eff_reality: (so ridiculously pretty dom)
[personal profile] eff_reality
Premise: AU. Billy is a PhD. candidate in Cinema Studies at Suffolk University and Dom is a rent boy in Southie.
Rating: PG-13 to NC-17
Feedback: is my anti-drug. Help keep me off the pipe.
Note: I beat my own record: almost three months since my last post. *is ashamed*



Billy is dreaming, and, thankfully, he knows it—one of those lucid dreams where the setting is realistic and the actions are believable, but something is just slightly off about it. They're still in the guest room in Lij's house, he and Dom, and the colors are all right, but he's facing Dom's back and it's all fuzzy, like Billy's looking at him with drops in his eyes. Dominic's silhouette ripples as he turns to face Billy, and he's wearing his glasses to bed, which can't be right—sign number one.

His neck goes elongated as he scoots toward Billy, all soft smile and big, tired eyes, still blurry around the edges of his hair and face and shirt, like he's part of a movie dream sequence. His face gets close to Billy's but they're still fully apart, head to toe, and that just doesn't suit Billy, not at all, so he leans in and tries to brush their lips together—for the first time, no small feat to begin with—but it simply won't happen. He misses and kisses air, then tries again and barely brushes Dom's cheek, and he can't tell what the problem is, if it's his aim or if Dom is just teasing, but their mouths are like magnets that repel rather than attract. Billy lowers his eyes to their feet, still separate at the foot of the bed, and finally realizes that they are laying above the duvet—sign number two.

Billy can see his own toes wiggle lamely under his socks, but his calves feel as if they're weighed down with led. When he raises his eyes back up, Dominic licks his lips—"Go on, then"—and Billy tries giving it another shot, but now his neck muscles are paralyzed and he's becoming so frustrated he wants to cry. Dom just half-lays on his back and giggles like they're playing a game of tag. Billy pauses, takes a few breaths to gather his strength, and tries to throw his head forward with all his might. His neck muscles go taut for a long moment and then finally snap, pushing his head into the juncture where Dominic's neck meets his shoulder. Billy nuzzles his nose right underneath Dom's ear and nearly whines, "Why d'you keep moving?"

Dominic wriggles against the mattress and laughs again. "'S not my fault."

Billy tries to lift his arms—he wants to brace Dom's face between his hands—but, of course, they're just as immobile as his legs. This is quickly becoming like one of those nightmares he had as a child, where he'd be chased down the street by a man with a gun, and as hard as he'd try to scream, all that would come out of his mouth was a faint screech. To remedy the problem, he used to clench his eyes shut as tight as he could (in the dream, that is), hoping that when he opened them, he'd be awake, or at least conjuring a more amicable scenario. Face still buried in Dominic's neck, he does this now. As usual, it takes a few tries, and when he's finally escaped, it's back to the waking world, with a jerk and a tiny gasp.

He's just slightly damp, his shirt uncomfortably cool at the small of his back and under his arms, and Dominic's head is burrowed against his side. Billy can instantly tell it's not intentional, only a casualty of Dom's ridiculous sprawl in slumber, but that doesn't make it any less unnerving, especially considering what was running through his mind only moments before. He finds himself frozen in shame, already half-hard.

Dominic's body has gone nearly horizontal in sleep, almost perfectly perpendicular to Billy's, his hand flopped carelessly onto the lower part of Billy's stomach, knuckles down. Billy tries to examine the writing on Dom's skin from his vantage point: what looks like H-E-L-L-O over the backs of his knuckles, the bit of arithmetic on the fleshy part underneath his thumb. He wonders if these etchings are simple reminders or something more important, something deeply personal that Billy can never hope to know. He wishes there were something more useful scrawled there, something he could use. He wishes Dominic could create a map for him.

He has no idea what was bothering Dom so intensely last night. He often has to remind himself that no matter how well they get along or how ingenuous Dom may seem, there's a world about him that he still doesn't know, that maybe he doesn't even want to know, when he honestly considers it.

Dominic's hand twitches, making a soft rustling sound against Billy's shirt. He nudges his head further into Billy's side, his breath a warm little oval on the soft part of his stomach that sends a rush through the lower half of his body and makes his eyes flutter shut. Billy looks down at the crown of Dominic's head, helpless. The way he tucks so perfectly under his ribs, what it does to his heart, is just fucking unfair. And fucking ridiculous, Billy chides himself.

