michael feels the shift in the atmosphere.
People don't always understand his need to play the jester, to break into a song and dance, but those same people maybe didn’t grow up in a house with a bitter divorce, and don't understand the importance of shifting the energy of a room and easing the tension. Possibly these same people don’t have baby brothers to protect.
Michael vaults out of his chair and lands on the floor, segueing into a moon dance. He hears the director groan but he doesn’t care. Let the guy be pissed at him and not at the seventeen year old Vancouver girl, who had been on the brink of tears, but is now laughing along with the rest of the extras and crew.
The thing is, once Michael starts his act, it’s hard to stop, even once his diversionary tactic is accomplished. He feeds on the approval of the crowd.
"Michael!" says the director. "If you would be so kind….we don't have all day."
Silence on the set. Slightly chastened, Michael gets to his feet and automatically looks to Tom for support. Tom's expression doesn’t change, but just as the director opens his mouth to say "Action", Tom shifts his arm to emit an enormous armpit fart. The extras shriek, the director glares but says nothing; this is the star of the show after all. Michael grins, and gets a quick wink from Tom before they finally put the scene to bed.
* * * * *
"Dude, why are you all scabby?" says Tom, poking him.
"It's my "Island sunburn"," says Michael. "And what the hell happened to your hair? It’s gotten more….elaborate."
It's their first scene together since hiatus; they're filming on location, which always adds to the giddiness.
James Marshall's voice booms over the loudspeaker:
"Tom, stop playing with Michael's scabs; Rosenbaum, stop grooming Tom."
"Spoilsport!" says Michael.
They're supposed to commemorate Lex's return from the dead with a hug. On the first take, Michael leaps into Tom's arms and wraps his legs around his waist. The crew laughs.
"Can you dial it back a little?" says Marshall, dryly.
"Maybe Clark should leap into Lex's arms?" suggests Tom, with a sly glance at Michael.
"You think I couldn't catch you?" says Michael. "Well, fuck off! I could totally catch you."
"I've heard you're a good catcher," says Tom, politely, and this provokes a scuffle.
"Save that sexual tension for the scene!" shouts Marshall.
Fooling around aside, it's good to hug Tom. They do five takes, pushing it as far as Marshall will let them go. Michael usually manages to end each take with a hand on Tom's ass.
"Wholesome family entertainment, that's us!" says Marshall, signaling "Cut."
"Take that, "The Sopranos"," says Tom.
* * * *
"Memoria" is a rough shoot. By the fifth day, it’s clear they won't be wrapping on schedule. The crew members are grim-faced and Tom's jaw is in a state of permanent clench. Michael has a cold he can't shake, he's not sleeping well, and he's thoroughly sick of script notes from Miles.
Miles has made it abundantly clear he wants no input from his actors; in the barn scene, Tom tries to put a more compassionate spin on the line "Lex….why does your father hate you?" by delivering it in a hesitant tone and putting a hand on Michael's arm.
"Cut," says Miles. "Let's put more distance between you… Less emotion please, Tom. Clark's feelings are ambivalent here."
Tom mutters something and looks at Michael, who shrugs. What can you do? It’s the producer. Eventually, Miles gets what he seems to want: a chilly scene from two exhausted actors.
The next day is the worst, a location scene that drags on well past midnight. Michael and Tom stand in front of the generic office building that is playing the part of the Summerholt clinic.
The lights still aren’t right. The lights haven't been right for hours. Miles always wants them higher, unless he wants them a little lower.
"This is going to kill Surly," murmurs Tom. "Did you see his face? This is D-day for him, no coming back from it…"
Michael chuckles but he's too tired to form words. He sways a little on his feet. There's nowhere to sit; it’s been alternating rain and mist and all the set chairs are soaked. So he leans against Tom and props his chin on Tom's shoulder.
"So I'm holding you up now?" says Tom.
"Yup," says Michael, and closes his eyes. He murmurs: "You cold?"
"No," says Tom. "The rage is keeping me warm."
Michael laughs and throws his arms around Tom's neck. He's aware that this is crossing a line. It’s one thing to lean against a buddy, but this….this is more like cuddling. But Tom is comfortingly warm and solid, and he doesn't seem to mind.
He actually falls asleep like that, standing up, with his head on Tom's shoulder, and is startled when the clipped tones of Miles order them back to position.
* * *
Tom has been looking forward to shooting "Transference" for weeks, ever since they got the script.
"You realize I'm slightly jealous," says Michael, but Tom's so excited he can't begrudge him a minute of it. They're on a break from shooting the manor scene in "Run."
