|The Morning After
Author: magalina PM
Complete. Sam wakes up to find himself naked in bed next to one of his best friends. He thinks Peter is going to hate him and that Jay is going to help him out. He’s going to be surprised on both accounts. Slash.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Chapters: 7 - Words: 27,740 - Reviews: 113 - Favs: 183 - Follows: 86 - Updated: 12-23-10 - Published: 04-19-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2798330
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So, this is the last chapter, but there's going to be an epilogue some day! Thank you guys so much for the reviews and everything, hope you enjoy. And happy holidays!
Edited by the loooovely Insomiak~
Days pass and Sam doesn't see Jay or Peter for a week. He talks to Peter on the phone, though, and whines about how sick he feels as the other man tells him all about his new roommates' annoying habits.
Sam doesn't even hear about Jay until Friday, when Peter calls to tell him about a new club he wants to go to.
"Meet you at eleven?" Peter asks and Sam feels himself go tense. He sits up on the couch, where he had been lying, enjoying the fact that his head didn't hurt and he could taste food again.
"I don't know," he starts. "I don't—"
"Come on, you just told me you felt better," Peter pushes.
Yes, Sam feels better. He finally feels good after an entire week of being practically a zombie, sick and sore and, to top it all off, alone. But the last time he spent a Friday night with Peter, things had gone to hell.
And besides, he doesn't like the thought of going out to have fun knowing Jay isn't going to be there. Sam doesn't even think he can have fun knowing that Jay is still mad and that while everything is still far from being fixed between them.
"We could call Jay," Peter proposes, like he can read Sam's silence. "Sort of like a peace offering?"
"Not a good idea, Pete," Sam mutters into the phone.
Sam is not sure Peter can really grasp what went wrong with Jay. He should be able to realize taking him to a club is not going to make things better in the least. In fact, Sam is certain that, in order for Jay to calm down, Peter probably needs to be out of arm's reach. Not even in sight, actually. At least until he and Sam can talk and…he doesn't even know.
But Jay hasn't called. And Sam used his horrible cold as an excuse not to. And at this rate, they are never going to speak again.
Something cold and ugly twists in his chest at the thought, but Sam shakes it off and returns his attention back to Peter, who's still trying to convince him to go out.
"Maybe you should go without me," he says. A second later he realizes that's the first time he's said that to Peter. Ever.
And Peter probably realizes it too, because he goes suddenly quiet, his playful begging dying.
"Oh," he says. "Okay."
"Or you could stay in," Sam says quickly. "What're the guys over there doing?"
"They're a bunch of geezers, I swear. They're gonna watch a movie or something, have people over. Who the hell does that on a Friday?"
"Why don't you stay, too?" Sam asks. He doesn't really like the idea of Peter going out alone, with no one to keep an eye on him. And even though a part of him is reminding him over and over just how old the guy is, another one is arguing that he has the common sense of a particularly dim teenager. Especially while drunk.
Sam wonders when he started seeing himself as a freaking grownup, and figures, now that Jay is not an option, he's the only one left to think clearly out of their little group.
And boy, does it suck.
Peter is babbling about going dancing and not being sixty, when the doorbell rings. Sam starts and stands up, wondering if he ordered takeout and forgot about it – everyone that ever comes over usually let themselves in. He's already opening the door when he remembers the spare key, now hidden in his bedside table's drawer.
Peter is still talking in his ear as Sam feels his neck go hot all of a sudden under Jay's stare.
"Um," he manages to say. But he's not sure if he means to talk to Peter or to Jay. Peter doesn't even pause, and Jay only looks at him, serious and sulky, but apparently not angry anymore. His hair and shoulders are damp – it has been raining on and off for the entire week – and he's still in his work clothes.
Sam doesn't know what to do.
"Peter," he says, watching closely to see Jay's reaction. Ready to stop him if he turns to leave. But Jay just stands there and waits, his expression not changing. "Do me a favor and watch a movie with your roommates. I have to go."
"What?" Peter asks, confused at Sam's tone. "But—"
"We'll talk later." And then Sam is hanging up on Peter.
It surely is a week of firsts.
He moves back and waits until Jay is inside to breathe again. Then he closes the door, puts the chain lock in and grips the phone in his hand.
Jay stands in the middle of the untidy living room (Sam's cold was also an excuse not to clean after himself) looking around and dripping water onto the floor. Sam watches him look at the empty pizza box on the coffee table, the blanket thrown over the couch, a pair of socks he was wearing two days ago, now on the floor.
"You've been sick," he says at last.
"It's a little chilly to run around under the rain," Sam replies, trying to sound anything but nervous. He's almost sure he sounds okay.