Still, it takes a world of effort for Billy to not brush the hair out of his eyes. It's ironic: now that he's emerged from his nightmare, now that he can touch Dom at will, he's not allowed. Which is also ridiculous, really; Billy knows that Dominic wouldn't recoil if he woke up to find Billy's hands on him. What he doesn't know is what it would mean to Dominic—or not mean.

Head swimming and body thrumming, Billy slides out from underneath Dominic, easing him onto the mattress gently so as not to rouse him, and walks on the balls of his feet out of the guest room and down the hall.

It's still quite early, and the house is mostly dark, so Billy is surprised to find Elijah in the bathroom brushing his teeth. He stops at the threshold, squinting against the harsh fluorescent light. "Mind if I piss?"

Elijah mutters what sounds like Be my guest around a mouthful of foam and toothbrush, shifting slightly to avert his eyes.

By the time Billy's readjusting his flannels and moving to the sink to wash his hands, Elijah's rinsing his mouth out. Lij shakes his wet hands over the porcelain and grabs a washcloth off the rack. "Everything okay? You look distraught."

Billy smiles ruefully, catching Lij's eyes in the mirror. "So does your hair."

"Touché." Elijah starts pulling at the ends of said hair with his fingers.

"What're you doing up?" Billy asks, pulling his own toothbrush down from the cabinet.

"Don't know," Elijah sighs. "My body knows it's Christmas, I guess. I used to wake my mom up at four-thirty when I was little. Old habits die hard."

Lij gives him a long look and Billy sighs inwardly—he thinks he has an idea of what's coming. Never one to disappoint, Lij eases the bathroom door shut with his foot and leans back against it, arms crossed. He drops his voice to barely more than a whisper. "You know, I've been wondering how you two sleep in the same bed without touching each other. How do you possibly deal with it?" He makes a fluid presentational gesture at Billy. "And now I have my answer."

Billy grimaces and spits some foam into the sink. "The fuck does that mean?" How he hates the way Elijah always knows just the right thing to say to get to him.

"Bill. You're my best friend. And I'm not a complete fucking idiot." Billy continues brushing with fervor. Elijah tries calming him with a gentle hand to the small of his back. "You want him. I mean, you really, really want him. And you try your damnedest to hide it, but I can still see it because I know you."

Billy merely gives him a stern look before he leans over to spit. He doesn't take care when nudging Elijah out of the way and nearly rips the washcloth off the rack to wipe his mouth.

Elijah hesitates, looking at him. "I know it's been a long time."

A wave of emotion suddenly rushes over Billy's face, and he stares at his feet in an effort to compose himself.

"And I know that what Braedan—"

Billy inhales sharply and shakes his head. "Don't. Don't mention him."

"Okay, fair enough. My point is that I know some stupid part of you thinks you don't deserve this, but that couldn't be further from the truth. You deserve it more than anyone I know. You've earned it tenfold."

Billy nearly laughs, scrubbing a hand over his face. He can't believe he's having this conversation at fucking half-six on Christmas morning. "Deserve has nothing to do with it. Do you not remember how we all met, the four of us? Or are you really just that bloody naive? This is their livelihood, Lij. It's what they do. And I respect it, I've got nothing but respect for the situations they're both in and what they need to do to get by. But we paid to sleep with them. What you and Orlando have is not a relationship. There's no loyalty there. You know that, right? He's still working, isn't he?"

Elijah shifts his weight, his voice unwavering. "Like I said, I'm not a complete fucking idiot. Forget about me and Orlando. How do you feel about Dom? Be honest."

"Dom." Billy's voice drops to a nearly inaudible whisper. "That was a mistake. And I regret it. It confused me."

Lij actually rolls his eyes, and for a moment, Billy wants to hit him.

"That's all," he insists. When Elijah merely glares at him in response, he sighs, exasperated. "And even if... even if we'd met another way, I." He shrugs, at a loss. "I don't think I'm made for that anymore. Maybe I never was."

All at once, the hard edges of Elijah's expression crack and dissolve. He curls his fingers lightly around Billy's shoulder and moves to speak.

