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Recipient: lyricaxxx
Title: If You Can’t Say It At Christmas…
Characters/Pairing: Robert Lewis/James Hathaway
Rating: Explicit
Wordcount: 7530
Warnings: No warnings apply
Summary: Robbie’s breath caught in his chest as James smiled nervously and shook his head once, almost as if reaching a momentous decision. “I suppose if I can’t say it at Christmas, when can I say it, eh?” James muttered, almost under his breath.

Robbie didn’t mean to eavesdrop, and he certainly didn’t deliberately step back into the evening shadows of New College Lane without announcing his presence, but when he saw Lizzie Maddox throw her arms around James Hathaway’s neck with a delighted squeal, his finely-honed detective’s instincts kicked in before he even realised quite what he was doing.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Lizzie sounded completely over the moon about something, and Robbie could only watch, stunned, as she bobbed up on her tiptoes to kiss a visibly blushing James firmly on the cheek, then drew back with a smile and kissed him briefly on the lips.

“Lizzie, it’s really nothing – ” James spluttered, patting his sergeant awkwardly on the back with one hand, his other arm hanging limply by his side as a group of laughing students passed them by before ducking into the alley that led to the Turf Tavern.

“It’s not nothing, James, it’s… It’s the best Christmas ever, that’s what it is!”

Robbie could clearly see Lizzie hugging James tighter still, their two contrasting bodies blending together seamlessly in the harsh light from the streetlamps when James finally lifted his own arms to hug her back properly, his blond hair shining softly as he bent to drop a lingering kiss on the crown of her head. Something twisted deep in his chest at the sight, and he suddenly felt chilled to the bone, his veins filled with ice even though it was mild for December.

“It means a lot to me to see you happy,” he heard James tell Lizzie, that familiar deep voice carried over to where he stood by the cool winter wind. “Just don’t tell everyone, okay? Keep it between us?”

The obvious note of teasing in Lizzie’s voice reached Robbie too as she replied, “Of course, boss. Our secret. Just you and me, I promise.”

But Robbie couldn’t help thinking there was something else there, as James and Lizzie finally stepped apart, almost reluctantly. He watched curiously as they shared a look that spoke of something more than just camaraderie or even simple friendship, but in a heartbeat they had turned away from him and headed off towards the Bodleian, before disappearing into the night.

* * *

Poking half-heartedly at the remnants of his ‘pierce-and-ping’ curry later that evening, Robbie finally just pushed it away entirely and reached for another bottle of Newcastle’s finest instead, giving in to the thoughts he’d been trying to fight. No matter how hard he tried, he simply couldn’t get the image of James and Lizzie out of his head. That close embrace, the exchange of little kisses, the ‘secret’, whatever the hell that might be – none of it was incriminating, not taken on its own, but Robbie felt he knew them both well enough, and something just didn’t add up.

One thought sat heavily in the pit of his stomach, like a stone dragging him down: if it was any other couple he’d seen in the street hugging and kissing like that, his first assumption would be that they were lovers.

But Lizzie was married, and very happily so by all accounts. Tony Maddox might still be working over in Canada, but Lizzie spoke of him often, her ‘Tones’, and Robbie knew they kept in touch whenever they could manage, given the time difference. He’d even caught her in the office on her break one time, closing down Skype with a slightly guilty expression on her face, though he’d pretended not to have seen anything.

In all his time working with the young DS, Lizzie had never struck him as anything other than deeply loyal and utterly trustworthy. She wouldn’t be the type to have an affair, and she certainly wouldn’t be stupid enough to try it on with her boss, even if her boss wasn’t James Hathaway.

As for James, well, he was hardly one for torrid, passionate love affairs. He wouldn’t break the sanctity of marriage, and he also wouldn’t be idiotic enough to go after his own sergeant, even if he was tempted. At least, not as far as Robbie knew – even after more than a decade of knowing the younger man, Robbie wouldn’t dare to say he understood even half of what was going through James’s incredible brain at any given moment.

Pushing away from his dining table and draining the last of the bottled beer, Robbie knew he’d have to acknowledge, if push came to shove, that James had made some questionable decisions in the past when it came to romance. Scarlett, for one. Fiona, in her own way. But he’d hoped, recently, that James’s interests might lie in one particular direction. In Robbie’s own direction, to be precise.

Eleven years he’d known James now, with Lizzie working with them for the last three. As far as Robbie knew, James had been single for the vast majority of that time, while Robbie had been with Laura for nearly a year, only for the pair of them to realise they were far better off as friends after their first couple of weeks in New Zealand. Robbie could’ve saved himself a very expensive plane fare if he’d figured it out sooner, but he had no regrets, and so far he and Laura were managing to make it work as ‘just good friends’.

Another year had passed with Robbie back in Oxford and single once again, a year which had seen him and James growing steadily closer in a way Robbie hadn’t ever expected, their relationship changing over the course of a hundred insignificant moments. Side by side in the pub, pressed together from knee to shoulder as they always were, Robbie’s cock would start to swell in his trousers, leaving him flushed and shifting awkwardly in his seat. Or their gazes would lock across the office while Moody was giving a briefing, almost drawn together magnetically, and Robbie would wonder if he was actually seeing a reflection of his own longing in those unfathomable blue eyes.

It wasn’t anything Robbie had been looking for, but somehow it felt perfectly right and completely natural. Inevitable, almost, though they hadn’t quite taken the final step of falling into each other’s arms yet.

