by Zack (ザックス)
An incessant knocking tore Greg from his sleep, his dreams disappearing like smoke. Groaning into his pillow, he tried to will whoever it was to just go away.
It didn’t work. Instead, the pounding on his door turned into a high-pitched ring as the unwanted visitor apparently discovered the doorbell.
The bedroom floor sent a chill up his body as soon as his feet touched it. God, how he hated winter. Sweeping the thick blanket around his body, he hurried towards the door — where the asshole on the other side was now ringing the doorbell and pounding on the door at the same time.
Fury made him unlock and wrench open the door without first looking through the peephole, something Greg bitterly regretted as soon as he caught a glimpse of the visitor.
“Greg!” Dylan exclaimed, somehow having the audacity to break into a smile. “What took you so long?”
Greg could only stare mutely as Dylan made his way into the apartment, shedding clothes as he walked. His boots were kicked off (one on the doormat and the other in the hallway), the knitted scarf flew haphazardly through the air to land draped over a potted plant, while the snow-covered jacket got thrown over the side of the couch.
Rushing towards the jacket, Greg snatched it away before melting snow could discolor the beige leather. “What the hell are you doing here?” Greg asked, tightening his death-grip on the jacket and trying his very best to stay calm.
“I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I need your help.”
Greg cut him off immediately. “You’re right; it does sound crazy. We broke up, Dylan. For good. So you have no business crashing into my home like this, waking me up at… at God only knows what time — and on a holiday to boot! You know damn well I like sleeping in on the rare occasions when I don’t have to be at work.”
He could’ve kept going, but Dylan raised a hand in a forestalling motion. Oh, how Greg hated it when he did that (Dylan used to refer to that particular pose as ‘Stop! In The Name Of Love’ — to be used whenever he felt an argument was getting out of hand — Greg didn’t know what was more ridiculous; the pose and name itself, or the fact that he had always fallen for it). He was about to switch gears and start ranting about that instead, when Dylan begun talking again.
“First off, it’s nine o’clock — hardly the crack of dawn. Secondly, that’s not what I meant. The reason I need help is what’s gonna sound crazy. You see, I…” he hesitated, frowning with his entire face. Greg couldn’t believe he had once found that facial expression cute; Dylan just looked mildly retarded.
“You see,” Dylan continued, “I’m stuck in time. The same day keeps repeating, but only I notice.”
Apparently the wicked thought about Dylan looking retarded had been justified. “I beg your pardon?” Greg slowly enunciated.
“Yeah, I know; totally crazy, right? But it’s nonetheless true! It’s been New Year’s Eve for weeks now — it just keeps repeating over and over again.”
“If this is your idea of a joke, I’m most certainly not amused.”
“It’s not a fucking joke!” Dylan yelled.
“I see.” Greg begun walking towards the bedroom, carelessly dropping both jacket and blanket to the floor. “Let me just get dressed, and then I’ll drive you to the hospital.”
“You don’t sleep in the nude anymore?” Dylan’s voice was uncharacteristically subdued.
“Do you mind?” Greg snapped. “At least let me get dressed in peace!” He slammed the bedroom door to emphasize his point.
Leaning against the other side of the door, Greg closed his eyes. He’d stopped wearing boxers to bed shortly after Dylan had moved in with him. It was the pragmatist in him. There was no point in wearing something that would only be stained or torn off during the night anyway. But with Dylan gone it had just served as a reminder, so — even though they now felt horribly uncomfortable — he’d begun wearing them again.
He pushed away from the wooden support, and started getting dressed. He was buttoning up his shirt, debating on whether to wear a tie or not, when Dylan’s voice floated through the door.
“I’m not going to the hospital, Greg. That’s not why I came here.”
Feeling anger rise again, he stalked to the door and opened it. “Why the hell not?”
“I’ve already been there, okay? Just drop it already.”
“I’ll drop it when I want to,” Greg said icily. “When were you there?”
“Christ! I don’t know, a couple of days ago. But, y’know, it was still today — just not this today.”
Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Greg sighed. He could already feel a headache coming on. “And they were unable to help you, I take it?”
“Damn straight. Nothing’s wrong with me physically, and when they started talking about the nuthouse I’d heard more than enough. They can’t do anything for me.”
“Fine. So if you don’t want me to help by taking you to the hospital, what exactly do you expect from me?”
Dylan absently scratched the back of his head, a sheepish smile flitting over his features. “Well,” he drawled, “you know how these things always have a reason?”
