Still, dhyi seems to have enjoyed the story, which, as you will all have figured out by now, is what I really care about. :)
Title: Things to Come
Pairing: Matt Damon/Ben Affleck
For: Happy New Year to dhyi. I'm sorry this was late, sweetheart.
Disclaimer: Total fiction!
Matt was still towelling his hair dry when he walked out of the hotel bathroom, so it took him a moment to realise he wasn't alone.
"Nice threads," said Ben, lounging on the bed as though he had every right to be there; as though they hadn't been ignoring each other pretty successfully for the last six months. He leered at Matt's nudity from over the top of an ancient, dog-eared copy of Hollywood Heat he must have picked up in the lobby.
"How the hell did you get in here?" Matt asked, resisting the urge to cover up with the towel he was using on his hair.
Ben shrugged and turned his attention back to the magazine. "Bribed housekeeping," he said, looking not the least repentant. "Hey, I had a torrid affair with Angelina Jolie back in," he turned to the cover and glanced at the date, "1997. I wonder if we have a secret love child."
Matt walked over to his bag, dropped the towel on the floor and searched out a pair of boxer-shorts. "Of course. Don't you remember? I spirited her away to Australia to be adopted on the sly. Her name's Trixie River Crowe--no relation to Russell." He pulled on a t-shirt, but didn't really feel much less naked. It had been too long since he and Ben had last done this.
"Ah," said Ben. "Was that before or after you and I celebrated our forbidden love by getting hitched in Hawaii under assumed names?" His voice was steady, but the magazine trembled a little at the edges, hinting at an undercurrent of unease beneath the flirting that had never been there before.
Still doing up his jeans, Matt walked over and flopped down on the bed, wrong way around, so that he was facing Ben. He swung his feet up onto the pillow next to Ben's head and propped himself up on an elbow. "I don't think we've celebrated our forbidden love yet." He arched an eyebrow, flirting back, getting a perverse thrill out of the uneasy tension between them. He'd always been the peace-keeper in the past, and he was surprised that Ben was here, making the first move, even if The Incident had been his fault. "But, hey, the night is young. We're in Vegas. And I'm sure your bribed housekeeper will be delighted to takes photos of the sheets once we're done."
"You're pissed." Ben dropped the magazine face-down onto his chest, and all signs of his nervousness vanished. "But it's not like you were cheap. I mean, I wouldn't call five hundred dollars cheap, so there's no need to be bitter about the bribe thing--"
"I'm not bitter. I'm freaked out!" Matt corrected. "What if you'd been some whacko! Someone I don't have any reason to trust..."
Ben flinched, and Matt felt a mean satisfaction.
"The maid knew who I was," Ben said defensively. Then, with a hint of smugness: "I showed her that photo of us. You know, the one from Maine that time. She thought it was romantic that I wanted to surprise you."
"Oh, that makes it so much better," said Matt and biffed Ben's thigh with the pointy part of his knuckles. "Implying we're lovers just because you like giving the tabloids stupid stories to print. Some of us aren't exhibitionists like you."
"I'm wounded that you think my motives were anything but sincere," said Ben. At Matt's eyeroll, he went on, "Seriously. Here I am, making a gesture," he waved an arm at himself and the bed, and then pointedly at Matt, "and what do I get for it?" His hand dropped to the spot on his thigh Matt had hit and he rubbed it. "Insults and violence. I don't know why I bother."
"Why did you bother?" said Matt, tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop. "I thought we were still fighting."
Ben's hand drifted from his own thigh to Matt's hip and settled there. "I was an ass," he said.
"No arguments here," said Matt.
"And I miss you," said Ben, his fingers digging into Matt's hip.
Matt eyed Ben. There was definitely a tension in him that belied the casual way he was lying on the bed, and his fingers were painful on Matt's hip. Some of the anger Matt had been feeling on-and-off for the last six months sloughed away, but he still wasn't ready to make it too easy. "That's your idea of making up, is it?"
"What do you want?" said Ben. "Dinner? Flowers? A trip to Hawaii under assumed names?"
"The problem with that," said Ben, dropping his gaze to look at the magazine's cover pic of Cher holding a chihuahua, "is that I'm not sorry. Even though I was a total ass."
"You're not sorry?" said Matt, sitting up and pushing Ben's hand off his hip.
Ben picked up the magazine and dropped it over the side of the bed; then he rolled over to face Matt. "She was a steel-plated bitch and she would have eaten you for breakfast. So, no. I'm not even a little bit sorry I seduced her."
"Do I look stupid to you?" asked Matt, incensed. "Do you think I didn't know what she was? Jesus, Ben. Did it not occur to you that I might actually know what I was doing?"
Ben frowned. "What? You wanted to be eaten for breakfast."
Matt just glared at him.