"Will you run lines with me?" Tom asks. "I want to make sure I've caught John's voice."
They run through the scene and Michael says:
"It’s awesome, dude. I couldn't do better. You’re out-Glovering Glover."
Tom beams. The AD signals him back to set, but before Tom goes he leans in and purrs in Michael's ear:
"You can be had. Oh yes, you can be had." His breath is warm on Michael's neck.
"Okay, now I've got the shivers," says Michael, and he's not entirely exaggerating. "I give in…You can have me!"
* * *
He doesn't remember the specifics of the dream, just that it starred Tom and left him with a warm, sexual buzz upon waking. Michael doesn't intend to say anything about it, but as soon as he walks into the make-up trailer and sees Tom, it just slips out.
"Dude, I had a hot dream about you last night."
"Yeah?" says Tom, swiveling in his chair.
"Sit!" says Nathalie. Michael sits, and lets her lather his head.
"Yeah, I dreamed you were doing a scene with Kristin and turned to look straight at me. Then you said "Rosenbaum, you deserve to be punished!"
"I say that every day," says Tom, through a mouthful of coffee. "'Cause it’s true."
"You started walking towards me and stripping off the flannel, with your eyes locked on mine the whole time. And then you're all naked and aroused-"
"Guys!" says Kristin, from the next chair. Michael sneaks a look her way, and says:
"Tom and I have no secrets from each other-"
"That's lovely. But can you please keep some secrets from me?" says Kristin. "Trying to eat here." She motions to her yoghurt. Michael says, slyly:
"Well, you know, speaking of white creamy substances, in my dream, Tom…"
Kristin groans and puts her hands over her ears. Nathalie swats Michael's
shoulder. Tom, unperturbed, says:
"What kind of lover was I? Quick and brutal? Or slow and tender?"
"I'd have to say slow and brutal."
"That's accurate," says Tom, nodding.
* * * *
This time, it’s Michael's turn to be apprehensive about a kiss. He's kissed Kristin twice before, and it's been slightly awkward both times, Watching their "Onyx" kiss afterwards, he'd winced at how tentative he'd looked. It had been a different scenario with some of Lex's precious girlfriends. Krista Allen had taught him a thing or two about love scenes and Kelly Brook had said ruefully "that's all I ever get offered, Michael." But Kristin is not yet blasé about kissing and her nerves are contagious.
What makes it worse is that Tom is directing and Michael doesn't want to disappoint him. Tom might let him off the hook and not get the scene he wants, just because they’re friends.
Tom directs like he's been at this for years, setting up the shot with the crew and then coming over to see if Michael and Kristin have any questions.
"Does this scene make sense to you?"
"I just don't get it….she kisses him and then runs away? It doesn’t make sense to me."
"You have to get inside Lana's head, Kristin," Tom tells her. "Here she is, fresh from another heartbreak-"
He strikes a dramatic pose. The crew laughs. Michael says:
"It’s your ball cap that sells it, dude."
Tom shoots him a sidelong glance and says:
"She's this turmoil of feelings. Does she still love Clark? Is she starting to love Lex? It's complicated."
"You've put an alarming amount of thought into this," says Kristin, amused. "But I'm still not seeing how we should play it."
"So she comes to the manor, sees Lex," Tom walks up to Michael, who folds his arms and gives him a stern Lexian look. "And she's overwhelmed by all the powerful emotion. Lex! Clark! Clark! Lex! And then her instinct just takes over and it’s ….Lex!."
And Tom leans over and plants a light kiss on Michael's mouth. Michael, caught by surprise, closes his eyes. When he opens them, Tom is grinning at him and the crew is laughing.
"Then, she thinks: "what have I done?"" continues Tom "and she has to rush away. And to Lex, it's like she disappeared." And with this, Tom flits away, as best a man of his size can manage.
"It's like the hippos dancing ballet in "Fantasia"" says Michael, fascinated.
Kristin has collapsed to the floor, she's laughing so hard. Michael says firmly:
"If she pees herself, I'm definitely not kissing her."
Kristin laughs harder, clutching her stomach; Tom winks at Michael. They get the scene done in one take, without a moment of anxiety.
* * * *
Season six is a long one; Michael calls it "the season of endless night." It's a dark, rainy winter in Vancouver, to the point where a blizzard actually makes a nice change.
Tom knows every obscure bar and restaurant in the city and drives them to a diner somewhere beyond Kitsilano. They settle in a corner booth, order some beers. Michael has his opening line locked and loaded for when Jensen and Jared walk through the door, shaking off snow:
"Texans are pussies!"