“I can’t say I do.” Greg hoped his voice was as scathing as he wanted it to be. “I wasn’t aware that there was a precedent to ‘these things’, as you so eloquently put it.”
Dylan threw his hands into the air. “Would you please get the stick outta your ass and be a normal human being?!”
“Watch it,” Greg snarled. “One more comment like that and I’m kicking you out, mentally deranged or not.”
“Okay okay, sorry. Won’t happen again. Just try to not be so uptight, please? I hate it when you’re like that.”
“Oh, I know.” Greg smirked.
Dylan rolled his eyes. “Moving on, I meant like in movies and books and stuff. There’s always a reason behind the main character falling into a time loop. He usually needs to fix something, to right a wrong.”
“I’m still not understanding what this has to do with me.”
“Sheesh, I thought it’d be obvious.”
Greg forcefully stopped himself from mimicking Dylan’s eye-roll. “If you’re about to tell me that I’m going to meet with a horrible accident today, don’t. I hate laughing when I have a headache.”
“No, dammit! We need to get back together.”
Greg wasn’t often at a loss for words, but that comment rendered him utterly and completely speechless.
“Hey. Did you hear what I said?” Dylan took a step forward, and waved his hand in front of Greg’s face.
Slapping the hand away and stepping back, Greg took a deep breath. “I think you should leave now.”
“What, and have to do this all over again tomorrow? No way.”
Greg frowned. “Are you saying this is the first time you came here?”
That actually hurt. Imagining Dylan being stuck in time for weeks, and only coming to him as a last-ditch attempt. There’d been a time where he had been the first — and only — person Dylan came to when having problems, and now… Greg shook his head. For a second there he’d almost believed the ridiculous time loop story.
“Greg? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Before Dylan could call him on his lie, he picked up the original conversation again. “Let me see if I’ve gotten this straight: Our relationship is so fundamentally important, that time has come to a standstill because we broke up.”
“Well, no, it’s more like an endless repetition.”
“Right. I never thought I’d say this about you, ever, but… That’s some major delusions of grandeur right there, Dylan.”
A pair of blue eyes narrowed. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“What I mean, is that we’re hardly more important to the world than a bag of trash.”
“No, not that. The comment about you thinking you’d never have to say that.”
Greg sighed. “You work in a pizzeria, and seem content to do so for the rest of your life. That’s a trademark of a classic underachiever; not someone who harbors the kind of arrogance your previous statement would imply.”
“I figured as much,” Dylan snorted.
“Then why did you ask?!”
“Because it always has to come back to that with you! I like my job, and my coworkers, and the fact that I can be myself there — I don’t have to wear a tie or act like a robot, unlike someone I know.”
A humorless bark of laughter escaped Greg’s lips. “Take a good look at us. We can’t even keep from yelling and taking jabs at each other for five minutes, and you expect us to get back together? We’re as different as can be; it will never ever work.”
“That’s not true. It didn’t end between us because we weren’t suited for each other! You dumped me, because you were ashamed of me.”
Greg began pacing. The apartment suddenly felt too small, like the walls were closing in on him.
“Not even going to deny it, huh?” Dylan asked, smiling sadly.
“I wasn’t ashamed of you,” Greg said finally. “But let’s say you’re right; let’s say I broke it off for that reason. What good is having another go then? You’re satisfied with your job, and I’m not about to magically change my opinion.”
“I like my job, but I love you.”
Things were getting out of hand. That comment had been bad enough, but now Dylan was slowly advancing on him — and he was doing nothing to back away. It felt like his feet were rooted to the ground, and his heart was racing painfully.
A hand was slowly extended, stroking his cheek before angling his face downward. Dylan pushed up, standing on his tiptoes, and they were suddenly eye to eye.
“I’ve missed you like crazy,” he whispered, warm puffs of air fanning Greg’s face. Dry lips touched his, just a gentle press and nothing more. Without consciously meaning to, Greg opened his lips.
A slight tensing in the lips against his alerted him to the fact that Dylan was smirking. He’d almost fallen for it! Cursing himself for letting his libido get the better of him, he pushed Dylan away.
“I’m telling you to leave right now.”
A wounded look passed over Dylan’s face, before a look of grim determination took over. “Fine then,” he said, “as you wish. Let’s do this the hard way.”
“The only thing I wish is for you to disappear.”
“Sorry, no can do. Gotta fix time.”
