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May. 25th, 2011

Title: Inside the City of Glass
Written for: withthepilot
Pairing/characters: John/Chris
Rating: R – For language mostly.
Prompt: Chris decides he’s had enough of his constant work schedule and disappears without a trace right before XII is set to film. What he doesn’t expect is a certain someone to come looking for him.
Warnings: Heavy angst
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything or anyone.

Written for the trekrpfexchange Spring 2011 Exchange

John paced nervously in hallway of the hotel, hands fluttering frantically between covering his mouth and pulling at the bottom of his shirt. He had no idea what he was doing. For a reason he daren’t dwell on too much, he’d followed, well, stalked if he was being quite honest with himself, a work mate half way across the country just to check up on him. Sure, he could say that he’d come on behalf of JJ or the rest of the cast to drag him back to the set but that only felt like part of the answer. He could barely rationalise the real reason to himself, let alone to the man he’d followed.

To be honest, when he had heard that Chris had gone AWOL only a few weeks before filming had been due to start, his heart had leapt into his mouth. What had happened? All manner of horrible thoughts had flickered through his frazzled brain, however, when he’d heard from one of the lighting crew that Chris had been seen booking into a hotel in Mexico, he had been thrilled and relieved. Something in him (okay, it was attraction based, he was aware) had demanded that he give chase and check on the younger man, make sure he was okay. He’d even felt confident on the journey here that he could be a knight in shining armour, just looking forward to seeing Chris’ face again made him forget what he was doing, now though, he doubted whether it should have been himself to follow after all.

He took a deep breathe, mumbled “Stop being a pussy” to himself and before he could talk himself out of it, he hammered on the door. When there was no answer, heart in his throat, he did it again, “Chris, open up”, his voice far calmer than he felt. Waiting a few minutes, he heard rustling coming from the other side of the door, “I know you’re in there”.

Whatever he expected when the door opened up, it wasn’t this. Chris stood there in only his boxers and a furious expression on his face, “Cho” his voice was cold but with an edge of fuzziness and his normally warm eyes held only wide pupils that betrayed some kind of substance in his system.
John opened his mouth to say something but found he couldn’t, either Chris’ state of undress or the unfamiliar demeanour of his friend had thrown him off balance. Chris decided to speak instead, “What the fuck are you doing here?” the coldness stung more than he had expected it too.

“You disappear off the surface of the world just before filming a major movie, what do you expect?” he wasn’t even sure where his own coldness had appeared from so he was almost as surprised as Chris was. John felt a sliver of hope as a brief look of disappointment crossed the other man’s features before setting into cold anger again.
“Gee, thanks” Chris’ voiced dripped with sarcasm rather than the warm humour John was used to, it made a chill pass through him.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that, look man, we’re all worried about you” he searched for his friend in those almost foreign eyes but could only see flashes. Whatever Chris had been doing to himself and tormenting himself over had created a Chris he rather not had seen. He tried to steel himself to do what it takes to fix this but he was finding rather difficult to build up the resolve.

“Why the fuck did they send you anyway?” John found that his supposedly renowned quick wit was currently lacking and could barely respond. Something at the back of his mind made a quip about Chris being his kryptonite which he quickly hushed. The hurt was again extremely strong even though he told himself he had no reason to feel so, Chris didn’t mean it, it was either drugs or alcohol driving him at the moment. However, the utter contempt in his voice was sounding far too real at this moment.

A cruel grin, flashed over Chris’ features, as if he had just figured something amusing out. Leaning forward, he poked the shorter man viciously in the shoulder, “Did you think you’d get to fuck me for saving the day, Captain Cho?” the last two words were accentuated with two more sharp pokes in John’s thin shoulders.