It was terrifying and exhilarating at the very same moment. Robbie had forgotten how it felt to fall in love with someone – every time James smiled at him, his stomach swooped low, almost as if he was on a rollercoaster, and every time their hands brushed together accidentally felt like a tiny electric shock.

He wanted so much more, and he’d felt sure James felt the same, judging by the lingering glances they’d shared, and the times when James had pressed closer than usual against his side when they spent another evening on Robbie’s sofa. Just the other week they’d been channel hopping, ending up watching the end of ‘Love, Actually’, and James had stretched his arm along the back of the sofa. It had taken everything Robbie had not to snuggle into the younger man’s side, but James had leaned closer anyway, so close that it would have only taken a slight shift for Robbie’s head to land on James’s shoulder.

But maybe… Maybe Robbie had been reading everything wrong after all.

* * *

“So, you and Lizzie, then?” Robbie took some pleasure, sick though it might be, in the momentary look of panic that passed across James’s face as they sat alone in the beer garden of the Trout a week before Christmas, though at the same time it almost felt as if a knife was twisting deep in his chest. He hadn’t planned to say anything at all – it was absolutely none of his business – but they were on their third pint each, and his tongue felt dangerously loosened. “You’ve got Christmas plans, I take it?”

James recovered quickly from his panic, of course, coughing once into his clenched fist before taking a long draught of his bitter. “Well, we’re both off work from the 23rd right through until New Year’s Day. But you knew that, I thought?”

“Aye, I knew that.” Robbie watched James carefully as he spoke. No denial, though no confirmation either; a diplomatic answer, or a policeman’s answer, more accurately. He pushed on. “So are the two of you meeting up? Doing anything special?”

James shrugged into his heavy winter coat, not quite able to meet Robbie’s gaze. “We’ve already exchanged presents,” he answered evasively, before swiftly and predictably attempting to change the topic. “And you’re still off to Manchester on Christmas Eve, yes? Going to play Father Christmas for Jack?”

With a faint pang, Robbie decided he should let it go; it really wasn’t any of his business, and he determinedly pushed away the phantom stab of pain from that invisible knife. “That’s still the plan, yes.” He’d been looking forward to it so much, though he’d also been feeling bad about leaving James on his own, knowing the younger man wouldn’t be meeting up with his sister. Knowing James hadn’t even spoken to Nell once since their father’s funeral earlier in the year.

But maybe Lizzie would now be the one to fill that gap, with Robbie gone, so at least James wouldn’t be alone on Christmas Day. Robbie still couldn’t quite get his head around the notion that Lizzie and James might actually be together, but James wasn’t even trying to deny it, and the knife twisted a little deeper still.

“With the padded costume and everything that goes along with it?” There was a wicked twinkle in James’s eye and a smirk hovering on his lips as he added, “Shaking your belly like a bowlful of jelly. How joyous. I expect plenty of photographic evidence, you do realise.”

Robbie leaned over the table and smacked James lightly on the arm, smiling. “Oh, ha bloody ha.”

“And we’re still meeting up on New Year’s Eve, right? Beer, turkey curry, and the ritual exchange of bottle-shaped gift bags. Unless you get a better offer, of course.”

There was a sudden but distinct note of insecurity in James’s voice, and Robbie longed to pull the other man into a reassuring hug, though he had no idea how that would be received. James could be prickly about contact, sometimes. And they didn’t do that, of course, so instead he tried to pour every ounce of feeling he could into his quiet response. “There’s no possible better offer, James, truly.”

For a long, peaceful moment they stared at each other across their drinks, while the distinctive strains of ‘A Fairytale of New York’ drifted out into the beer garden from inside the pub, and a few stray snowflakes started to float down from the heavens. Robbie felt a strange wave of sorrow pass over him at the thought that he might truly have missed his chance to be with James. He’d waited too long perhaps, letting his nerves hold him back, and now he’d lost James before ever really having him.

The peace held a moment longer before they both laughed when a lone drunk staggered out into the garden, tunelessly bellowing ‘All I want for Christmas is you’, and Robbie watched fondly as James threw his head back and downed the rest of his pint.

Robbie followed suit, then asked, “One more for the road? Unless you’ve got plans – off partying with Lizzie, perhaps?”

But James bobbed to his feet rather than answering, already reaching into his pocket for his wallet. “My round, Robert.” And Robbie was left alone, shivering slightly as the snow continued to fall.

* * *

In the end, it certainly wasn’t the Christmas Eve Robbie had been looking forward to, not by any means. He should’ve been in Manchester by mid-afternoon, but a phone call early that morning from Lynn had scuppered all his plans, and he’d ended up braving the insanity of the covered market for some last minute groceries before bundling up in coat and scarf to head out for a lonely walk along the river.

He’d regretted it almost as soon as he started walking, particularly since he’d left his gloves in the car, but turning back seemed foolish and the riverside path was oddly beautiful, if freezing cold. The sky was a clear, pale blue, the sun only a watery smudge sitting low on the horizon, and his breath fogged the air with every exhale, but the sound of the water bubbling along and the occasional bird chirping from the bare trees was soothing.

And Robbie felt in need of being soothed; his thoughts were in turmoil, and everything felt almost surreal. In a matter of a few short weeks, he’d gone from looking forward to spending Christmas with his family and the nervous excitement of a potential budding romance with James, to walking alone with the idea of James and Lizzie circling around in his head. What were they getting up to while Robbie was feeling so miserable? Curled up together in front of a roaring fire somewhere no doubt, while Robbie was in danger of losing his fingers to frostbite.