“Oh please, not that again. I thought you’d dropped that ridiculous story by now.”
Dylan bent down to pick up his jacket, shrugging it on with practiced ease. “If I prove it to you, will you give this some serious thought?”
“And just how, exactly, are you going to prove it?”
“You’ll see. Get your coat and come with me.”
Greg shifted uncomfortably. They were crouched behind a smelly dumpster in an equally smelly alley. His legs were starting to cramp, and the icicles hanging off the roof above them kept dripping water on his head.
“How much longer is this going to take?”
“Shh! They’ll be here any minute now, so keep quiet,” Dylan whispered.
“You could at least tell me what to expect,” Greg muttered.
“Look, there she is.”
Looking up, Greg saw a girl in her late teens walking into the alley. She was giggling to herself, despite being by her lonesome — probably wearing a tiny headset or something. Before she’d gotten close enough for him to see if his assumption had been correct, another person came into the alley. It was a man this time, rushing towards the unsuspecting girl with a plaid handkerchief tied over his nose and mouth.
“Stay here,” Dylan ordered as he got up and began running towards the robbery-to-be.
Not sure what the hell to think, but certain he didn’t just want to sit back and watch, Greg hurried after him.
The robber had the girl pressed to the wall when Dylan reached them, immediately getting into fisticuffs with the larger man. Greg ran faster, fear giving his legs the speed they had lacked seconds earlier when failing to keep up with Dylan’s pace.
Greg slammed into the robber, sending him skittering to the pavement. He would’ve followed suit if it weren’t for Dylan grabbing hold of his arm and keeping him upright.
“What are you doing?!” Greg screamed. “He could’ve had a knife!”
Dylan just stared at him, mouth agape. Still panicking, Greg turned back to the robber. He was staggering to his feet, handkerchief disguise having fallen off in the tumble. There was something familiar about him…
“Look,” Dylan’s voice interrupted his thoughts, “just leave peacefully and we won’t report this to the cops.”
The robber muttered something under his breath, but skulked off nonetheless.
“Smart thinking,” Greg said, running a shaky hand through his hair. “He could’ve still had a gun or something. I’m just damn glad he didn’t call your bluff.”
“I, uh, kinda meant it.”
“Yeah,” the girl suddenly piped up, “I agree!”
“What the hell? He’s a criminal! We can’t in good conscience just let him walk off scot-free!”
“Oh, no one got hurt,” the girl laughed, sounding like she’d just been subjected to a little child’s prank instead of a violent robbery attempt. “Anyway, thank you so much! You’re awfully brave,” she cooed at Dylan.
He tipped an imaginary hat. “No problem, little missy.”
Greg looked on in silence, once again at a loss for words. That was quickly becoming the trend of the day, much to his chagrin.
The girl turned to Greg. “If I were you,” she said with a wink, “I wouldn’t let go of this one!”
“Yeah, great, thanks,” Dylan grumbled, actually giving the girl a shove towards the end of the alley. With a sunny smile, she skipped off.
They both stared after her long after she’d disappeared, before Dylan broke the silence with a nervous laugh. “Ah, girls today and their gaydars!”
“I don’t know about that… But, more importantly, did the robber seem at all familiar to you?”
“Huh? I have no idea what you’re talking about. Let’s get outta here now.”
Frowning, Greg followed Dylan’s quickly retreating form. “I’m almost positive I’ve seen him somewhere before.”
“It was probably just adrenaline. Say, why don’t we go get a cup of coffee?”
“You don’t even like coffee,” Greg snapped.
“But you do.” Dylan turned to him with a teasing grin. “And something tells me you could do with the daily shot of caffeine right about now.”
“Fine. Whatever. But I didn’t bring my wallet with me.”
He rolled his eyes. “I can afford to buy my elite boyfriend some coffee, you know.”
Greg stiffened. “I’m not your boyfriend.”
“Yeah yeah, I’m working on it.” Dylan took a firm hold of his hand, and started walking. Too weary to fight the grip — and kind of enjoying the sudden warmth — Greg let himself be pulled along.
The diner was almost empty. Aside from a haggard waitress and the old man who was trying to chat her up, the place was deserted. Greg sent a longing look out the window, at the Starbucks across the street. On the other side of the table, Dylan was babbling about the ‘plight of the little guys’, a spiel Greg had heard one too many times to actually pay attention to now.
“…make our pizzas with love, man.”
