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Acting in a Particular Way

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Alcohol is the great liberator, the great equalizer.

Alcohol is the only way it ever happens.

It's not that the attraction isn't there all the time. Michael lives with it like a low level hum in the back of his mind when they're on set, when Rick walks in the room, when someone mentions his name. It's a constant companion and he's not entirely uncomfortable with it. They've covered this ground already, a serious of mono-syllabic conversations, well timed glance and nods, in actions most thoroughly.

But it still only happens when they're drunk, and that's why Michael is hard-pressed to hide his surprise when Rick asks him away for the weekend.


"You have a cabin? You actually have a cabin?" Michael asks, dropping his overnight bag onto the couch and looking around. "You didn't mention that it was a cabin."

"Life, art, imitation, all that bull," Rick waves a hand dismissively. "Beer?"

Michael grins. "Do you even have to ask?"


They don't fuck right away, and that's almost a surprise because that's what they always do when there is alcohol and they're alone. That sets Michael on edge to begin with but he takes a deep breath and tucks his nerves down deep, slipping into a second skin like this is a role he's paid to play.

They fish, they watch television, they nap, they cook dinner. He stops playing the role, stops needing that comfort, in an abruptly short period of time. It comes with the realization that this is fun. It's not awkward, not like he'd thought it might be. They know each other well enough, they're comfortable enough in each other's space. When conversation lulls Michael doesn't rush to fill it.


On set, Rick is the boss. He swaggers in when he wants to, makes any change he feels like. People walk on egg shells because Rick is one of the guys that signs their paychecks and no one wants to piss off the big bad boss. Rick is not too proud or too honorable to use it to his advantage. He likes the setup they have on the show and he makes no secret of it.

Michael sees none of that here, now. Rick defers to him and it takes Michael until after dusk to realize that he's doing it on purpose. Even after the thought occurs to him, there's lingering doubt because everything Rick does is calculated to be careless but very rarely actually is.

He reaches over and turns off the television, getting to his feet. Rick looks up at him with interest.

Michael nods toward the bedroom, and Rick grins.


There's a shift even in the sex, but Michael isn't sure he likes it.

He's not the kinkiest guy ever, but part of Rick's appeal is his ease of domination, the way he takes up an entire room.

Michael doesn't like Rick laying back, letting him make all the moves. He growls his frustration, shoves Rick back against the pillows and kisses him hard. Rick laughs into the kiss and he puts his hand on Michael's cock and strokes too gently, with too much care.

"Fucker," Michael says, thrusting forward into the grasp. "Come on."

"You want something there, buddy?" Rick's smirk is infuriating, but he takes pity and rolls them over. "So this is how you like it? Really?"

"Really," Michael says, and throws his head back and whines. Rick groans, low and long, and shoves his cock against Michael's, the pleasurable friction radiating through both of them.


They sleep late the next morning, no early calls, no alarm clocks. It's the first time they've woken up together that Michael can remember, though the thought doesn't occur to him until hours later because he swims to consciousness with Rick's hand jerking him off.

They nap again afterward, and Michael stumbles to the shower some time mid morning. When he comes back out, the air smells like bacon and he finds Rick cooking breakfast.

"Never pegged you for the domestic type," Michael says, and it's only afterward that he realizes all the things wrong with that statement.

Rick glances over his shoulder at Michael. "Man's gotta eat."

The brush off is obvious; Rick's letting him off the hook.

Michael relaxes, but only somewhat. He starts opening cabinets until he finds the one with dishes, pulling out two plates and two glasses, keeping himself busy.

"I'm not," Rick says, a few minutes later.

Michael looks at him, not prepared to offer a response until he's sure what Rick is referring to.

"The domestic type," he clarifies. He looks at Michael for a long moment.

Michael nods. "I wouldn't expect you to be."

"But once in a while," Rick continues, like Michael hadn't spoken at all. "It's nice to forget that."


Michael spends the next few hours rattling those words around in his brain. He's not always the most perceptive guy ever, but even he realizes there's something under the surface there, some sort of subtext that he wished he inherently understood.

It hits him in the middle of the night. He wakes up and there's the normal disorientation of being in a strange bed, in a strange place, wondering where he is. Then he hears the light snore beside him and relaxes.

They're not touching, no points of contact anywhere between them. They don't do that - don't cuddle. Sleeping in the same bed just makes sense. The second bedroom in Wylie's and Michael has no intention of cramming his frame into that twin bed, wouldn't even if he could fit, so he's here awake in Rick's bed with Rick sleeping beside him and suddenly understand slams into him like a punch to the gut.


He wakes up before Rick and starts breakfast. He moves confidently in the kitchen and waves off Rick's attempt to help.

Rick grunts and walks out of the kitchen. Michael hears the shower start a few minutes later. He's got breakfast on the table when he comes back, jeans slung low on his hips, chest and feet bare, hair wet and messy.

"You know, any time you want to forget," he says, and he means to leave it at that but after a beat adds, "You don't even need to booze me up first."

Rick looks up at him and smiles.