"Please, just let it be." Billy sounds tired as he pulls Elijah's hand off of him and gives it a squeeze. "Happy Christmas."

When Billy trudges back into the guest room, Dominic is nowhere to be found and his side of the bed is neatly made. Billy hears the faint sounds of pots and pans clattering downstairs, and he's not sure why, but he feels an intense, biting remorse.


By the time Elijah and Orlando finally make their way downstairs, Deb and Hannah are enjoying their morning coffee by the tree and Dominic has a gastronomic symphony going in the kitchen. The counter is positively covered in a methodical mess—sausage, potato wedges, granola french toast, and half of last night's ham on the ready—and Dom is covered in one less methodical (egg stains on his shirt and spots of flour on his face). His glasses hang from the collar of his t-shirt.

"Happy Christmas, Mum!" Orlando crows, giving him a squeeze from behind.

"Jesus Christ, do you need help?" Elijah laughs.

"No, all under control," Dominic smiles, crouching to peer into the oven.

"God, that smells amazing. What is that?" Elijah tries to sneak a peek over his shoulder.

"Baked omelet. Three different cheeses, onions, and mushrooms." Dominic rises to his feet again, smiling sheepishly. "And biscuits."

"How come you never cook like this for us, you wanker?" Orlando pouts.

Dominic rummages through the cabinets for plates. "Clean the bathroom every once in a while and maybe I'll consider it," he mutters, then preemptively shields himself against Orlando's pinches.

"Let me set the table at least." Elijah takes the pile of plates from Dom and haphazardly sifts through drawers for cutlery, piling it on top of them. "Dom, this is so nice of you. Seriously."

"I like doing it." Dominic greases up a couple of pans and sets them over twin flames. "It's the least I can do. You invited me here when you barely knew me."

Orlando gasps, pulling glasses down from the top shelves of a cabinet. "Do I hear bonding? Is that what's happening here?"

"Fuck off," Dom moans through a smile.

Orlando gives him another insistent cuddle, directing his question to Elijah across the room: "Does this mean you're not afraid of my little roommate here anymore?"

Elijah splutters, his whole face flushing. "You... you fucking asshole!"

"Language!" Deb scolds from the other room, causing Dom and Orlando to silently lose their shit.

Billy enters then, looking all too clean and together in a bright blue button-down and light denims. "Yeah, it's Christmas. My God."

Elijah notices Dominic look him over and release a heavy exhale before turning back to his meal.

"Morning, Billy," he and Orlando sing-song.

"Okay," Dominic says with finality. "I'm making french toast, pancakes, ham, and sausage. Who wants what?"

Orlando and Elijah quickly become preoccupied with each other while setting the table, and Billy takes the opportunity to approach Dom silently, peering at the smorgasbord before him.

"Don't worry, I already have you down for ten of everything," Dominic assures him.

Billy lets out a relieved laugh, hoping Dom's poke at him is sign enough that he's still in his good graces. Still, he wants to be sure that he didn't get too much of his and Elijah's conversation earlier on his way downstairs. "Smells incredible. Happy Christmas, by the way."

Dominic's eyes dart from the pans to Billy and back again, his cheeks flushed. "Thanks. You too." He tries to look busy, forking a pair of ham steaks into a pan. "Um. Did you sleep alright?"

Billy remembers the way he woke up and smiles to himself. "Yeah. Why?"

"Just making sure. I have a tendency to move around some, and when I got up you were already up, so."

"No, I slept well," Billy insists. "Had some weird dreams, though."


"Yeah, one of those dreams where you're paralyzed. And I was in a situation where I really wanted to move." If Billy could, he'd kick himself in the arse for being so needlessly forthcoming. He decides to blame the image of Dom in front of a stove for his babbling.

"A-ha." Dominic smiles knowingly, lining up a bunch of sausages in the other pan. "Um." The timer on the oven goes off, and he turns the dial down all the way. "Remind me later, I have to show you something." A mischievous spark in his eyes belies his nonchalant tone.


After a long breakfast and "the ceremonial giving of the gifts," as Deb had referred to it (and at which Elijah and Hannah groaned), Dominic, Billy, and Orlando retreat to the kitchen to give the Woods some family time—and to munch on breakfast leftovers.