Greg sighed, wishing for the millionth time that he had never had the impulse to enter the small, no-name pizzeria on his way home from work. He could still see Dylan’s greeting smile if he closed his eyes, a sight apparently burned into his retinas for good. It had been such a nice change from the ones he’d been surrounded with at work — insincere barings of teeth; sharks everywhere.
He remembered how he’d looked over the young man in front of him, remembered the mixed feelings — warmth coiling in his gut from the open smile, and a different heat in his groin when taking in the sinewy arms covered in flour.
“What can I do for you?”
Greg jerked, memory becoming too real for comfort when he heard the waitress repeat the same words Dylan had said, such a long time ago.
“Do you serve alcohol?” he asked, without really thinking.
“It’s barely noon,” Dylan whispered, even though the waitress could doubtlessly hear his comment anyway.
“We don’t have a liquor license,” the waitress said, squaring her shoulders as for a fight. Greg felt awfully sorry for her, and bit back on the ‘why the hell not’ retort that’d been on the tip of his tongue.
“That’s good,” Dylan said. “He’ll just have a cup of coffee, and I’ll go with some hot chocolate. Thanks!”
“I’ll be back with your order in a minute,” the waitress said, returning Dylan’s smile. Greg couldn’t hold back a grimace.
“What’s with you?” Dylan asked as soon as she was out of hearing range. “Where’s the polite businessman I used to know?”
“Oh, I don’t know — maybe he got a bit perturbed by being involved in a robbery, a robbery that you knew would happen!”
“There’s no need to yell, sheesh. Does that mean you believe me now?”
Greg hesitated before answering. “I simply cannot believe your story, any more than I can believe in Santa Claus.”
“But I proved it to you, didn’t I?”
“In a way, but… I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen that robber somewhere before. And what was with that girl’s attitude afterwards? Although it was certainly real enough; my shoulder’s making that painfully clear.”
“You got hurt?!” Dylan stood up, reaching out to touch said shoulder when the waitress returned to their table.
“Is there a problem?” she asked, carefully placing the cups down while giving Greg a suspicious look.
“No, thank you,” he told her, while at the same time giving Dylan a commanding look. He took the hint and sat down again.
Shrugging, the waitress took her leave. She had barely begun walking before Dylan started up again. “Fuck, if I’d known you’d get hurt I-”
“It’s nothing,” Greg cut him off. “My shoulder just took the brunt of the collision, that’s all.”
“Yeah, but still…! I’m sorry Greg, I really am.”
Dylan looked so dejected that he just couldn’t help himself. Reaching out, he fondly mussed the golden curls — they were as soft as he remembered them being.
When he pulled back, Dylan’s eyes were positively shining. Bothered by the feelings his thoughtless action had dredged up, Greg focused on his coffee. Unsurprisingly, it tasted horrible.
Dylan, on the other hand, was clearly enjoying his beverage. Whipped cream now coated his lips, sensually curved into a smile of pure pleasure.
“Excuse me,” Greg forced out, getting to his feet so abruptly that the chair toppled over. Picking it up without a word, he located the toilet and fled.
“Do not get suckered in,” Greg hissed at the mirror. His reflection glared back at him, pupils dilated and dark.
He took a couple of deep breaths and tried to cool off. It was one thing to get physically aroused — he hadn’t so much as looked twice at anyone since breaking up with Dylan, after all — but the rest of it…?
It wasn’t as if he loved Dylan; wasn’t as if he’d fallen head over heels for a flour-covered kid ten years his junior. Not Greg, oh no. It had just been base lust, coupled with an urge to try something new and different.
The gentle, almost shy flirting had only been a game, born from necessity: Dylan surely would’ve balked if he’d suggested the typical one-night stand routine. Childish dates and cuddly evenings on the couch had been a front too, hardly something he’d enjoyed. And so what if he’d given Dylan a key to his apartment and asked him to move in? It’d been the kid’s birthday, and Greg hadn’t had the time to find a present. The spare key had just happened to be the first thing he’d laid eyes on.
Having thus reminded himself of the facts, Greg turned to leave the bathroom — only to stop dead in his tracks and feel his resolve waver. Dylan stood next to the door, watching him intently.
Greg cleared his throat. “Ah, you’re ready to leave? I apologize for taking so long.”
Dylan shook his head, pushing away from the wall to walk towards Greg. “No, let’s stay here for a while longer. It’s started to snow like crazy outside.”
“Oh. Okay.” Greg swallowed. He could handle Dylan when he acted hyper and childish, but the serious young man currently circling him like some sort of predator was another story. It made him feel like a fish out of water, always had and always would, apparently.