"Get him!" says Jensen, amiably.
They talk some shop. Though both Jensen and Jared gripe about the long hours and the exhausting schedule, they're clearly enjoying the show and each others' company.
"And how're you two doing?" asks Jared.
"Al and Miles, man," says Tom, waving his hand. "Never ends."
"I spend a lot of time walking in and out of rooms and saying "Lana" offers Michael.
"And new guy?" says Jensen. "Not as cool as me, right?"
"He's nice," says Tom, and he's right. It's impossible to dislike Justin. He likes hockey, loves his family and on his breaks, is diligently reading his way through a thesaurus to expand his vocabulary. This week's word was "peripatetic."
"He's great," says Michael. "We're just old and cynical and burnt out, you know?"
"It's true. You are old," says Jensen, nodding.
"We wouldn't know anything about burn-out," says Jared. "Would we, Jensen? Real pros, you know….they don't burn out. They plough through it."
"Mouthy little fuckers, aren't they?" says Michael, turning to Tom.
On the way back to the cars, they pass a playground. There's snow on the ground, which is more than Michael can resist. He meets Tom's eye. Jensen and Jared are walking just ahead of them. It takes no more than a moment to scoop up at handful of snow each…
The reaction is instantaneous. "SON OF A BITCH!" hollers Jensen, as the snow trickles down his collar. He turns around and gives chase. Michael's a fast runner but he slips crossing the playground and lands in a clump of snow. A body lands on top of him, then another, and he's flipped over, to find Jared straddling him and Jensen holding his arms.
"What should we do to him?" asks Jared.
"Snowball in the mouth?"
"Oh, he'd like that," says Jared. "You're all about balls to the mouth, aren't ya, Rosey?"
"I learned that from you," says Michael, wriggling. "Guys, my ass is getting cold."
"There's a thought," says Jensen. "An icicle up the butt."
"We could tag-team him!"
"Gotta watch out for those gassy emissions though."
"Tom!" shouts Michael. "Save me."
"Somebody save me!" sings Jared.
"Tom went home," says Jensen. "Left your ass."
"Speaking of ass…" says Jared."How 'bout we compromise with some snow down the pants?"
"I could be on board with that," says Jensen. "Pack those boxers good!"
"'Kay, you hold him and I'll-"
But at that moment a vast shadow swoops over them and there is snow everywhere. Jared roars and gives chase. Michael flings off Jensen and pins him in the snow.
"What were you just saying about gassy emissions?"
"Where's the gratitude?" shouts Tom, from behind him. "I just saved your ass."
"It's not a proper rescue until you carry me to safety," says Michael. And then Tom actually is scooping him up, half carrying, half dragging him towards the car, as Jensen and Jared pelt them with snowballs all the way.
It's a good night.
* * * *
Michael's final days of filming are rough, physically and emotionally. He collects video "goodbyes" from everyone. Erica sings Bananarama for him; Aaron tells a dirty joke. Kristin and Allison team up to give him a top ten list of reasons they liked working with him, which makes Michael tear up a little. Crew members say their goodbyes in styles that range from comical (Steve Wardrobe) to tearful (Nathalie) to silent and unsmiling (Surly.)
Tom insists on taking the camera away and filming himself. "You can watch it when you're home. You know, after you've abandoned me."
He's joking, but Michael looks at him anxiously. In some ways this does feel like abandonment.
The final Fortress scene was underwritten, with Lex initially in twirling-mustache villain mode. Between his input and Tom's, they’ve changed that but with the new dialogue, there's a real risk of Michael losing it and breaking down on set. Fond as the crew are of him, it would be hard to live that down.
It's midnight, and they’re still getting the establishing shots of Lex walking through the Fortress in his long coat. In between shots, Michael and Tom pick at the sushi platter.
"You ready for our big emotional goodbye?" says Tom. He yawns, and checks his watch. "This is going to be an all-nighter, isn't it?"
"I'm not ready," says Michael, quietly. "And I feel like I'm bailing on you."
"What?" says Tom, surprised. "No, no. I was just kidding about that. I'd be out the door myself, if I could. Don't think like that."
But Michael can't help it. And later, as he's cradling Tom in his lap, delivering the line he wrote "I love you like a brother…" the tears in his eyes are his as much as Lex's.
"That's great, guys!" calls Todd. "Let's get a couple more for coverage."