"I thought you were avoiding me." Jay looks over his shoulder at Sam, a knowing glint in his eyes. "Just for the record, me going all sentimental on you doesn't mean we can't have lunch anymore."
Sam walks further into the room and around the couch to set the phone in its cradle, his mind going a mile a minute. Jay had said—
"You said you wanted out."
And no matter how bad Sam feels, how much he wants to fix everything, he can't help but sound resentful. Because yes, Sam made mistakes (a lot of them) but he hadn't known what he'd been doing to Jay.
"You want me to go?" Jay asks after a pause.
"No! No, I just thought…I didn't think you'd want me to call you."
They stare at each other from opposite sides of the coffee table. Jay's damp skin looks pale and he hasn't shaven in a couple of days. Sam knows he's been stressing over work, this look on him is way too familiar.
"I always want you to call me," Jay says, quiet but firm and the boldness of the statement makes Sam's face heat up. "When I said I was tired…I didn't mean I was tired of you."
"You're tired of Peter."
"No, I'm not tired of Peter." And he says it like the name tastes bad in his mouth. Sam scowls and Jay sighs. "I'm tired of what it means to be close to him."
"What," Sam snaps because if Jay is making him choose, if he wants Sam to decide between them, he doesn't know what he's going to say. Except that it probably won't be very polite, and he has to keep things civil.
Jay shakes his head.
"I just wanted to check you were still alive. I'll go."
"No," Sam says and takes a step towards him. "I need you to tell me what all of this means."
"I already told y—"
"No, I need you to say it. I can't keep guessing."
Jay's eyes, dark and determined, meet Sam's. His mouth thins for a second, a muscle in his jaw twitching. Sam waits as Jay makes up his mind. And then watches as he brushes his hair back and says, "It means I'm a jealous fuck and I can't stand it when you slobber all over other men."
Sam's stomach drops and then his heart is beating practically out of his chest. He had thought about it, he had figured maybe Jay felt like that. But to hear it coming out of his mouth is something else.
"And it means," Jay goes on, "that ever since the first time Peter scared the shit out of me by collapsing on the fucking street, all I could think about is that if it happened to you and he didn't find you in time I would kill him."
Jay's hands go to his shirt's pocket, but he stops himself from grabbing his cigarettes. Instead he runs his fingers down his tie. His eyes stayed glued to Sam.
"And it means I'm in love with you," he says at last and Sam is officially stunned into silence. "And I'm not saying…you don't have to say anything back. It was eating at me, if I didn't say anything the other day I would have snapped. I would not have been pretty."
Sam can feel his entire body humming, a weird sort of anxiety buzzing somewhere under his skin. Who knew having someone confessing to you could be so…intense. He has no idea what to say, and the first thing that comes out of his mouth is a question. Well, part of one, at least.
Jay sighs, his hands curling and uncurling, rubbing at his arms. Sam realizes he's itching for a cigarette.
"I'm…it's not important. I've always cared about you, shitty friendship choices aside."
"Jay," Sam says, in his tone a warning, and Jay rolls his eyes.
"I care about Peter, too," he mutters. "And I do love him, but every time he acts like an asshole to you—"
"He doesn't act like an asshole to me."
"Not on purpose," Jay points out, and he may have a point, but Sam isn't going to agree. "I snapped, okay? You caught me off guard and I didn't know how to react properly."
It takes Sam a moment to realize Jay is talking about him sleeping with Peter. There's some guilt now, mixing with all the other contradicting feelings (fulfillment, regret, anger, a bit of leftover lust, maybe) he has about that.
He wonders if he would have done it anyway if he'd known it would hurt Jay.
"Since when, Jay?" Sam asks again.
"Since College, I guess," Jay shrugs and Sam's mouth nearly drops open in surprise.
Years. It's been years. Sam needs to sit down.
"Why didn't you…College?" He asks again, dropping onto the couch, looking up at Jay with wide eyes.
"I hated it," Jay says. "I didn't want to think about you like that. About men in general, I freaked out at first. Then I sort of got over it."
"Why didn't you tell us?"
Jay takes a moment to answer – he looks at Sam with his head tilted slightly sideways. Then he seems to snap out of it and finally reaches for his cigarette pack.
"Because I didn't want just any guy," he replies, raising his lighter and flicking it open. "I wanted you."
It's like he transforms then. Once the cigarette is lit, it's like his confidence, that seemed shaky before, is back. Like Jay is back. He looks like himself again, and Sam can see beyond the pale skin and dark circles under his eyes, beyond his rain-soaked hair and clothes.
He's Jay and he just told Sam he wanted him.
