theplatonicnonyeah: (mr_curl1)
[personal profile] theplatonicnonyeah
Fandom: The Americans
Pairing: Philip Jennings and Stan Beeman, M/M
Rating: G, no sex or swearing. For the NC-17 alternative ending, please click here.

Love Me Tender

- Care for a nightcap?
A bleary-eyed Stan held up his trophy of greeting when Phillip opened the door to the motel room. Phillip had just taken a shower and was only wearing a towel tied around his hips. It took him a moment to take in the unsteady figure standing outside his temporary home and gauge the situation. When he realised it wasn’t a hoax and Stan was indeed drunk and alone, he let him in.
- I’ll just throw some sweats on, he said and headed back into the bathroom.

Stan stepped precariously into the room, watching as Phillip walked away to get dressed.

They had both seen each other naked before at the sports centre. Although maybe not actually looked directly at each other. In the men’s locker room there was an unwritten rule that you never looked directly at any of the other men dressing or undressing or even in the shower, lathering themselves up with soap, rinsing off the sweat after a particularly tough game of racket ball.

He never looked. He never once looked on purpose. Occasionally his eyes would slip and run over another man’s body, quickly as if he had meant to look at something else. He hoped that’s what they thought, if they ever caught him looking.

Phillip returned and they drank the beer, conducting a rambling conversation about Chris Amador and life and wives or maybe marriage. And then Phillip said:
-You can stay here if you want.
- In your lumpy bed? No, thanks.
- Actually, I was thinking the chair…

The chair. Of course he meant the chair. Stan mentally slapped himself for making the far too obvious slip, but which seemed to have gone past Phillip. To his own surprise he said yes, he’d like to stay, he wasn’t feeling up to driving back home again, in fact, he was probably not fit to drive home anyway and it was closer to work from here. Phillip interrupted his apologetic babble, saying there was a vending machine outside where he thought he had seen toothbrushes for sale. Yes, that was a good idea.

Even when folded almost in half, Stan found it hard to fit into the makeshift cradle construction of the two chairs pushed together. He was woozy and tired and he just wanted to sleep. But sleep would not come.

He lay in the dark, listening to Phillip breathing. He could see Phillip lying on the bed with his back turned toward him, only his legs tucked in under the cover. Before going to bed, they had both stripped down to t-shirts and underpants. The air conditioner by the window did nothing to alleviate the humid warmth in the room and when the lights were off he briefly considered removing his top, but then he suddenly felt awkward in the presence of the other man, even in the dark.

He turned onto his back, but then he didn’t know what to do with his legs. Then he tried to prop up the two pillows Phillip had handed him, so that maybe he could sleep in an upright position instead. But all this just made him even more awake and frustrated. He could hear that Phillip had begun to snore quietly. He could also see that there was a glimpse of skin between Phillip’s t-shirt and underpants, just there in the low of his back. He wanted to touch it.

Phillip had been lying in the dark listening to Stan tossing and turning in the bed they had made out of pushing two chairs together. But after a while the low noise of the air conditioner lulled him into semi-consciousness and he began drifting off to sleep, exhausted after several days of cleaning up an unnecessary mess caused by stupidity and carelessness.

It was his own fault, he knew it. Things had spiralled out of control. Stan unexpectedly turning up at his door was unnerving and it made things even more complicated. There was something unspoken in Stan’s long meandering monologue, but he couldn’t pinpoint it. He felt sorry for the other man, but at the same time he knew they were sworn enemies. He could never apologise without revealing his true identity, so the least he could do was offer a temporary haven where they were equals for a while.

Just then he registered the sound of movement: fabric rustling and feet touching the floor. Then he felt the bed shift as Stan carefully lay down behind him. He opened his eyes and listened into the darkness: perfect silence, no movement. So he closed his eyes and pretended he was asleep.

Then he felt it, something touching the low of his back, just where there was an exposed bit of skin between his t-shirt and underwear. It was a knuckle, the outside of someone’s hand: Stan’s hand. He lay still and tried to keep his breathing as calm as possible, as if he were sleeping. He felt the other man cautiously starting to explore more, running a thumb up under his t-shirt, following the valley between the muscles surrounding his vertebrae. After a while, the hand came to rest on his hipbone. Then nothing happened, so he inhaled deeply and shifted slightly closer to the other man. He was acutely aware that Stan could probably feel his heart beating furiously inside his chest as their torsos spooned together. He found Stan’s hand and laced their fingers together, tenderly pressing their hands close to his chest.

Sleep, closeness, in the dark. Tomorrow was far away and he had no desire to worry about it now.
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October 2014


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