"I'm not moving," says Tom, grinning up at Michael. He shifts his head on Michael's thigh. "I'm comfortable, here." There's a tear running alongside Michael's nose; Tom catches it with a finger, and says:
"Such commitment to your craft. I'm impressed."
Michael summons his Kevin Spacey voice:
"As you should be, Welling."
But his voice breaks a little and the impression is ruined.
* * * *
It's odd, when July rolls around, not to be heading back to Vancouver. Michael keeps busy: There are new scripts to be read, conventions to attend. He exchanges text messages with Tom nearly every day; they talk a couple of times a week.
On the plane home from DragonCon, Michael says to his friend Chris.
"Those questions….did you notice? It was always about Clark and Lex, or about Tom. One track mind some of these fans have."
Chris looks at him thoughtfully, then says in his soft voice:
"Was it the questions? I did notice a certain theme to your answers…"
Michael meets his eye, warily; Chris knows him far too well. He puts on his sunglasses and leans back in his seat, to think things over. He remembers that he still hasn't watched Tom's goodbye message.
When he gets home, he goes straight to his computer and hooks up the camera. Tom's face flickers on the screen, a fish bowl effect for a minute, then steadies.
"Hey, Rosenbaum. Since you're forcing us all to take part in this ego-boosting ritual, here goes." Tom pauses. "I've never…look, I've never worked with anyone like you. It's not only that I learned a lot from you, it’s that you made every scene together fun. On days, when I was dreading getting up and working for fourteen hours straight, at the back of my mind, I could think "at least, I’ll see Michael." Remember how Beeman used to call us the "Conspiracy of Two"? Right before he'd start yelling at us to settle down? You were my ventilator, man. Kept me from over-heating, losing my temper. With you, it was probably the best working relationship of my life. Now, or in the future…."
"I guess that means it’s all downhill from here. So thanks for that, you bastard!"
An unseen voice summons Tom back to set. Tom hurriedly says: "love you, man!" and the last thing Michael sees is a flash of his smile as he leans in to turn off the camera.
Michael rests his head on his arms and thinks for awhile.
The next day, he sends a package to Vancouver.
* * * *
It's a sunny Saturday, gorgeous, but it’s too damn early for visitors. Michael waits for the doorbell to stop; when it doesn’t, he staggers towards the door in his t-shirt and pajama bottoms.
Michael doesn’t know who he expects to see: his brother perhaps, or Chris, or a script delivery. He certainly doesn't expect to see Tom.
"You're in Vancouver!" he says, throwing the door open.
"No, I'm here," Tom points out, stepping inside.
"What's this?" says Tom. He's holding a baseball cap in his hand.
"That's my gift to you," says Michael.
Tom hoists the hat:
"Why is the Red Sox crest upside down?"
"Because I don't want them to win," Michael explains. "It's upside down, so it’s the anti-Red Sox cap, you get it? Like how an upside down cross is satanic. It guarantees they'll lose."
Tom stares at him. Michael, watching his face closely, adds:
"Because the Red Sox are the worst thing in the history of baseball."
This is the tipping point. Tom lunges for him, but Michael is ready and darts away. His house is perfect for running and he has played many sock-footed games of hide and seek here, with people old enough to know better. He knows all the escape routes and hiding places.
But Tom has also been here many times, and he knows his way around too. Just as Michael is vaulting across the kitchen counter, Tom races round and catches him on the other side, scooping him up. Michael struggles, yells.
"Is this hurting your back?" says Tom, suddenly concerned.
"No…." Michael considers. "I mean "yes" Yes! It's hurting me very much."
"Ha! Too late," says Tom, and carries him out of the kitchen.
"Is this your diabolical plan?" Michael says. "Carrying me around my own house?"
"I hadn't thought it through," admits Tom, but he doesn't put Michael down. He motions towards the bedroom. "Have you got a girl in there?"
Michael pretends to think about it: "Let me see…."
Tom snorts and nudges the door open with his foot. He walks over to the bed and throws Michael down, then sits on the bed beside him. Michael half sits up, a little uncertain where this is going.
"Rosenbaum," says Tom. "You deserve to be punished."
"I can’t believe you remembered that."
"I remember everything," says Tom. "Why'd you send me the hat?"
"Because you should have better taste in ball teams."
Tom shakes his head:
"There was a note with the hat-"
Michael looks down at his pajama-clad knees, suddenly shy. Tom says:
"It just said "I miss you."
Michael says, softly:
"I do miss you, Tommy. Everyone was great, all great people, but you were the hardest one to leave."