“You look scared,” Dylan said.
“Of what? I admit the whole robbery wasn’t exactly a fun experience, but it’s over now and-”
“That’s not what I meant, and I think you know that.”
Greg’s back was against the sink, and Dylan had moved to stand right in front of him — leaning forward to grip the sink on both sides of Greg, effectively trapping him. He bent backwards, trying to place at least some distance between them, but Dylan followed.
Pressed against each other, nothing but a heated line of contact from legs to chest. Dylan was slightly shorter, so when he opened his mouth to extend a tongue it only reached Greg’s throat. Licking the exposed Adam’s apple, Dylan then gently bit it.
Unable to stop his hips from jerking, Greg could feel a responding hardness in the crotch pressed against his.
“Don’t be afraid of us,” Dylan whispered.
That did it. Fury overpowered the lust; Greg twisted his body and kneed Dylan. They were too close for it to really do damage, but it was still enough for Dylan to pull back with a pained cry.
“Thank you for the coffee. Goodbye.” Ignoring Dylan outstretched hand, Greg hurried out. The waitress gave him the kind of nervous look that said she wanted to ask him to pay the check, but didn’t dare to — she probably half expected to find Dylan’s dead body in the bathroom.
The cold wind outside made him gasp, stinging snowflakes getting everywhere at once. Blinking rapidly, he made his way down the street; simply intent on getting away from Dylan, and not caring in the least where he ended up in the process.
He hadn’t gotten very far when he heard running footsteps advancing. Soon, Dylan was at his side, out of breath and red in the face.
“Damn, for a second there I thought I’d lost you.”
“If only I’d be so lucky,” Greg replied.
Dylan grimaced. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have pushed you like that.”
He kept silent, not wanting to start a scene. If he just focused on putting one foot in front of the other, and didn’t look at Dylan, it’d be fine. He’d cool down. Soon.
“Hey? Can’t you answer me at least? I’d like to promise you I won’t do anything like that again, but I don’t like lying to you. I will try though, honest. Okay? Say something, please?”
It was just so typical of Dylan, incorrigible and stubborn to the bitter end, that Greg couldn’t help but laugh.
“That’s more like it,” Dylan grinned. “I’m not sure what’s so funny, but whatever. If you’re happy, I’m happy.”
“Well, ‘happy’ is pushing it,” Greg muttered, but there was no real venom in his words. “Since I’m obviously stuck with you for today, tell me more about the underlying reason. You’ve stumbled upon that robbery before, I take it?”
“Uh, yeah, I have,” Dylan said. “Can we head back to your place? I’m freezing my ass off out here. I can tell you about it while we walk.”
“You’re the one who insisted on not letting me drive here.”
“I know, I know. I just…”
“What?” Greg slowed his pace, curious about the sudden embarrassed tone in Dylan’s voice.
“Walking takes longer. I didn’t know how things would turn out, and I wanted to be able to spend as much time as possible with you. That’s it.”
“Oh.” Greg regretted asking.
“Anyway — I’ve seen that robbery take place several times now, yeah.”
“What usually happens? If I’m not around to tackle the robber, I mean.”
“Um, well,” Dylan hesitated. “It kinda depends, y’know? The very first time I knocked the guy out cold. Second time around I just chased him off, then I left an anonymous tip to the cops, and after that I’ve just reasoned with him.” He nodded to himself, seemingly satisfied with his account.
“I see,” Greg drawled. “So, if reasoning with him has worked out in the past, why did you run in with your fists flying today?”
“Look,” Greg continued, “if you’re going to tell me that you’ve been making this whole thing up, now is the time.”
“W-what do you mean?”
“Your story just doesn’t add up! And then there’s the little matter of the strange girl, and the robber whom I’m still fairly sure I’ve seen somewhere before.”
“Maybe you saw him on a wanted poster or something?”
“Now you’re just reaching,” Greg said, frustrated.
Dylan kept silent as they rounded a corner and left the busy main street behind. Aside from them and a little girl further along the small street, it was empty. She was standing next to a tree by the road, looking up at it with what appeared to be panic.
“Hi there,” Dylan said as they reached her, “what’s wrong?”
“My cat got stuck in the tree,” she hiccupped, tears pooling in her eyes.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get it down for you.” Dylan turned to Greg, a cocky grin twisting his lips. “O ye of little faith! I’ve got another proof for you right here. Been doing this every day for quite some time now.”