John managed to stop himself from shaking, though whether it was due to anger or embarrassment it he wasn’t sure. John was very much attracted to the younger man, he hadn’t exactly hidden it but he didn’t think it had been that obvious, had it? He swallowed a shallow breath and steeled his expression against his crushed soul; all along a voice in the back of his head whispered ‘I told you so’.
“Don’t flatter yourself” he crossed his arms over his chest and had managed to reflect that air of coldness into his voice once more but the long pause in his reaction had clearly been telling if Chris’ smile was anything to go by.

Chris laughed and stumbled in the hotel doorway, reminding John just how public this conversation was, though luckily the hallway was blissfully quiet.
“You came here ‘cuz you’ve got a crush on me and think I’d want your ass” Chris continued to laugh cruelly and stumbled once more. John wasn’t sure he could take much more of this. He could deal with rejection but this was taking things to a whole new masochistic level that could certainly have lived without experiencing.

“Fine. Think whatever you like” his tone clipped and closed, “But I came here to take you back and I’m going to make sure it happens”. He grabbed Chris’ arm and pushed his way into the room and closed the door behind them.
“Don’t fucking touch me” Chris wrenched his arm from John’s light grasp and stumbled to the other side of the room, “I fucking hate you” his voice was filled with doped up vitriol. “You make me sick” he screamed, “I fucking..” his tone had dropped and his eyes had completely lost focus. John rushed forward and grabbed the man before he passed out and knocked his head into something.
Sighing shakily, John carefully wrestled the taller man from the floor up on to the ridiculously comfy bed. Flopping down into a chair next to the bed he dropped his head into his hands; “Fuck” his voice sounded exhausted even to his own ears. Such a short conversation yet now he felt as if the world had turned upside down, he should know at his age not to invest so much in one person. But he had and now he felt sick and torn.

Looking up through his fingers he watched the creator of all this madness as he slept the sleep only the wasted sleep, looking far too angelic for John’s liking. The shadows played gracefully over the other man’s soft, pretty features, highlighting all the bits that John couldn’t resist. John couldn’t stop his eyes as they wandered down the sleeping figure and were transfixed by the steady rise and fall of a well defined chest under a tight, black t-shirt. Guilt stabbed sharply at his head and he quickly looked away, bitterly berating himself as he did so.

He should have known, why the fuck would this man be interested in him? Chris was a very attractive man, in both the conventional and unconventional sense of the words. He could have the pick of absolutely anyone so why would he go for the geeky, slightly on the skinny side guy he worked with? No wonder he laughed so hysterically at the thought of them together. If it wasn’t for the severe worry for the sleeping man he told himself he would be long gone, probably never to meet Chris’ pretty blue eyes again unless they were acting together, but he knew he couldn’t. Even now when humiliation burned at his skin, he couldn’t imagine staying away for that long. He was addicted.

As his brain ticked over and retreaded painful thoughts he didn’t realise how tired he actually was until Chris was out of focus. He fought in vain to keep his eyes open to watch over the unconscious Chris, make sure nothing happened to him, but despite every effort to do so, exhaustion won out and he slipped into a fitful sleep.

As consciousness began to lap away at John’s brain, the sickness began to settle in his stomach again as he remembered. He didn’t want to face the world again, didn’t know if he could take any more rejection but he knew he would have to, he had no choice. Opening his eyes however, revealed that Chris was already awake and sitting cross legged on the bed, watching him. The expression on his face was full of regret and sadness, it made the sick feeling in his stomach abate a little but it wouldn’t leave completely and continued to gnaw away at him.
“John” Chris’ voice was soft and sad, such a far cry from the coldness of their previous encounter, “God, I’m so sorry”, his eyes dropped from John and onto the bed.
John got up out of the chair, “Look, its fine. I get it” the hurt in his voice was far too strong for his liking; he was struggling to keep his emotions in check for Chris’ sake. The man always drove him crazy.

With ridiculously quick reactions for someone who should have the most massive hangover, Chris reached out and grabbed John’s wrist and pulled him closer. “No, it’s not fine, not at all” his eyes, showing how earnest his words were, were transfixed on John’s and he found that he couldn’t tear himself away. That damn addiction again.