All these years, Sam thinks as Jay blows smoke to the side, all these years that Sam spent pining after Peter, Jay has been pining after Sam.
It dawns on him, really hits him, that every time Jay went out with them, every time he got angry, every time he looked after them, it was for him. Only for Sam.
And the guilt he feels then overwhelms him.
"Jay, I'm sorry," he says. Jay grimaces before glaring at him, the cigarette between his lips.
"I told you to stop saying that."
Sam ignores him.
"You should have told me."
"Like you told Peter?" Jay snaps, snatching the cigarette away from his mouth. "Why did it take you all these years?"
"I didn't want—" Sam cuts himself off. And then says, more quietly, "I didn't want to ruin it."
"Well," Jay mutters, "neither did I."
"Can I take this off?" Jay asks, looking down at his sodden coat. "I'm ruining your floor."
Sam slumps back as Jay walks to the laundry room and lets out a weary breath. He listens to the rain outside – now probably a drizzle because the sound it makes against the windows is soft – and wonders what's going to happen next. There's no way this is going to end well, he knows it. There's no way he can return Jay's feeling, because he's too good for Sam and they both know it. They both know that, even if he does feel bad afterwards and always tries not to, he fucks people over. He just does, it's in his nature.
Or maybe Peter just rubbed off on him.
He knows that Jay isn't looking for something casual. Well, actually he's not sure if Jay is looking for anything at all, but if he is, a fuck probably isn't it.
Sam's longest relationship lasted a year and a half, and that was in high school. He's dated afterwards, but none of the people he's seen since had liked the way he was about Peter. The only person that has stuck with him despite it is Jay, and even he's finally tired of it.
But other people hadn't mattered to him the way Jay does. The men in his life had been around for fun, and Jay is fun and infuriating and impossible and amazing and he has kept Sam from ruining his life since the day he met him.
It takes him a while to realize Jay's been gone for way too long and he doesn't appear to be coming back.
"Jay," he calls, sitting up. No one answers.
Sam gets up and walks to the kitchen where he finds Jay's shoes making a puddle on the tiled floor. Jay has his back to him, leaning his side against the laundry room's doorframe. He still has his coat on, and he's still dripping water around himself. Sam can see the tense set of his shoulders, even as he reaches up to put the cigarette to his mouth and take a drag.
Sam stands behind him for a moment, just watching. What the hell does Jay see in him anyway? He doesn't understand how someone as down to earth as him could put up with Sam and Peter for so long. Except that he knows Jay is a stubborn bastard and, unlike them, he doesn't give up that easily.
Seeing Jay miserable makes Sam want to punch something, preferable himself, and he finds his hands are closed into tight fists and he hadn't realized.
"Hey," he says and Jay flinches, surprised, and turns around.
He stares at Sam for a moment before sighing and gesturing inside the laundry room. Sam walks over to him and looks over his shoulder, careful not to press into him. The suit is folded and resting on top of the washing machine.
When Jay speaks is low and a little bitter, right next to Sam's ear.
"Every time I say to myself I'll get over you," he says, "you go and do stupid shit that makes me fall again." Jay laughs. "It pisses me off."
And then Jay turns his head a little and kisses him. And because Sam is Sam and he never turns down a chance to get off, not even if he fucks people over by doing it, he kisses back. If this is what Jay wants, he's going to give it to him.
Sam doesn't remember very well, but once around the time he had moved into his apartment, during one of the many parties he held there in celebration, he had an odd conversation with Jay.
The details are fuzzy at best, but he does remember clinging to the other man like he always did when he was completely trashed. He remembers resting his forehead on Jay's shoulder and fisting his shirt in his hands until the room stopped spinning. He's pretty sure he remembers Jay rubbing his back, his palm warm and soothing, maybe lingering a little in the place where his shirt had ridden up.
"Shit," Jay had muttered against Sam's hair.
"What," Sam had answered.
"You're trying to kill me."
Sam had frowned, he was pretty sure he was not, in fact, trying to kill anybody.
"'m not," he said, his mouth touching Jay's neck and his friend cursed again.
Jay had drunk more than usual, Sam had seen him. He usually liked to get a little buzzed and that was it, but tonight he had downed shot after shot, cheered on by everyone in the place.
Sam looked up at him – saw Jay's flushed cheeks and glimmering, unfocused eyes.
"You're drunk," he said, smiling, and Jay scoffed.
"Look who's talking."
"You look adorable," Sam had teased, somehow managing to get the words out correctly in the first try.
"Look who's talking," Jay repeated, quieter and looking away.
And then Sam remembers waking up on his couch the next afternoon, Peter passed out in his bed and Jay drinking coffee in the kitchen.