Sat before a plate piled high with omelet and french toast, Billy takes his first bite and groans with pleasure. "Dom, can you be my live-in cook?"

"Sorry, mate, he's mine." Orlando ruffles Dominic's hair, taking another bite of sausage. "By the way, Billy, you look right fucking gorgeous this morning. How is it you don't have a boyfriend?"

Dominic bites his thumb in an effort to not kick him under the table.

Billy, for his part, wonders how many times he's going to have some variation on this conversation today. In this case, he's more flattered than annoyed, but still. "Can I pass on that question?" he asks, feigning playfulness.

"It was less a question than an offer," Orlando drawls, and this time, Dominic actually kicks him. "Oi! Ow!"

Billy looks up from his plate, this time with a genuine smile.

"Stop flirting," Dominic chides. "You're making him uncomfortable. Bloody shameless, you are."

"No, it's alright. Ehm." Billy wipes his mouth and shrugs. "I guess you can say I've been burned once or twice. And since then, I've been very careful about who I get involved with."

Dominic keeps his eyes in his lap, pretending to be distracted by a hole in his sweatpants and not by trying to commit this to memory.

"Plus, I'm just kind of picky." Billy punctuates the statement by stealing a sausage link off of Orlando's plate.

And that, unfortunately, is that. Orlando seems satisfied, but Dominic's still stuck on the way Billy's voice went all breathy on the word burned. He watches Billy devour another plateful of his breakfast, trying to figure out more via osmosis or telepathy. The idea that Billy may have been hurt by someone in some big, heart-altering way starts to make a hell of a lot of sense. Dominic's known since day one that Billy has a sort of protective shell around him; he's shining it up real hard right now, actually. Dominic likes to think that he's cracked it somewhat over the last few weeks, and he likes to think that if they were alone right now, Billy'd be more likely to elaborate and less likely to rely so much on his charm.

When Billy finishes (in record time), he leans back with a heavy sigh. "Thank you again, Dom." Dominic smiles at him, utterly pleased with himself. "Didn't you say you had something to show me? Some great big mysterious thing?"

Dominic rises with a firm nod, thankful that they'll be alone again in a minute; perhaps the telepathy worked after all. He lowers his head with a respectful smile as they pass through the living room, and when they start ascending the stairs, his heart begins to throb heavily in his chest. He wonders idly if there's any way he can change his mind, figure out something else to show Billy, something less incriminating.

But when he turns to look at Billy in the guest room, their guest room, Billy's looking back at him with such a sweet expectancy that Dominic can't help but go through with it. He crouches by his duffel, reaches down into the bottom, and pulls out a slender black binder. After a deep breath, he flips the cover open to the first photo and presents it in front of him like a picture book.

It takes a moment for Billy to recognize himself, and when he does, he flushes with embarrassment, covering his mouth.

Dominic is sure he should be the embarrassed one, but he tries his best to stand tall, figuring it'll be better for his case than shuffling his feet like an anxious schoolgirl. "I took them last weekend, when I was sick and you came by," he explains unnecessarily.

"Dom," Billy drops his hand and finally approaches to get a closer look. "My God." His eyes scan the lines of the photo. "This is beautiful. This might be the only photo of myself I can stand to look at," he laughs.

Dominic notices Billy's eyes fill with something he's never seen before, and a sharp, silly thrill bubbles up in his chest. "There's more." He cradles the binder in his arms and flips to the next page, two variations on the first photo at different apertures. "It's not the same image—they're slightly different. They were all taken one right after the other, very quickly. So it's sort of like a reel." He flips to the next two, waits a beat, then flips again. "See?"

"Wow. ...You printed these last week?" Billy's voice goes soft and thoughtful.

"Yeah. Well, just this Saturday, actually. Spent all day in the computer lab. I wanted to mount them, so you could hang them somewhere, properly—you have all that great wall space in your flat—but I didn't have the time. It took me forever just to choose which shots I wanted."

Billy wraps his arms around himself, unable to take his eyes off the binder. "I'm overwhelmed."