Greg looked on as Dylan began climbing the tree, not sure what to think. The tree was fairly tall, and the icy branches didn’t seem very reliable. He tried to offer the girl a reassuring smile as well, reaching out to give her an awkward pat on the head.
Dylan reached the cat, a large tabby, and carefully tried to get a grip on it. It squirmed, apparently not interested in being rescued. “Come on, work with me here,” Dylan hissed. He sounded awfully pressed, making Greg wonder if he had a fear of heights — he’d never mentioned anything of the sort, but it sure seemed that way.
“Don’t panic,” Greg called out, seriously debating if he should climb the tree as well.
“I thought he said he’d done this before?” the girl asked.
“I got it!” Dylan suddenly exclaimed, triumph in his voice. The girl forgot her doubts and cheered him on, which meant Greg was saved from having to attempt an explanation. Relieved, he watched as Dylan began to descend. The cat was held tightly under one arm, making it harder to climb down than up.
He was halfway down when his foot slipped on a patch of snow. As Greg and the girl looked on with rising horror, Dylan wobbled while trying to stay upright. His free hand shot out to grab a branch, but it broke with a sharp snap. He released his hold on the cat as he began falling, and both Greg and the girl rushed forward.
Greg didn’t even have time to brace himself before Dylan’s body hit his, landing in his arms and making him stumble backwards. Unable to maintain his footing, Greg’s ass met the slushy pavement with a wet thump. Dylan sprawled across him, making it hard to breathe.
Groaning, he shook Dylan’s shoulder. “You okay?”
A pale face lifted and gave him a tense nod. “Yeah,” Dylan said shakily. “Thanks for the relatively soft landing.”
“That’s hardly a compliment,” Greg grumbled. “Think you can get off me now? You’re not exactly a lightweight yourself.”
Chuckling weakly, Dylan stood up. Extending a hand, he pulled Greg to his feet before turning to the girl. She had her cat safely cradled in her arms, her small body eclipsed by its bulk. It was rather impressive that she could lift it at all, really.
“Thanks,” she said. “…I guess.”
Dylan scratched the back of his head, grimacing as she took off. “Well,” he said, “that sure went well.”
“Yeah,” Greg snorted. “Does this happen often? Don’t tell me you broke your neck doing this yesterday.”
“Ha ha. That’s real funny.”
“Glad you think so, that makes one of us. Say, do you have enough money for a taxi? I’ve had enough so-called proof for one day, thank you very much.”
“Uh. I’ll check.”
While Dylan counted the money in his wallet, Greg discreetly brushed off his backside. His pants were soaked through, and the ache in his shoulder now had a companion.
“Yeah,” he finally said, “I think I’ve got enough. We just gotta find a cab.”
Greg slowly nodded, eyes lingering on Dylan. “You really could’ve broken your neck,” he mumbled.
“But I didn’t. It was no big deal, although I sure wish it hadn’t happened — you didn’t get hurt when catching me, did you?”
“When I saw you falling, I… I just…”
“Hey, hey,” Dylan took a step forward. Hesitating briefly, he then closed the distance between them to give Greg a tight hug. “Feel that? I’m in one piece, thanks to you.”
He relaxed into the hold for a moment — even returning the embrace — before realizing what he was doing. Taking a step backward, he said, “Let’s go locate a taxi now.”
Doing his best to ignore Dylan’s look, Greg limped towards the road.
The apartment was blessedly warm. That, and a change of clothes, left Greg feeling a whole lot better. He dropped onto the couch with a content sigh.
Dylan sat down beside him, ignoring the fact that there were plenty of other places for him to sit. “So,” he drawled, trying for casual but failing spectacularly. “Are you willing to give us another chance?”
Greg didn’t answer. The resounding ‘no’ somehow refused to leave his mouth.
“I meant it when I said I’d give up my job,” Dylan continued, moving closer. “I’ll miss it, sure, but if it’s so important to you…”
“You don’t understand,” Greg finally forced out. “It’s not that I have anything against the job — and I’m not ashamed of you — it just that I think it’s such a waste. You’re bright and young, with your whole life is ahead of you. You should go places, be someone! I don’t want to see you waste your aptitude on some tiny pizzeria to then become a bitter, regretful, could’ve-been-a-contender type of guy.”
Dylan whistled. “Wow.”
“I’m serious, dammit!”
“I know, sorry — I am too. I just never thought… Shit, Greg, that’s really it?”