Jay's lips are cold and his fingers are trembling slightly, framing Sam's face like he's going to break if he holds on too tight. Sam doesn't know what he looks like, because his eyes are screwed shut. He puts his hands on Jay's chest and hopes he can pass some warmth onto him.
They kiss slowly, tentatively and Sam absolutely hates how wonderful it feels.
If it at least felt wrong, then Sam could draw back and apologize, say that all Jay's going to get is a kiss. But Sam has always been quick with the physical part of things, and it doesn't take him long to get aroused. It doesn't take him long to go and deepen the kiss, to bring Jay a little closer. And the fact that Jay is more than happy to oblige only makes it worse.
Sam knows that he has to stop, that he's going too fast, that he's going to regret it as soon as it's over. He knows Jay doesn't deserve to do this halfway into the kitchen, still wet from the rain and trembling from it, with Sam still unsure about everything.
And it's then – not when he got his job, not when he passed his last final at school, not when he felt so ashamed to have taken advantage of someone – it's when he's thinking he doesn't want to do this in the laundry room like he did with Peter. That's when Sam realizes something ridiculously sappy: Jay makes him want to be a better guy.
No, Jay forces him to try and be a better guy.
It's such a cliché thing to think, like something out of a bad romantic comedy, that Sam can't help but laugh into Jay's mouth. But it comes out wrong, like a broken whine and it causes Jay to stop and pull back.
"You hate it," he states like he's only confirming something he knew all along, and starts to let go. Sam tightens his grip.
"No," he says. "No, Jay, not at all."
Jay doesn't look convinced, and Sam drags him close again, slides his arms around his waist and presses their hips together.
"But-- Jay, why d'you want me?"
"Why wouldn't I?" Jay asks, running his hands through Sam's short hair, blunt nails scrapping slightly at his skull. And he looks so sad.
"Because you fucking deserve better," Sam snaps but closes the little distance left between them and buries his face in Jay's neck, hugging him tight.
Jay leaves one hand in Sam's hair and lowers the other to his back, squeezing in return. Sam has no idea what happened to his cigarette.
"Why do you always put yourself down like that?"
There's a sudden lump in Sam's throat, and he has to swallow twice before he can reply.
"Just saying it as it is," he mumbles. Jay's hair is dripping on his face but he's not shivering anymore. He feels warm now, even if he's still soaked through.
He hugs Sam harder.
"Don't be an idiot," he says. "I can't think of anyone better."
Sam feels his entire body flush, and it's his turn to shiver – a quick spasm, like a cold finger running up his spine. He kisses Jay, whom always takes too long to say the right fucking thing but always does in the end, until he runs out of air and has to stop.
"Listen," he says between gasps, because Jay is running his lips down his jaw to his neck, holding him almost painfully tight. "Listen, don't…not here."
Not now, he wants to say, because this could be what Peter did to him. Sam could be doing exactly the same, except it's different, it isn't the same at all, and Sam isn't going to hurt Jay. He is going to hold on and work through it and, and--
And he can't think straight with Jay's hands roaming the way they are.
"Wait, wait," Sam says and pulls back, out of Jay's grasp. "Wait."
Jay is breathing so much rougher than Sam's ever seen him breathe before. Pupils blown wide and a blush high on his cheekbones. It takes all of his self control, not that impressive to begin with, to keep his hands to himself.
"I haven't-- I don't even," he starts to say but doesn't know how to follow up. Jay licks his lips, dark and wet, and nods at him to go on. "I don't want to fuck it up."
Something softens in Jay's eyes, and he gives one of his rare smiles, small and honest. He sighs and runs his hands down his face, letting himself fall back against the doorframe. Sam looks down (he has to) and sees the lost cigarette, peeking out from under Jay's shoe.
A minute passes before either of them speak again.
"I'll lend you some dry clothes," Sam says, and when Jay nods, he continues. "And then we can watch a movie."
Jay lets out a breath and Sam gives him a moment to compose, taking the time to calm himself down.
Later, they sit on opposite ends of the couch, a little tense at first, and they watch two movies together. Sam barely pays attention to the TV, though he keeps his face resolutely turned towards it, and now and then catches Jay looking at him out of the corner of his eye.
When Peter calls in the middle of the second movie, Sam feels Jay shift next to him. He doesn't have to look to know what kind of expression he has on.
Sam tells Peter he's got plans, that they'll talk tomorrow, and only cares a little that the other man sounds offended when he hangs up. Jay seems more relaxed after the call, though, and Sam thinks that since he still has a lot to make up for, he'd better start now.
And if something happens after he does make up for it, if Jay still wants him then, at least they'll be standing on more even ground.