“I didn’t mean what I said or how I said them” Chris’ hand left his wrist and squeezed his hand, “It’s just... I mean, things have been a little weird with me lately” and as Chris’ remaining free hand covered the other two, John knew that he had already forgiven him. He sat down on the end of the bed and chose to be there for his friend.
“I couldn’t cope with all that pressure on me again. I had to go” his hand gestured frantically in the air, punctuating the crazy he had been feeling. “And although I didn’t show it, I’m glad you came” Chris’ eyes bore into what felt like his soul and he felt exposed and inadequate again. After what felt like hours, though undoubtedly was only minutes, Chris looked away and stared at the floor, “I still don’t think I can go back”.

John wanted nothing more than to pull Chris into his arms and tell him that everything would be okay, but after the previous events, John was scared to touch Chris more than he currently was, something irrational in his head was telling him that Chris would run if he dared to lean over and cup the handsome face in front of him. “Chris, look at me” he paused as the younger man, looking even younger now, once again fixed his eyes on him. “I can only imagine how tough it is having to head the cast of such a massive film but you need to know that I’m, we’re here for you”, he paused once again to avert his own eyes, “Anytime you need to vent or rail or scream” he gave a self-effacing grin and shrugged as if to say, that’s what I’m here for.

Chris’ eyes were unreadable but incredibly soft, “Thank you John, you are far better than I deserve” his words were thick with meaning and John thought he was reading far too much into it until Chris ran gentle fingers up his arm, “Far, far better than I deserve” Chris mumbled as their heads drew closer to one another like two planets caught in each other’s gravity. John thought about pulling away as he teetered on the precipice but the thought was well and truly crushed as physics took control and their lips inevitably met.
The kiss was tender and warm but neither man could give up the self consciousness worry just yet so it was brief. Chris reached up and threaded a hand in John’s soft hair, gently pulling their foreheads together. John sighed, fighting the duel urges of fleeing and to consume the other man and chose instead to do nothing and sat forehead to forehead with the man he could not get out of his mind.

“I’m so sorry” Chris whispered, “I hate that I hurt you”. John tentatively reached up and placed a hand at the back of Chris’ neck, with his thumb resting softly on his chin.
“I forgive you” he muttered and they kissed again, this time there was more urgency and desperation as lips clashed together. Everything forgotten but the taste of one another and the feel of skin on skin as their passions collided. In fact, the world had been forgotten so much that the edge of the bed loomed closer and closer, ignored, until they fell ungainly off the side, John falling on top of Chris with groan and a curious strangled noise!
They couldn’t help laugh, an honest, tension breaking laugh that seemed to subside their slightly hysterical edge. Everything was finally starting to feel right.
“It’s a good job you’re skinny” Chris giggled though John felt a little of his earlier self loathing ebbing at the corner of his feelings, however this was erased by the warmth in Chris’ startling eyes. A hand brushed against his neck and collar bone, “And that you’re hot too” the fond smile on Chris’ face and desire in his eyes made John feel much better and he felt himself smiling back too.
John wrapped his arms around Chris and they lay in this warm embrace, even if it was on the floor of a hotel room, it healed the anguished that had been there not that long ago.

“So, are you coming back with me?” John asked, not daring to release his hold in case it never happened again. Chris lay still in his arms, making the panic rise within him; he seemed to be thinking about the answer but he wasn’t sure it would be a good answer.
“No, I can’t yet” John felt his stomach drop and tried to pull away, panic getting the best of him, but Chris grabbed his arms, “Don’t do that” he muttered as he tried to settle John underneath him, “Would you stay with me here? Just for a few days, and then maybe go back” Chris’ own self conscious attitude struck at his soul, knowing he could never refuse such a gorgeous face he already knew the answer.
“Of course I would” and the brilliant smile he got in return was worth it, he would follow this man to the edge of the earth just for that smile.


David Mitchell

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