Rubbing his eyes until he saw stars, Greg simply nodded.
“I don’t really know what to say. Well, for starters, thanks. Thanks for caring so much about me, that really means the world. But… I won’t turn out that way, I promise. I know myself; know what I want to do with my life.”
Dylan laughed. “It’s not about the pizzas, dummy. It just happens to be a fun job, that lets me interact with a lot of people — some of them more special than others,” he added, elbowing Greg with a wink.
Greg kept silent, even when Dylan reached out to grip his hand and give it a firm squeeze.
“Also,” he continued, “I liked being able to be there for you when you got home from work; liked cooking and all that other homely stuff that career people never have the time for.”
“I liked that too,” Greg said quietly.
“Yeah?” Dylan lit up.
“I…” Dylan’s next words were swallowed by the shrill ring of the phone. “Sorry,” Greg mumbled, getting up to answer.
Greg spent the next couple of minutes pacing the room while growing more and more agitated. He finally slammed down the receiver with a curse.
“I need to drive in to work. There’s been a fuck up with some stock transfers and donations that I have to make sure gets fixed, not to mention damage control and…” he trailed off with a couple of unintelligible curses.
“Now? Can’t it wait?”
“No, it needs to be done right away — you know, for last-minute tax deductions.”
“I’m sorry, I know we were in the middle of talking, but…” Greg apologized, hurrying to get his things together.
Dylan held out his coat for him, smiling warmly. “Don’t worry about it, I understand. I’ll be here waiting for you, if you don’t mind?”
“Thanks,” Greg said, taking the cloak and heading for the door. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
“Take care, bye for now.”
Greg left with a warmth in his chest that he hadn’t felt in a long time.
Exhausted, Greg entered his apartment and locked the door behind him. The greeting silence made his heart skip a beat. It’d taken ages to get everything sorted out, so if Dylan had left he certainly understood it — but at the same time he’d be disappointed, extremely so.
The silence was shattered by a loud snore.
Chuckling, Greg headed for the bedroom. Dylan was lying on the bed, face buried in the pillow. “Hey,” he said softly, “I hate it when you drool on my pillow.”
Dylan shifted, rolling over on his back — but he didn’t wake up. Taking a few steps forward, Greg knelt down by the bed. He watched Dylan sleep for a while, trying to come to terms with his own feelings.
Finally, having made up his mind, he leaned forward to seal the deal. His lips touched Dylan’s, soft and pliable in sleep. Dylan moaned into the kiss, drowsy eyes opening. His arms wrapped around Greg, pulling him closer.
“This better not be a dream,” he whispered, the raspy voice going straight to Greg’s groin.
Foregoing words, Greg took hold of Dylan’s hand and moved it to his hardening cock. “Real enough for you?”
“Oh, yes,” Dylan purred. He sat up, gripping Greg’s shoulders and pushing him down onto the bed. “You’re a bit overdressed,” he said as he straddled Greg and began undressing him. The tie went first, then the shirt. Limber fingers traveled down his body to stop at the zipper.
“A-actually, I need to tell you something first,” Dylan said, going from sultry to terrified in the blink of an eye.
“Yeah, I… I wouldn’t feel right doing this if I didn’t come clean first. Um, that time loop thing? Ikindamadethatup. I’m so sorry!”
A part of Greg wanted to rant and rave, but Dylan looked so absolutely miserable that he just couldn’t. “Idiot,” he said instead. “Do you honestly think I hadn’t figured that out already?”
“Of course I did! I do want you to explain the robbery though, but not now.”
“Oh. Wow, I… I’m so fucking relieved right now, you have no idea.”
“Mhm.” Greg shifted his hips, trying to remind Dylan of what he’d been doing prior to his impromptu confession.
Taking the hint with a grin, Dylan finally pulled the zipper down. He gave Greg’s cock a squeeze through the fabric of his underwear, then freed it. Fingers trailed up the shaft to rub the sensitive slit. After licking away the precome, Dylan paused to ditch his own clothing.
Eager to help, Greg reached out only to be gently rebuffed. “I want this to last,” Dylan said with a lopsided grin. “But if you touch me… well. It’s been too long, and I’ve longed for you more than I can say.”
“Dylan…” Greg slowly sat up, for once having to look up a bit to reach Dylan’s eyes. Pushing him backwards to lie with his back against Greg’s legs, he leaned down to take Dylan into his mouth.
The protest died on Dylan’s lips, making way for a guttural moan. Fondling his balls, Greg hummed. Dylan soon arched his back and began thrusting, at which point Greg pulled back.
“Not yet. I want you in me first.”
“Yeah,” Dylan breathed. “I’d like that too. Lube still in the nightstand?”
“I think so.”
Dylan straightened up, still staying astride Greg, and reached over to rummage through the drawer. “Found it,” he grinned.
Shifting to kneel between Greg’s legs instead, he warmed the lube in his hands before leaning forward to capture Greg’s lips, while at the same time massaging his opening. “Relax,” he whispered, “I got you.”
Greg whimpered, pushing against the touch until Dylan obliged and slipped a finger inside. “More,” he begged, “come on.”
A second finger joined the first, scissoring in a torturously slow motion. “Fuck, I’ll come from doing this alone,” Dylan groaned. He bit Greg’s shoulder, none too gently.
“Hurry up then,” Greg gasped. “I’m ready.”
Dylan didn’t need telling twice. Covering his cock in lube, he pressed forward. Doing his best to enter slowly, Dylan bit his bottom lips as his arms flexed against the headboard. Greg surged up to suck the lip into his own mouth, nipping on it as he pushed himself down on Dylan’s cock.
“Gonna come,” Dylan all but whimpered.
“Me too,” Greg said, taking hold of Dylan’s hand and directing it to his own straining cock. Dylan pumped it in sync with his thrusts, hand tightening painfully — pushing Greg over the edge — when his hips spasmed.
Dylan slumped forward, and Greg found himself half-crushed for the second time that day. Truth be told, he didn’t really mind.
He raised his hand to smooth away a damp curl from Dylan’s face, then let it travel down his neck to languidly rub Dylan’s exposed back.
“Mm, that feels good.” Dylan’s muffled voice was thoroughly sated.
They stayed like that for a while, before Dylan raised his head and gave Greg a peck on the lips. “I made you dinner. Nothing fancy, ’cause I didn’t know when you’d be back — but at least it’s not pizza.”
Greg laughed. “Thank you, that sounds great. Just give me a few minutes; I don’t trust my legs just yet.”
“Gotcha. I wouldn’t mind resting for a bit myself, actually!”
“Well then,” Greg said, “how about we pass the time by you explaining the robbery?”
Dylan scrunched up his face. “If we must.”
“We must. Now get on with it.”
Sighing, Dylan rolled over. Grabbing the blanket and pulling it over the both of them, he began explaining. “You were right when you said you recognized the robber. That was Tom, my coworker. I think you met him once or twice before, hence why he wore a disguise.”
“You got your coworker to pretend to be a robber? Then, what about the girl?”
“She works at the pizzeria too. She’s pretty new though, so you’ve never seen her.”
“How the hell did you get them to agree to doing such a harebrained thing?!”
Dylan grinned. “Nothing less than true love.”
“I have a feeling Tom wasn’t so happy with you tackling him though, heh. But thank you! I was totally impressed — and really, really happy.”
“Hn,” Greg grunted. “And the cat?”
“A total fluke. I thought it was a godsend, but… yeah. So thanks for that too,” he smiled.
“In closing, you made up this utterly insane idea — and got your coworkers to help stage it — just because you wanted to get back together?”
“There’s no ‘just’ about it. I love you, Greg. Utterly and completely. I don’t think there’s anything I wouldn’t do for your sake.”
“You’re crazy,” Greg said, incredulous — but at the same time flattered and really damn happy.
“You ever gonna say it back?” Dylan asked, cocking his head to the side.
“You know what I mean! Those three little words. I know you feel it, but it’d be nice to actually hear it for once.”
“You ‘know’, huh? Aren’t you confident.”
“Stop teasing me and answer,” Dylan whined, reaching over to pinch Greg’s belly.
“Fine, I’ll answer,” Greg said as he swatted away the hand. “Hm, after what you put me through today? I think I’ll make you wait a while longer. Maybe sometime next year.”
“Asshole,” Dylan chuckled, somehow making it sound like an endearment. “But I can wait. I’ll wait forever if that’s what it takes.”
Smiling softly, Greg pulled him down for a kiss.
Outside, fireworks went off. Dylan’s skin was illuminated in a myriad of colors, switching from blue to yellow to red in the blink of an eye.
“Mm?” he replied, snuggling in closer to bury his nose in the crook of Greg’s throat.
“Happy New Year. I love you.”