The trip up the three flights of stairs to Sean’s apartment was a slow battle in his current condition, requiring most of his concentration -- enough so that by the time he actually managed to reach Sean’s door and lean heavily on the buzzer, he’d forgotten that he wasn’t supposed to be here.
After what felt like a long wait, the chain lock rattled and the door opened a crack.
“Tim?” Sean’s voice croaked hoarsely through the gap. There was a muffled curse and more rattling before the door opened the rest of the way, and Sean was standing there in a gray t-shirt from the Y and navy boxers.
“Uh, I thought we could watch the game.”
“The game.” Sean rubbed a hand across his face. “Ended two hours ago.”
“Oh.” Tim paused, baffled by the sudden defeat of his drunken logic. Then he really noticed Sean’s appearance -- his rumpled shirt and unruly dark hair. “Did I wake you?”
“Jesus. You didn’t drive here, I hope,” Sean muttered, yanking Tim inside the apartment by the sleeve of his denim jacket.
Tim shook his head. “Taxi.” Then he laughed. “Wouldn’t wanna wind up in my own prison.”
They stood there in the foyer. Tim had the sensation that he was swaying ever so slightly, but he wasn’t sure. Finally, Sean blew out a sigh.
Tim nodded and managed to peel off his jacket and stumble toward the sofa. “That’d be good. Thanks.”
Sean looked at him for another beat of silence before disappearing behind the swinging half-saloon doors that led to the narrow galley kitchen. Tim made himself comfortable, stretching his legs out in front of him, and listened to the sounds of coffee being made. He looked around Sean’s spare but orderly apartment and smiled.
Yeah. This was where he wanted to be. However fucked up things felt in his life, it was better with Sean around. Always had been, ever since they were kids. He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on keeping the darkness from spinning behind his eyelids.
“You pass out on me already?” Sean’s voice was aggravated but still laced with its usual good humor.
Tim opened his eyes again and sat up enough to accept a steaming mug from Sean’s outstretched hands. “You’re not having any?”
Sean shrugged. “I’m not drunk.”
Tim looked down into the cup. It smelled right, proper amounts of sugar and half-and-half. “Yeah.”
Sean sank down into a dark blue plush easy chair, perfect for TV watching -- his one major concession to luxury.
“So. This the end of another bad date?”
“No,” Tim denied, swallowing. “Nothing like that. I was just...out.”
Which was mostly the truth. If there had been anyone worth picking up at the bar -- hell, if there had been anyone acceptable who’d seemed halfway interested -- then he’d probably be in some strange woman’s bedroom right now. Or, given the general run of his luck, maybe he would’ve wound up here anyway when this non-existent woman kicked him out for doing or saying something cloddish or “insensitive.” That struck Tim as funny in the ironically stupid way that marked an oversized portion of his life. He was about to crack a joke about it but quickly changed his mind when he looked up and saw Sean’s expression, his mouth drawn into a thin line.
“I see,” Sean said, glancing away.
“Uh, you know, I didn’t realize it was so late. I’m sorry,” Tim set his mug down on the coffee table. “Let me call another cab.”
“Don’t be an idiot, just sleep on the sofa,” Sean said, rising and heading toward the door to his still-dark bedroom. He looked back over his shoulder. “I’ll drive you in with me in the morning.”
The door to the bedroom closed behind him, and that was it. Sean was just going to let it go -- spare Tim the embarrassment of questions or demands for explanations. He was too good a guy, always had been. That was why it was so easy to take advantage of him, why Tim always did take advantage of him...when he could. And he hadn't even meant to, tonight. He thought. He was just drunk. And horny. Which was pretty shitty, but Tim had never claimed to be a saint.
Tim studied the closed door to Sean’s bedroom for a moment. Something had changed, but damned if he could tell what it was. Which, he supposed, was probably a good chunk of the reason his personal life was in perpetual shambles. He looked around the living room for something to use as a blanket and found only his own jacket. He thought about getting up and asking Sean for bedding, but then it occurred to him that maybe Sean didn’t want him to be comfortable, or else he would have offered.
Fuck. This was stupid. By morning it would be excruciatingly embarrassing. He knew he should just call the cab company back and go the hell home. He really should. But suddenly the idea of finding his cell phone and making arrangements and going back out into the chill early morning air left him feeling heavy and tired -- there was too much inertia in his drunk and already sofa-bound ass to deal with even simple logistics. Resigned, Tim toed off his shoes and stretched out as best he could on the sofa. He just wanted to...
Tim closed his eyes, and the darkness seemed to waver. The alcohol was fucking with his brain again, but that was okay now. The seasick-swooping feeling reminded him of years ago, when he and Sean were fifteen, sixteen, seventeen...Youthful indiscretion. That’s what you called it. Lying together under the stars by the boathouse in the county park after the girls had all gone home without putting out. Tim can no longer remember what led from self-deprecating jokes passed back and forth along with a bottle, to the moment when they were rolling together, fumbling into each other’s jeans with cold-clumsy fingers. All he knows is that Sean was there, tasting warm and sweet like a shot of Southern Comfort, helping to ease his frustration.
Yeah, Sean had always been willing to help. His hands had gripped Tim’s cock tentatively at first, but grew bolder when it became apparent that no particular skill was required. Over time, though, the skill developed anyway. Sean learned just how to please him, how hard, how fast, how much, how soon, working Tim’s dick like he owned it. Tim did his best to reciprocate, but it never seemed the same -- never seemed like he got as dialed in on Sean as Sean was on him. He could just never seem to feel it. He did better with girls.
And Tim didn’t know. Not back then.
It wasn’t until Sean had come to work at Oz. Wasn’t until they got caught up on years apart over beer, that Tim realized it sounded like Sean had never really had a serious girlfriend. Tim had argued with Ellie over the phone that day -- a bruising, ridiculous fight over some crap he’d left in her garage post-divorce -- and he didn’t even consciously realize what he was doing when the next round he ordered for himself and Sean was shots of Southern Comfort.
Tim opened his eyes and sat up, not sure if he had actually nodded off, or just drifted there for a bit. He was half hard, but his fly was still zipped, so whatever he’d been doing, at least starting to jerk himself off wasn’t a part of it. He rolled his head slowly, popping vertebrae in his neck, then scrubbed his hands through the remains of his hair. After a long moment, he got up and walked to the door of the bedroom.
“Sean?” he called hesitantly, unsure how to pitch his voice in the dead silence of the apartment. When the was no answer, he rapped on the door with his knuckles, waited another moment, then turned the knob and entered the room anyway.
“You’re just determined to not let me get any sleep tonight, aren’t you?” Sean’s voice rose in a low grumble from the bed.
“I’m sorry,” Tim started, suddenly not knowing what in hell he was doing there. “I just...you’re my best friend. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”
God, you are drunk.” Sean sat up halfway, shielding his eyes. Tim studied him as best he could in the dim light spilling through the open door from the living room. “You’re also really kind of an asshole, Timmy. You know that?”
“That seems to be the general consensus, yeah.” Tim waited a long beat before asking, “You think I’m hopeless?”
“Probably.” Sean reached around behind his head for a pillow and tossed it in Tim’s direction. “Go back to sleep, you’ll feel better in the morning.”
“Yeah,” Tim said, turning to go. He doubted it, but what did he know,