"You don't have to consider it a gift or anything," Dominic quickly explains. "I did them for class, anyway. My teacher made me, actually. She keeps encouraging me to do more human subjects, but I think she just really likes your face."

Billy bites his lip, now feeling truly despicable for how defensive he'd gotten with Elijah this morning, the crude way he'd talked about Dom. Even though Dominic obviously has no idea, he feels a pressing need to make it up to him somehow. "This is incredibly sweet. Thank you."

"'S yours." Dominic holds the binder out to him two-handed. Before Billy can say anything more, Dominic runs a hand through his unruly hair and heads for the bathroom. "I need a shower." He leaves Billy standing there dumbly, clutching the binder to his chest.

When Dominic closes the bathroom door behind him, he scrubs his hands over his face, a full-body tremble going through him. What a release that'd been; he never even thought he'd go through with it.

He gathers a towel from the cabinet and hangs it from the rack next to the shower stall, unable to get the smile off his face. It takes him a long moment to realize that his vision's not quite what it should be, that he's forgotten his glasses downstairs in the kitchen. After a deep breath, he flings the door open, thankful to discover that Billy's no longer upstairs, that he won't have to face him again so soon—and acting like a preschooler, no less.

Dominic trots halfway down the staircase when he hears a muffled conversation coming from below. Lij's house has one of those weird accordion doors at the bottom of the stairs, for what, he's not sure, as the Woods don't keep any pets or anything. He's grateful for it now, though, as it keeps him from being discovered eavesdropping.

Billy and Deb's voices are unmistakable, probably the two most distinct in this house full of family and guests, actually. They speak low and sweet to each other, privately. Dominic can almost see Deb having pulled Billy aside by the arm for a chat in the corner of the living room, or vice versa.

Thank you so much, again, for having me. Billy's voice is a fond caress—even more so than usual.

Oh, please. And hey, you're always welcome as long as you bring Dom with you. I think I have breakfast leftovers for the next week.

Dominic hears Billy laugh. Yeah, he's great, isn't he? That he manages to stay absolutely still through that remark is no small miracle.

Deb drops her voice even lower. I meant to tell you this earlier—I feel like such an asshole—but the first day you guys came, I said something to him, thinking you guys were...

Dominic feels his heart give a start. He leans forward uncontrollably, the stair letting out a small creak in protest.

There's a bit of a shiver in Billy's voice. Oh, that's alright. 'S an honest mistake.

I'm sorry. I just assumed, you know? And I mean, the way you are with each other...

Dominic closes his eyes, listening, one hand clutching the banister.

No, no, we're not. We're just friends.

I know, Deb assures him in that gentle, I'm-not-trying-to-meddle-I-swear way she has. There's a long silence, and Dominic realizes belatedly that he should probably decide on a course of action: upstairs or downstairs, fuckwit. But Deb's voice stops him again before he can move.

It's just a shame, though. I hope you don't mind me saying.

, Billy assures her after a pause—but he definitely sounds more than slightly uncomfortable.

I love you both to death. I know I haven't known Dom very long, but I just think you'd be great together.

Dominic has to suppress the urge to bang his head against the wall. He couldn't have put more perfect words in Deb's mouth if he'd tried. Still, he isn't sure he wanted her to actually say them. He listens for a response from Billy.

Well, he starts, sounding amused, and then there's a long pause before: I don't think I'm Dom's type.

Dominic actually flinches. The fuck? He comes back to his body, collects himself, and turns, climbing back up to the bathroom and shutting the door quietly behind him, forgetting his glasses for the time being. He leans back against the door, holding his breath. I don't think I'm Dom's type. What the fuck does that mean? To be fair, Dominic tells himself, it probably doesn't mean anything; it was probably just something to get Deb off his back. They'd all done their share of that over the past few days, with all the posturing and flat-out made-up shite about their personal and professional lives (oh, how blurry that line had become as of late). But of all the things to say, that?

And the way Billy'd said it, that was the real killer: that smug tone, nearly identical to the one he'd used with his students in that fucking lecture what felt like ages ago. Dominic clenches his eyes and gives his head a violent shake, hoping to shake that sound right the fuck out of it. It doesn't work.