Robbie shook himself angrily, shoving his icy hands into his pockets and picking up his pace a little, his shoes slipping slightly on the frozen path. He knew how stupid it was for him to feel jealous, knew he had no real claim on James. But pushing his thoughts aside was far easier said than done.

“Robert?” He was so lost in his self-pity that the distant shout barely registered, and the voice called out again. “Robert! Oi, Robbie! Robbie Lewis!”

“James?” Robbie stopped in his tracks and turned around, and sure enough there was the one and only James Hathaway jogging up to him, dressed in a grey tracksuit and trainers, tugging out his earbuds and panting softly for breath as he came to a stop. “Are you out for a run in this weather? You’re mad, man.”

“Well you’re out for a walk in this weather too, so perhaps we’re all mad here,” James replied with a brief flash of a wry smile, though his face fell almost immediately, brow furrowing in obvious concern. “Aren’t you supposed to be on your way to Manchester right about now?”

Robbie grimaced, burying his hands deeper in his pockets, and tried not to sound as disappointed as he felt. “Change of plans. Lynn’s partner Tim fell on the ice late last night and broke his leg. Nothing serious, thankfully, but he’ll be in plaster and on crutches for a few weeks. I offered to go up anyway and give them all a hand, but our Lynn was so apologetic. Feels they’ll manage better on their own, and I can understand that. I’ll go up in the New Year perhaps.”

“I’m so sorry.” James reached out a hand and squeezed Robbie’s shoulder tightly. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“Didn’t want you to feel you had to change your plans.”

James stared down at the path as he shuffled his feet awkwardly, fiddling with the wires from his i-pod before admitting, “I don’t have any plans. A Marks and Spencer’s turkey sandwich and the Doctor Who special, those will be the highlights of my lonely Christmas, Robert. Your company would be wonderful and very welcome – unless, that is, you don’t want…?”

“But I thought you’d be with Lizzie.” Robbie stared deep into James’s eyes, and he could see the very moment when realisation hit, James’s eyebrows suddenly lifting and his mouth falling slightly open in surprise.

“I wondered what that faintly cryptic conversation at the pub was really all about. For some unknown reason you think…” James frowned, shaking his head a fraction as if trying to gather his thoughts. “Do you really believe that myself and the lovely DS Maddox are having some kind of an affair?” He sounded faintly scandalized, to Robbie’s ears, one pale eyebrow quirked upwards in question.

“Well, I saw the two of you under the Bridge of Sighs, hugging. And Lizzie kissed you, said it was the best Christmas ever, and then you told her it had to be a secret…” But even as the words left his mouth, Robbie realised how ridiculous the whole thing sounded, and James actually took a step back, lifting his head to stare up at the darkening sky in a move that exposed the long line of his beautiful neck.

“I bought her a ticket to Canada, Robert, to spend Christmas with Tony,” James explained softly, his gaze still directed upwards and his words sounding faintly self-conscious. “She couldn’t afford it, and I wanted her to be happy. She deserves it. Didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, though, as I know it goes far above and beyond the standard five pound limit of the office Secret Santa.” He paused, briefly, then added, “I think Peterson’s bought Julie some socks.”

Oh, Christ. Robbie felt completely and utterly foolish – that certainly made a whole lot more sense than the odd idea of James and Lizzie having a passionate love affair, and he lifted his hands to his face in an abortive attempt to hide his embarrassed blush, before dropping them to his sides instead as the freezing wind gusted around them.

After a second of hesitation James stepped closer once again and lowered his gaze to meet Robbie’s, the world falling strangely silent around them as the tension between them grew. The river seemed to stop flowing and the birds ceased their chatter, the temperature dropping even though Robbie could almost feel the heat radiating from James’s body.

“Robbie,” James whispered, blinking rapidly in the growing twilight. “Oh, Robbie. I thought you knew, or at least suspected after all these years. And you call yourself a detective.”

“Knew what?” Robbie asked numbly, staring up into James’s unfathomable eyes.

James hesitated again before slowly reaching out to take one of Robbie’s hands in his own, and Robbie felt that familiar jolt of almost-electricity at the sensation of James’s slightly damp palm pressed against his, calloused fingertips rough against the back of his hand.

Robbie’s breath caught in his chest as the taller man suddenly smiled nervously and shook his head once, almost as if reaching a momentous decision. “I suppose if I can’t say it at Christmas, when can I say it, eh?” James muttered, almost under his breath.

“Say what?”

“Lizzie… I’d never…” James sighed and shook his head again, closing his eyes for a second, and Robbie felt his own heart pounding hard in his chest as those long fingers closed convulsively around his own. “I love you, Robert Lewis. Always have, always will. I want to be with you. Only you.” His lips twitched in what could have been a smile as he murmured, “There, I’ve finally said it.”

Stunned and deeply touched, his thoughts reeling, Robbie had to swallow hard before he could find his voice. James wasn’t with Lizzie after all. James wanted Robbie, just as much as Robbie wanted James. Could it be true?

“James, love – ”

“Don’t feel you have to say anything in return,” James started, dropping Robbie’s hand as he started to move away, but Robbie quickly stepped closer and lifted two fingers to those plush lips, effectively silencing the younger man as he pressed their bodies closer together, chest to chest.