A tentative smile curved Ben's mouth and he reached out to pat Matt's knee as though he couldn't help himself, as though he was compelled to touch. "Then you should be thanking me. Turns out? Those rumours of her bedroom skills were entirely unfounded. She really wasn't that great in the sack."
"I see," said Matt, and he did. Or at least, he was beginning to. Ben's thumb was tracing a gentle arc around his knee-cap. Matt watched it as though Ben had never touched him before, even though this was how Ben had always touched him. "So you saved me from myself? Heroically throwing yourself into the breach to rescue me from all the bad sex I was about to have. Very magnanimous of you."
"I'm a magnanimous kind of guy," said Ben, with that look of false modesty he'd practiced in front of the mirror before Oscar night. "And I'm willing to make it up to you. I mean, if it's dirty sex you want, then I'm your man." He grinned. "After all, eighteen million tabloids can't be wrong."
It wasn't the first time Ben had offered him sex; in fact, it was pretty much Ben's standard operating procedure. But this time, Matt was too busy having his gay epiphany to respond with his usual banter. Well, not his actual gay epiphany, because he'd had that in Rome, and he still hadn't entirely forgiven Brad for that; but this was a pretty good runner-up, in terms of Matt feeling like an idiot.
Ben's grin faded. "Matt?"
Matt had always gone with his instincts when it came to being friends with Ben, and it had worked out well enough that he didn't see any reason to stop now.
"Ben," Matt replied, as he pulled Ben's hand off his knee and laced their fingers together. "You bribed the fucking maid--which I'm still pissed off about, by the way--and that means she's going to go through this room with a fine-toothed comb when I check out. And as I don't like toying with the fucking tabloids the way you do, that means I'm not having sex with you here. Especially not dirty sex. So you'd better come up with a Plan B, and you'd better do it fast. Because if you don't fuck me tonight, I think I'm going to stay pissed off with you for a really long time."
Matt had just a moment to wonder how Ben was going to react, and then Ben's hand was suddenly damp against his, and Ben's eyes were wide open and he was staring at Matt the way he sometimes stared at really expensive motorcycles.
"Oh my God," Ben said, but there wasn't even a hint of disbelief in voice.
"Tick, tick," Matt replied, impressed with how on the money his instincts had been. "The clock's running. I suggest you freak out on your own time."
The first flush of unschooled joy faded from Ben's expression, caution creeping in. "You don't do--"
Matt poked a finger, hard, into the middle of Ben's chest. "I do, actually." Ben opened his mouth and Matt cut him off, "For fuck's sake, Ben. You've been asking me for twenty fucking years. Do you really want to have the conversation about my big gay awakening now?"
Ben was starting to look mulish. "But why--"
Matt sighed. "Because you've been asking for twenty years, okay? Obviously, I'm not a passing fad, which you have to admit is your usual style. So here are the rules. Don't cut in on my women again, and I won't fuck with yours. No more jealous bullshit masquerading as doing me a favour, because I'm out of here the first time you pull that shit. And don't give me any of your usual commitment-phobic crap either, because I'm not one of your floosies, and I'll smite your ass if you try it. Clear?"
"Clear!" said Ben, and then blinked, as though he hadn't meant to speak at all.
Matt leaned forward and kissed him to seal the deal: a quick press of lips against Ben's cheek.
Ben tried to free his hand, tried to snag Matt and pull him in closer, but Matt pulled away before he could manage it and got up off the bed.
"Plan B!" Matt reminded him, and started piling stuff into his bag. "Give me five minutes and I'll be ready for anything."
With a shuffle of fabric, Ben slid off the bed and came over to Matt. He rested a hand on Matt's shoulder and stepped in close behind him. "Matt?" he said, and the uncertainty in his voice made Matt pause, made him drop the shirt he was holding and turn into Ben's arms.
Ben searched Matt's face; Ben's own expression was naked, containing too many currents of feeling.
Matt let him look, let him see the mix of relief and affection and desire and annoyance twisting up his insides. "I'm not going to take it back," he said.
Ben smiled then, and his eyes lit up in a way Matt had never seen before. He pulled Matt in closer, pressing their bodies together so that Matt could feel Ben's hard-on against his hip.
Ben's lips were warm and smooth, a little tentative at first, until Matt opened up and let him in. Then Ben made a muffled sound against his mouth and Matt drank it in, eyes still open, making Ben part of himself, making this real; Ben's tongue against his felt like a promise of things to come, like desperation too, and a lot like love, and Matt gave it all back, a hundred-fold, acknowledging what had always been there, hiding in plain sight.
When Ben broke the kiss he was breathing heavily, both hands holding Matt tightly, as though he still thought Matt might pull away. "I'm not commitment-phobic," he said, and kissed Matt again, short and sweet this time, and with only a tiny blip of surprise, Matt found he believed it.