He hadn't meant to say that much; it's slipped out. But he's glad it did because Tom is smiling.
"I miss you too. I miss getting in trouble with you, sneaking stuff past the directors. I even miss having to guard my sandwiches. It isn't the same…."
They stare at each other, serious for once. Then Tom ducks his head and kisses Michael.
It's been a long time since a kiss made Michael tremble. It’s a little embarrassing but that doesn't mean he wants it to stop. He reaches up and wraps his arms around Tom's neck and pulls him down on the bed.
"Bossy," murmurs Tom.
Michael ignores this, the better to lose himself in discovery of Tom's mouth. What was surprising a few seconds ago now seems inevitable. Seven years of flirting, secret jokes, and early morning hugs in the make-up trailer, all pointing like an arrow, straight to this moment.
He pushes against Tom, wanting more lips, more kissing, more Tom.
Tom rubs his back, affectionately:
"Dude, are you trying to top me?"
Michael laughs, then nips Tom's chin because he wants to and it's there.
"'Cause that's not going to happen," says Tom. He rolls Michael onto his back and settles on top of him. Michael blinks up at him. Tom teases a strand of Michael's hair, and says:
"Always trying to get your way."
Well, of course. Michael wants his way now, which means it’s time for the talking to stop. He loops a hand around the back of Tom's neck, weaving his fingers into his hair, and guides Tom down.
Tom kisses him, harder now. His hands are roaming: under Michael's t-shirt, up and down his sides and across the front of his pajamas, where one hand stops and rests for a tantalizing moment. Michael's hips instantly arch six inches off the bed.
"This okay?" Tom murmurs.
Yes.Yes.Yes. He can't manage to say it, but he can whimper.
Tom gently tugs down the waistband of Michael's pajamas. Michael's cock springs free and is wrapped in Tom's big warm palm. Tom knows exactly how to hold him, not too loose, not too tight….just enough to make every nerve ending quiver.
Michael is having less luck with Tom's button-fly; he scrabbles at it but loses his focus every time Tom moves his hand. "OH!"
"I'm going to….I'm…."
Tom takes pity and undoes his own fly. Michael looks down at Tom's cock in his hand, and Tom holding him. Then he looks up at Tom. They start laughing at the same time.
"We've had this date with each other from the very beginning," quotes Michael.
"Who said that?" says Tom. "Tennessee Williams, right?"
"No, it was Glover when he finally nailed me."
Tom growls, which sends a pleasurable shiver up Michael's spine; then he uses his free hand to tickle Michael in the sensitive spot above his left hip.
"Better take that back," says Tom, and tickles him again.
"I do. I take it back, I do," says Michael, frantically wriggling. He looks up at Tom's smiling face.
Tom starts moving his hand again and Michael thrusts gratefully into his locked fingers…
Michael comes first, with a shout, and collapses against Tom's shoulder. His own hand has gone limp so Tom gently wraps his hand around Michael's and they finish Tom off together. Michael is torn between watching Tom's cock pulse in his hand, or watching the expressions play across Tom's face. He chooses Tom's face and dips in for a kiss just as Tom gasps, and then comes.
Michael is well acquainted with exit strategies; he knows a dozen different ways to gracefully avoid spending the night. But this time it's not his own exit he's worried about: he doesn't want Tom to leave. There is no acceptable male way of verbalizing this, so he simply flings an arm across Tom's chest and goes to sleep on top of him.
* * * *
Michael's not sure how long he sleeps, perhaps an hour. But he knows exactly what wakes him up:
"Waffles," says Tom, poking him.
Michael rubs his cheek against Tom's shoulder.
"Waffles," says Tom, more emphatically.
"Dude, you are the most irritating alarm clock ever," rasps Michael.
"Do you want waffles?"
"Stop saying waffles."
"Waffles," says Tom. "Do you want to go for waffles?"
"Yes." Michael sits up. Tom's hair is pointing in all directions, like ruffled feathers. "I just need a shower."
When he comes out to the living room, Tom is sitting there reading a magazine, with a suspiciously innocent look on his face:
"Shall we go?"
* * * *
It's only afterwards that he discovers Tom has added illustrations to every page of the message pad that Michael keeps by the phone. There are doodles of Michael having explosive diarrhea, being chased by Ewoks and being enthusiastically spanked by John Glover. There are Christopher Walken heads with speech bubbles that say "Rosenbaum sucks!" and "Red Sox Rule!' But on the very last page, there are no words, just three clumsily drawn and lopsided hearts.
Michael leaves the book open to that page.