“Let me speak, James.” Was it just his imagination, or could Robbie actually feel James’s heart pounding against his own? “These last few months, as we’ve grown closer, I’d hoped… Seeing you with Lizzie like that, I think I was jealous, pure and simple.”

James frowned slightly, his lips twisting against Robbie’s fingers, though to Robbie’s relief he stayed close as Robbie slid his hand around to cup the back of James’s head. “Nonsense. I still can’t believe you even thought for a second that me and Lizzie… She’s married, Robbie!”

“I know, I know,” Robbie tried to soothe James, sensing that their entire future together might be balanced on a knife edge, his throat tight with emotion. He tried to choose his next words carefully. “It was stupid, but it made sense at the time, somehow.”

“It makes no sense.” James sounded angry, almost as if he’d already forgotten that he had declared his love for Robbie barely moments earlier, but at the same time he pressed his body closer too, shielding Robbie from the worst of the freezing wind.

Robbie nodded quickly, daring to slide his other hand around to the small of James’s back. “I’m an idiot,” he agreed, relief blooming when James smiled softly.

“So, do you think perhaps you and I might make sense?” James spoke hesitantly, barely moving his lips as hope blossomed beautifully on his handsome face.

Robbie smiled as he slowly stroked his fingers through soft blond hair, tugging the taller man down until their lips were almost touching, barely a breath apart. He felt tears of unexpected happiness prickling at the backs of his eyes as he replied, “Ay, canny lad. I think we’ll make perfect sense.”

And, finally, they came together in their first kiss, James’s lips rough yet needy against Robbie’s own.

* * *

The drive back from the river to James’s ridiculously large flat was spent in a mostly comfortable yet highly expectant silence, but the moment the front door clicked quietly closed behind them, the tension seemed to return in a heartbeat.

Robbie couldn’t help but wonder exactly what he should or shouldn’t do, now they had finally spoken their feelings aloud – he longed to kiss James again, or to simply take his hand, but how fast was too fast? Should they talk more, perhaps over a sensible cup of coffee, or should they both just let their actions speak for them and allow themselves to be swept up in the moment?

Or was Robbie just thinking about everything far too much?

James seemed an awfully long way away, kicking off his trainers by the sofa and tugging his i-pod from his pocket, though Robbie’s nerves mostly melted away when James smiled as he turned back to find Robbie still frozen in place against the door, coat still buttoned up and scarf still snugged around his throat.

Robbie desperately wished he could make the first move, but it seemed as if a large part of his brain still suspected this was all just a dream. Thankfully, James seemed to have no such problem, and in two large strides he was backing Robbie against the door, anxious hands fumbling with coat and scarf.

For a long moment they were so close they were practically sharing the same air, and in the shadows of James’s dimly lit flat, Robbie could see the taller man’s eyes growing dark. Perhaps it was only his imagination, but there seemed to be a shadow of doubt there, and a hint of growing fear that Robbie simply wouldn’t allow, not after James had been brave enough to speak his feelings first.

Robbie closed the final distance between them and claimed James’s lips again in a fierce kiss, sliding one hand around to the small of James’s back to bring their bodies together properly. It felt strangely like coming home, and he couldn’t help but marvel at the way they fitted together so perfectly, James’s lanky frame moulding easily against his own more solid body.

James moaned softly into the kiss, and Robbie daringly slid one leg between James’s thighs, meeting a distinctive hardness that sent a thrill shooting through his blood as he felt his own body responding rapidly. James suddenly seized his hand and started dragging him back towards the bedroom, glancing back over his shoulder as if he almost expected Robbie to pull away, though this had been a long time coming; Robbie could only think that they’d really waited more than long enough, even if the pace at which things were moving made him slightly dizzy.

A trail of pants, socks and shoes marked their needy dash, with more than a few buttons lost to dark corners as Robbie practically ripped his own shirt off, impatient with James’s suddenly fumbling fingers. No elegance to any of it, and certainly no finesse, but there would be plenty of time for all of that.

The rest of their lives, if Robbie had his way.

As they finally fell through the door to James’s bedroom, James immediately dashed ahead of him, pulling the blankets on the bed into some kind of order. Robbie just stood in the doorway and gaped at the sight of James trying to tidy up in all his naked glory, his pale backside a tempting feast for the eyes and his erection visibly heavy between his legs.

Gone was the giant mirror the other man used to have in his previous flat, though the expected piles of books were exactly as Robbie knew they would be, filling the bookshelves and balanced precariously on the bedside table. Given how empty the rest of the flat was, it was immediately clear to him that this room was something of a nest for James – an armchair by the window was clearly a dumping ground for jumpers and shirts, while the bed was unmade, the pillows in disarray.

“I wasn’t expecting company,” James rumbled apologetically, starting to fluff up the pillows and flicking on the bedside lamp.

“Leave it, love.” Robbie stepped up behind James and wrapped his arms around a narrow chest, pulling the younger man into a hug. He knew should be feeling nervous, but somehow it felt so natural to be there with James, and he leaned closer, whispering into James’s ear, “We’ll mess it up again soon enough.”

A shiver ran through James’s lean body at Robbie’s words, almost immediately followed by James falling still, resting all his weight trustingly back onto Robbie’s strength, and Robbie felt the blood rushing rapidly south away from his brain. It had been many long years since Robbie was last with a man, and there hadn’t exactly been many to begin with. A brief, drunken fumble on the BVI that he’d regretted almost immediately, and a couple of lads back before he’d met Val, but nothing more. It had been far too long.