He quickly moves to turn on the water, closing his eyes and taking deep, calming breaths as he slips his t-shirt over his head and pushes his sweatpants down, letting them pool at his feet. He gives his shoulders a good roll before pushing the curtain aside and climbing into the tub. The hot water is soothing against his body (usually so warm, somehow penetrated to the bone by the chill in this drafty old house), but not nearly soothing enough.

What a slap in the face. No matter how hard he tries, Dominic knows he'll be reeling from it for a while, at least for the rest of his time here.

Why did he have to give him the bloody pictures? That was so unnecessary.

Dominic scrubs his hands through his hair, working the water down to the roots. He can't help feeling betrayed, which, when he lays all the facts out on the table, is downright irrational. There's no real sense of loyalty between the two of them. Billy doesn't owe him anything. Maybe overhearing that conversation was a needed reminder of all that, of just how long they haven't known each other, of how little they still know about each other. Dominic can't expect anything from him. Billy's made himself really fucking clear that he doesn't want anything to happen between them again.

He shakes his head at himself, eyeing the frost on the little window beside him. A persistent chill goes through him just looking at it.

After all he's been through, how could he have been so naive? He thinks of his john from last year, that kind smile, the deep lines of sympathy around his eyes as he cradled Dom's face in one of his big, lovely hands and asked, What did you think this was, cherub?

Leaning one-handed against the tiles, he finally lets out a stubborn sob, thankful that it doesn't turn into actual tears.


Billy leans his hip against the door frame, arms crossed. "Hey. Are you for bed already?"

Dominic's body goes rigid. "Yeah," he answers without raising his eyes. "Don't want to sleep in the car." His hands slow, taking their time folding up his clothes, laying them perfectly square and flat in his duffel. When he leans down to pick up another dirty pile of sweats, his bangs fall into his eyes, and he blows them out of his face with a scowl.

Billy comes forward and tentatively reaches a hand out to muss them, push them back. Dominic leans purposefully away from the touch, and the air vibrates uncomfortably around them.

"Why d'you keep it so long? If it annoys you." Billy tries to keep his voice light, but Dominic knows he can sense something's off. He gets a sick thrill from it.

"Makes me look younger," Dominic answers automatically, crouching to stuff pairs of socks into the side pockets. "Attracts the right kind of client. Attracts more clients, generally." It's not intentional, but it sounds almost as if he's mocking Billy's tone from earlier.

"Hm," Billy finally answers after a long moment, lingering there before moving to lounge on his side of the bed.

Dominic smiles to himself a little, knowing Billy can't see it; it feels so powerful to finally be the one doing the unhinging. He can even hear Billy fidgeting behind him.

"What d'you suppose would have happened... if Orlando had been around, the night we met?" Billy asks quietly.

And with that single question goes any semblance of control Dom thought he had. His fingers freeze on a pair of boxers, mind racing as to where Billy's going with this. "...I suppose we'd never have met."

The quiet that follows is colder than any Dominic's ever experienced.

"Yeah?" Billy's voice has dropped to almost a whisper.

Dominic shrugs noncommittally, not wanting to think—or talk—about this. He'd rather talk about why the fuck Billy invited him here in the first place.

"I've thought about it quite a bit," Billy admits. "A lot of things have had to happen to get us here, where we are right now."

Dominic tries not to wonder what he means by that, where they are right now. He's tempted to turn around, to see exactly what Billy looks like, if there's something more there, lying just underneath his words. "Why are you—?" he starts, exasperated. There are too many ways to finish that question. He suddenly feels like a huge prat; it's not like Billy said anything criminal earlier. But the way he said it... "Sorry, I'm tired," Dominic says dismissively but with more sympathy than he's given Billy most of the day.

"'S alright," Billy breathes, rising and moving slowly across the room again. "I'll leave you to it." He walks through the door without a parting touch or glance.

Dominic almost feels guilty, zipping up his bag. He turns to his rucksack, takes out a book on celluloid photography, and flops onto his back with it, thumbing to where he dog-eared the last page, one he tried in vain to read the night before, with Billy beside him getting ready for bed. He finds it impossible to read it now, too, though he's alone. It's impossible for him to think of anything but where he's going to take things from here. He wonders if Billy even knows it's a decision he's trying to make.



eff_reality: (Default)

March 2013


Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 05:31 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios