Title: The Sharp With The Sweet
Rating: R, for boy-kissage (yep, finally got there)
Genre: RPS, mild angst, pre-slash, schmoop
Spoilers: can't think of any
Warnings: RPS, fictional shenanigans with love lives.
Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, not mine. These are real people with real lives that bear no relation or resemblance to this work of fiction.
Word Count: ~1100
Summary: A confession is made and a gate is opened.
Note: For the Wild Card (kiss) square on my schmoop_bingo, and the fourth story in the Incremental Movement 'verse. morganoconner and cageyklio both said that the boys needed to get to the osculation already, so I have tried to get them to oblige.
Jared's trailer isn't tremendously warm, but it's bright and welcoming as it always is when Richard steps into it out of the Canadian night. It smells like chocolate and milk and cinnamon, and he inhales in appreciation. "So, you gonna give me a cup of that?" he asks, peering at the saucepan-thing Jared is messing with.
"Jeez, impatient much? Coat off, stay a while," Jared mock-orders, and Richard sketches him a bow and starts to unzip. By the time he works his way out of the coat and drapes it over the same chair where Jared's own parka is flung, his coworker is ready for him, holding out a giant mug with an equally giant star emblazoned on the side.
Richard takes it carefully and then has to shift his grip. "Okay, that's warm."
"Ye-ah, that'd be why they call it 'hot chocolate.'" Jared looks unrepentant and Richard gives him the eyebrow.
"So, you need better mugs, man. Insulated."
Jared rolls his eyes. "You are totally a wine drinker, aren't you. White wine."
Richard doesn't bother to dignify that with a reply, because he's quite secure in his manhood and has been for years, thank you very much. He raises the mug and sniffs, and raises both eyebrows this time. "Booze much?"
"Just taste it, dude."
Richard takes a cautious little sip because, good God, hot, and then closes his eyes as flavors race across his tongue. Chocolate – rich and dark and sharp, balanced just perfectly between cocoa and milk and the barest hint of vanilla. Alcohol. And cinnamon, strong and a wonderful spicy-hot but not gritty, and the taste is familiar but – not. He takes another slow sip and then another, analyzing, savoring, tempting a burn because this is – but he can't quite place the – "This is fantastic. What did you use?" he asks, opening his eyes.
Jared is staring at him.
A beat longer, then Jared blinks and looks away, turns away to pick up another mug from the tiny kitchen counter. "Yeah. So." He takes a breath, and then cradles the mug in both big hands. When he turns back to Richard the stunned-fish look is gone, painted over with happy!Jared. It's – unsettling. "Figured out what's in there yet?"
"Jay, what's wrong?"
"You haven't, have you."
One hand goes up. "No, no, no, persuade me you will not; no hints until you make at least one guess –" Jared grins at him but it's not real and Richard –
Richard doesn't want to play this game. "Jared."
And Jared stops.
The happy-mask falls away, revealing something painful-looking underneath. Jared sighs. He sets his mug down on the counter and drags a hand through his hair, looking away. Then he moves the few steps necessary in the small trailer to reach the couch and sinks down onto it, and looks over at Richard. "You know what's going on here, right? I mean, between…?" he asks softly, gesturing between them.
And here it is. "Yes, I know."
"I like you, Rich," Jared says, blunt as a rock. "A lot. And I'd like to be more than a friend – much more – but the friendship's the most important thing, and I don't wanna mess that up. And I –" he swallows and leans forward, elbows on knees, and looks down. "I won't push, or I swear I'll try not to, anyway," he says with a ghost of a laugh. "You're probably still bruised, and maybe I am too. So anything that happens, happens at your pace."
Bruised? Maybe that had been Jared's love life. Richard's had been bleeding out in a ditch.
"But I like you," Jared says again, head coming up and hazel-green eyes bright and honest. "And I've liked you for a really long time."
Jesus Christ on a pogo stick. Richard knew his mouth was open. How did you just – lay that all out? Do you even know how fucking brave you are?
And this is still a fucking bad idea, but maybe –
Maybe I don't care anymore.
Richard walks slowly toward the couch and just as slowly sits down, and carefully sets his mug on the floor. When he straightens, Jared is watching him, expression hovering on the edge of something that makes Richard's chest go tight. He leans in and raises his hand to cup the side of Jared's face.
Jared's breath goes in sharp and he blinks once, twice, and presses into the touch.
Something hot uncoils in Richard's belly, something he'd thought dead. Something that Jared, all unknowing, has been coaxing back to life. Jared's skin prickles against Richard's palm, and he's warm and smells like cocoa and vetiver and a whiff of some fruity hair product.
Richard really, really has to kiss him now.
It's soft, a dry press that's as sweet as anything Richard remembers. Jared barely moves, is possibly not quite even breathing as Richard captures his face in both hands. And that's flattering, but not much fun, so Richard darts his tongue out to lick at the seam of Jared's mouth and then nibbles, gently, at his bottom lip.
Jared makes a sound low in his chest and wraps his hands over Richard's knees, and opens his mouth.
Soft and dry turns soft and wet but the sweetness remains. Richard indulges, tasting the mouth he's been watching for longer than he wants to admit and gets tasted in return, Jared's tongue curious and only slightly pushy, tapping lightly until Richard makes it clear that the invasion is welcome.
It's long, long minutes later when Richard finally pulls back. He's wrecked and breathless and tingling in places he'd almost forgotten about. And Jared is so close – his eyes wide and dark, color flushed across high cheekbones, mouth a bitten red.
Richard leans their foreheads together and closes his eyes, and works on that breathing thing. "My pace, huh?"
"Your pace," Jared agrees, hoarsely, and Richard hears him swallow. Richard swallows too. "Y'know, this weather'll be good for something, anyway."
"What, more flammable cocoa?" Richard teases as he wrestles himself under control, because just damn.
"That too, but it'll save water."
Richard pulls away again, far enough to raise an inquiring eyebrow, and Jared chuckles.
"Cut down on the cold showers I'm seeing in my immediate future."