As he finally tackled James down onto the bed, Robbie realised had forgotten the heady mixture of power and arousal that came with the battle for dominance. He’d forgotten the sheer rush of excitement and awe that flooded his body as the other man finally submitted to him, showing his trust and his vulnerability.

But the fact that it was James Hathaway lying beneath him, pale and lightly muscled and flushed with his own obvious arousal, filled Robbie with a sudden rush of nerves after all, chasing away his feeling of calm. Were they making a mistake, trying to move beyond friends? Was this just going to be just a one-time thing, a Christmas fling they would both regret in the morning?

“Robbie,” James suddenly moaned, his blond head thrown back carelessly into the pillows, and his strong hands clutching at everything and nothing, opening and closing on empty air. “Christ, Robert, please…”

And at that moment, Robbie knew in his heart exactly what it was between them. He’d forgotten how it felt when he was about to make love with someone, rather than simply finding a quick and forgettable shag, and this had been building so steadily between them for so many years that it was never going to be just a one-off.

“I’ve got you, James.” He placed one hand flat on James’s heaving chest, feeling the racing heart beneath sweat-slick skin and tweaking a peaked nipple with his thumb. “I’m right here.”

He moved his hand slowly downwards, stroking the wide expanse of toned belly before daring to dip one fingertip into James’s tempting navel, chasing it with his tongue. The move earned him a breathy gasp and a squirm – ticklish, Robbie noted for future exploration. In response, James flung his long, long legs up around Robbie’s waist to haul him closer, leaving himself open and vulnerable even as their matching erections brushed against each other, and Robbie gasped loudly at the sensation.

“Robbie?” James seemed to sense something in the air, and he dropped his legs back down even as he reached up to stroke one hand soothingly through Robbie’s hair. A distant part of Robbie’s mind realised James was trembling ever so slightly. “It’s okay. If this is moving too fast, or if you don’t want this – ”

“I want this. I want you, love.” The sight of James – gorgeous, trusting, patient James – spread beneath Robbie with his cock straining upwards as if reaching for him, was almost too much. “I just, I don’t… I don’t have the words, man. I wish I did.”

“Then stop talking.” It was good advice, and James leaned up as Robbie leaned down, their lips meeting in a gentle kiss that rapidly turned heated. Robbie’s heart felt full almost to bursting as he licked his way into the heat of James’s mouth, their tongues tangling together, and his whole body sang as he realised this was truly happening. James truly wanted him. And Robbie truly wanted James.

Surprised again by the intensity of his own desire, Robbie reached instinctively for James’s erection for the very first time, finding that it fitted perfectly into his fist as he stroked once from root to tip, and James made a guttural sound deep in his throat that shot straight to Robbie’s own cock.

Silky smooth skin and velvety cock, surrounded by a nest of coarse blond curls – James was far too manly to be beautiful, but that was the first and only word that came to mind as Robbie stroked again then a third time, varying the strength of his grip and teasing at the thick vein on the underside. James was beautiful, tossing his head back and forth, hands reaching up to tug Robbie down until they were finally flush together, almost as if they’d been made for one another.

Trying not to feel the inevitable weight of James’s expectations after more than ten years spent waiting, a distant, still-functioning part of Robbie’s brain couldn’t quite believe this was finally happening. The rest of him was lost in the sheer wonder and presence of having James in his arms as he shifted position to gather up their two cocks in one big hand, feeling the jolt of electricity through his blood at the searing contact.

Despite his desire to make this moment last, Robbie knew deep down that it wouldn’t take either of them long to find release, not on this long-awaited first time. This was no time for teasing. He began to move his hand rapidly, the slight burn of friction from his dry palm more than counteracted by the incredible sensation of James’s cock rubbing against his own.

Within minutes, James shuddered apart spectacularly beneath him, the twitching of his cock and the release of copious amounts of hot fluid over Robbie’s hand proving far too much to resist, and Robbie found himself following almost immediately with a wordless, garbled shout of overwhelming pleasure.

With both of them left panting for breath in the blissful aftermath, Robbie’s brain came slowly back online. He would never have dared to predict that his Christmas Eve would take such a remarkable turn, and for a second he felt once again that he was dreaming, that James would never have chosen to be with him.

But beneath him, James looked similarly stunned, blinking up at Robbie rapidly with a sweet and satisfied smile hovering on his lips, his narrow chest visibly heaving as he brought his breathing back under control. Robbie couldn’t resist the urge to kiss his man again, and for long moments they exchanged lazy, sated kisses while they caught their breath. Robbie felt he would never get tired of kissing James – already, he was addicted to the taste of the younger man.

James tasted of the breath mints he’d crunched during the car ride over, as well as the faint tang of cigarettes, but beneath it all was a sweetness that could only be unique to James himself. Something like black cherries and dark chocolate, with a hint of whiskey perhaps, and Robbie licked deeper still, running his tongue across James’s palate even as James’s tongue explored his own mouth in return.

All sense of time seemed to fly as Robbie kissed James over and over, and then, to his sheer amazement, he felt his spent cock twitch in reawakening, even as James also started to grow hard against him. Twice in one night, at his age? He felt as if he was twenty again, in the first flush of youth and passion, and it was all because of James Hathaway.

“The things you do to this old man…” he muttered beneath his breath in wonder, but James just gave a wicked, knowing smirk in response, shifting his hips to brush their groins closer together. Obviously aware of Robbie’s rapidly growing reaction, James shifted carefully beneath Robbie to fling one long arm out to reach the drawer of his bedside table.

“Here,” James whispered breathily, pressing a little tube and a wrapped condom into Robbie’s hand. “If you want, I mean. I’ve wanted this – wanted you – for so long…”

Robbie felt unexpected tears prickling behind his eyes at the trust and vulnerability in such an invitation, even as his body lit up once again at the very thought of burying himself deep inside James’s willing body, and he took a deep breath before sitting back on his heels between James’s parted thighs. Keeping his gaze locked with James’s the whole time, he reached for one of the newly fluffed pillows and slipped it beneath narrow hips to offer James some support, then flicked open the lube, carefully coating the fingers of one hand even as he swallowed hard at the tempting view in front of him.

I love you so much. The words hovered on the tip of Robbie’s tongue, but he swallowed them back for the time being. They were such powerful words, and he wanted James to hear him fully when he first spoke them out loud, rather than being lost in a cloud of arousal and desire.

He made quick yet careful work of getting James ready for him, generous with the lube and scissoring his fingers deep inside silky smooth heat. James was so tight, and Robbie could only imagine how long it had been for the younger man, but James’s body opened up to him so beautifully. Long pale hands twisted the sheets into knots as Robbie worked, and James gasped softly with every press of Robbie’s fingers, flushed a bright red from his cheeks down to his chest.

Three fingers deep, the heat and the pressure almost overwhelming, and James suddenly pushed himself halfway into a sitting position, snatching up the condom from where Robbie had laid it reverently on the bed. “Enough,” he begged, pressing it back into Robbie’s hands again and snatching a brief, fierce kiss before dropping back to the mattress. “I’m ready. I’m so ready, Robbie, please…”

“Patience, love.” The time for waiting was clearly past, and Robbie wasted no more time, rolling on the condom before carefully lining himself up and pressing slowly into James’s body, sinking deeper and deeper into the most incredible heat. The fact that they had reached this point at last was both deeply humbling and unbelievably arousing, and Robbie felt honoured that this wonderful man was allowing him in, even as his blood boiled with lust and love.

Robbie watched James intently, resisting the urge to just bury himself immediately as deep as he possibly could, fascinated by the play of emotions running across flushed cheeks and wary of causing pain. James had squeezed his eyes shut as Robbie started to slide in, his lips parted in a gasp and his hands coming to rest on Robbie’s shoulders, long fingers digging into the muscles there. Deeper, and James groaned, desperate and needy. Deeper still, and beads of sweat broke out on his brow, though he nodded urgently in the very same moment.

Then finally, finally, Robbie came to rest balls-deep inside James, the tightness and the heat threatening to set him off again far too soon, and he paused, pulling himself back from the edge even as he allowed James a moment to adjust before starting to move.

Slowly at first, barely moving an inch out and back in again, then Robbie gradually began to vary the depth and speed of his thrusts, captivated by the movements of the man beneath him. Captivated, as he always was, by James, even as he started to feel his second orgasm of the night coiling low in his belly.

With the tiniest change of angle, James suddenly cried out loudly, a bark of sheer abandonment escaping his lips as he flung his legs back up around Robbie’s waist to pull him deeper, locking his heels together at the small of Robbie’s back. With a jolt of shock, and a flush of pride, Robbie realised that he had found the younger man’s prostate.

James was all arms and legs, all elbows and knees, and he squirmed so beautifully under Robbie’s touch, the most perfect little noises escaping from deep in his throat as he bucked his hips up to meet each thrust. Robbie truly felt at least forty years younger as he threw all his weight into pinning the younger man down, taking exactly what he needed and giving James what he so obviously wanted.

He also took great pleasure in the fact that James seemed to have completely lost the ability to form coherent words. He felt so powerful to have reduced such a man to nothing more than groans and gasps, and a series of breathy little sighs that made Robbie moan in return.

On a sudden impulse, he snatched up both of James’s bony wrists in his one hand, slamming them into the pillows above James’s head and supporting himself at the same time as he started to snap his hips faster, driving deeper still. James’s eyes snapped open wide in surprise, his pupils blown round and dark, and Robbie could feel James’s lean body starting to tense up beneath him as the younger man’s second orgasm rapidly approached.

If he’d felt able to form any words himself, he would have told James how utterly breath-taking he looked at that moment, dishevelled and flushed and completely lost in his passion. James was panting for each breath, the air leaving his lungs explosively with each thrust of Robbie’s hips, and the slick sounds of their two bodies coming together were the only other noises in the steamy bedroom.

Robbie pressed a quick kiss to James’s parted lips, earning a gasped almost-laugh as he started to speed up his movements, trying to target James’s prostate over and over again. And all too soon James reached his peak once again, his mouth opening wide in a deep groan of pleasure as his cock spurted repeatedly between their stomachs in orgasm.

James was utterly gorgeous and appeared completely spent, his eyes half-closed and a deeply satisfied smile hovering on his lips as his chest heaved in an attempt to catch his breath, and Robbie released his grip on James’s hands to tangle one hand gently into sweaty blond hair instead. He gradually slowed the movement of his hips as James’s legs fell limply away, wary that the younger man might be oversensitive, until James managed a single nod and then, with permission given, Robbie immediately started chasing his own orgasm with renewed determination.

“Yours, Robbie,” James gasped, reaching one shaking hand up to scratch his short nails ever so gently down Robbie’s back.

“Mine,” Robbie growled in wonder, and the very thought was enough to send him tumbling over the edge once more, the world whiting out around him.

He came back to himself slowly, aware of that same shaking hand now stroking gentle circles over his back, and he abruptly realised that he had collapsed down on top of James. Worried he might be crushing the younger man into the mattress, he started trying to move away, but at the first hint of motion that stroking hand became two long arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders, keeping him exactly where he was.

“Stay,” James whispered, his voice husky and quite obviously exhausted. “Please. It’s… lovely.”

There was nothing Robbie wanted more, but – “I should clean us both up a bit before we fall asleep.” The sticky mess James had made all over their bellies was already starting to dry, threatening to glue them together, and Robbie really should deal with the condom before he slipped out of James entirely.

But James just pulled him closer still with a sleepy smile. “It can wait,” he slurred. “Just, stay.”

* * *

The distant sound of bells ringing was the first thing Robbie heard as he drifted slowly awake the next morning, warm and snug in bed, with his head resting on soft pillows and his back supported by possibly the finest orthopaedic mattress known to mankind. A slightly disgruntled groan from somewhere beneath the covers reminded him with a jolt that he wasn’t alone and it wasn’t actually his bed or his mattress, and he couldn’t help but smile in sated contentment as the memory returned.

He stretched out his arms and legs slightly, his shin coming into startling contact with a cold foot as his hand came to rest on a flat, toned stomach. “Good morning, love,” he murmured softly, opening his eyes to see that James had managed to disappear beneath the blankets entirely. “Up you come, now. It’s Christmas Day.”

“If you start singing ‘All I want for Christmas is you’, then this is over before it’s hardly even begun,” came a barely audible grumble even as James moved closer, a strong arm wrapping around Robbie’s waist. They had fallen asleep still utterly naked beneath the sheets, and the touch of bare skin felt like nothing less than electricity to Robbie in that moment. “Though if that was your wish, then you’ve got me. You always had me.”

Unable to resist the temptation, Robbie drew a deep breath to start singing, but just then a tousled blond head popped up from under the quilt, and James blinked sleepy eyes at him, a visibly nervous smile hovering on lips that were still swollen from the weight of kisses Robbie had laid on him last night.

“Good morning, love,” Robbie said instead, revelling in the fact he could use that word, and drew James’s long body closer with a contented sigh. “And a very happy Christmas to you.”

James moved willingly into his arms, shifting until he could entwine their legs properly and resting his head on the pillow beside Robbie’s, barely an inch or two away. “Is this really real?” he asked Robbie quietly, a note of wonder and disbelief in his husky voice, and a faint hint of tension obvious in all his muscles even as he settled closer. “Or did I dream everything? Am I dreaming now?”

“It’s really real, pet.” Not giving a damn about morning breath, Robbie pressed their lips together gently in a tender kiss, feeling some of that tension drain immediately away from James. “How are you feeling?” he asked when they broke apart, both of them a little breathless and more than a little aroused.

“Sore,” James confessed with a definite blush, shifting gingerly once again and wincing ever so slightly. “In all the right places, if you understand what I mean. It’s been a while. A long while.”

“For me too, James.” It really had been quite the workout for both of them, and all the more amazing for how sudden and unexpected it truly was, especially after the twists, turns and misunderstandings that had brought things to boiling point at long last. Though perhaps, in hindsight, it was neither sudden nor unexpected – this had been more than a decade coming, after all.

“Happy Christmas, Robert.” James drew Robbie’s focus back to the bedroom with another tender kiss, as those distant bells seemed to grow louder in sudden crescendo, Oxford starting to wake all around them.

Robbie deepened the kiss then rolled them both over until he was lying on top of James once more, propped up on his elbows and looking down at the younger man, hesitating for a second. “I love you, James,” he said, quietly but clearly, in case there was any lingering doubt as to what the previous night had truly meant to him. He wasn’t the type to say it often, neither of them really were, and he knew he might not say it again any time soon. Not out loud, at least.

But James lit up with obvious delight beneath him, and Robbie knew he’d said exactly the right thing when James replied, “I love you too, Robbie, always have and always will. Happy Christmas.”


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
22nd Dec, 2016 17:42 (UTC)
Ohhhh... *happy sigh* Longer comment coming later, but I just wanted you to know immediately, Anonymous Santa, how happy you've made me. What a sweet and lovely (and steamy--did it just get hot in here? *g*) gift to find when I turned on my computer this morning! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Off to read again... Happy Christmas indeed! *happy sigh*
22nd Dec, 2016 21:33 (UTC)
First, thank you again, Anonymous Santa, for a sweet, lovely, steamy story.

I love the opening and Robbie’s reaction of disbelief and jealousy. And the imagery, from the laughing students passing by to Robbie’s view of Lizzie and James. </>their two contrasting bodies blending together seamlessly in the harsh light And then Robbie’s thoughts as he tries to puzzle out what he’s seen, not really believing that James or Lizzie would have an affair, yet not quite able to put the idea out of his head.

Love these moments of characterization…

Robbie wouldn’t dare to say he understood even half of what was going through James’s incredible brain at any given moment

James had made some questionable decisions in the past when it came to romance

Robbie could’ve saved himself a very expensive plane fare if he’d figured it out sooner

Side by side in the pub, pressed together from knee to shoulder as they always were

Robbie had forgotten how it felt to fall in love with someone *sigh*

Love the image of them sitting together on the couch, watching Love, Actually.

And Robbie’s ham-fisted attempt to pry the truth out of James about Lizzie.

And awwww, *pouty sadness*, to think of Robbie spending Christmas without James, even if it is with his daughter and grandson.

turkey curry Healthy, I suppose, and very James, but…no. Gak. Just no. *g*

James could be prickly about contact, sometimes. Love it! And it rings very true to me.

Robbie felt a strange wave of sorrow pass over him at the thought that he might truly have missed his chance to be with James. Nooooo… *sniff*

What were they getting up to while Robbie was feeling so miserable? Curled up together in front of a roaring fire somewhere no doubt, while Robbie was in danger of losing his fingers to frostbite. I’d be sniffling again if I didn’t know something better was on its way. Love the images and sensations of cold in this scene. Made me shiver.

“I don’t have any plans. A Marks and Spencer’s turkey sandwich and the Doctor Who special, Awww... Damn. *sniffling again*

James actually took a step back, lifting his head to stare up at the darkening sky in a move that exposed the long line of his beautiful neck. What a lovely image! Rowrrr…

“I bought her a ticket to Canada, Robert, to spend Christmas with Tony. Now I knew there was going to be an explanation for what Robbie saw, but this is just lovely. Sweet James.

“I think Peterson’s bought Julie some socks.” I laughed and snorted out loud. Poor Peterson…he always the brunt in our stories, isn’t he?

“Ay, canny lad. I think we’ll make perfect sense.” *sigh* *happy sigh* *melting in a puddle of goo*

22nd Dec, 2016 21:34 (UTC)
Comments, pt 2

Robbie desperately wished he could make the first move, but it seemed as if a large part of his brain still suspected this was all just a dream. Thankfully, James seemed to have no such problem, Awwww… And, then, YES! I love Robbie’s uncertainty at this point. And James’s certainty that’s maybe a bit uncertain, too.

he couldn’t help but marvel at the way they fitted together so perfectly, James’s lanky frame moulding easily against his own more solid body. Mmmmm. I don’t need to turn on the heat when there’s this kind of heat available.

Love James rushing ahead to straighten the bed. But, aw, the mirror’s gone! Though I applaud your courage as a writer, to get rid of the mirror. I’m so taken with it that I wouldn’t be able to banish it, even though I realize that I do overuse it. *g*

And, mmmm, more wonderful images and dialogue…
        James trying to tidy up in all his naked glory
        “We’ll mess it up again soon enough.”
        James falling still, resting all his weight trustingly back onto Robbie’s strength

Love the idea that Robbie has a ‘brief drunken fumble’ that he regrets in his past. It makes him so much more human and well-rounded as a character.

He’d forgotten how it felt when he was about to make love with someone, rather than simply finding a quick and forgettable shag Lovely!

“I don’t have the words, man. I wish I did.”
“Then stop talking.”
Dialogue perfection!

And then lots of lovely, hot, imagery that I blush to cut-and-paste. Such as long legs flinging; manly parts touching; silk and velvet; searing contact; blissful aftermath… And the second sex scene…I’m not even going there. I’ll just…harrumph…be in my bunk for a while. *g*

And James… Oh, James…
        James is far too manly to be beautiful. (but we all think that he’s beautiful, anyway *g*)</li>
        James tastes like black cherries and dark chocolate with a hint of whisky! *swoon*</li>
        James is all arms and legs, all elbows and knees, and he squirmed so beautifully *clearing throat* *wiping drool off keyboard* Me. Bunk. Be right back.

at the first hint of motion that stroking hand became two long arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders, keeping him exactly where he was.
“Stay,” James whispered
And, honestly (I’m sure this is TMI), but…I’m with James. I wouldn’t let Robbie move away either. Even if my ribs were cracking. *g*

And then the lovely, warm, snuggly, naked scene in bed the morning after… James grumpy and burrowed beneath the sheets. Robbie actually thinking of singing. Legs entangled. *more happy sighing*

And there’s more… Much, much more. But this is growing unwieldy, so I’ll stop. But like Robbie, I’m smiling in ‘sated contentment.’ Thank you so much for this lovely story! It’s warmed…well, let’s just say my heart and more. *wink* If I feel any holiday depression creeping in, I’ll just re-read this. Happy Christmas and a Blessed Yule and thank you a thousand under-the-mistletoe kisses!

21st Jan, 2017 21:10 (UTC)
I'm so glad (and more than a bit relieved) to hear that you enjoyed this, and thank you for such lovely comments! Your list of requests and likes was really inspiring so I had lots of ideas to work with, which made this great fun to write. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!
24th Dec, 2016 22:12 (UTC)
Aww, this is lovely! Poor Robbie, first getting the wrong end of the stick with regard to James and Lizzie, and then being left all alone for Christmas - but then he's rescued by James. I loved James's uncertainty, before that, about whether their New Year's Eve plans were still what Robbie wanted, and Robbie's emphatic reassurance that there was nothing he'd rather do. And, yes, James would be that generous where someone he cares about is concerned, making it possible for Lizzie to spend Christmas with Tony.

After all that, he absolutely deserves to find Robbie under his Christmas tree! Lovely work, Santa :)
21st Jan, 2017 21:10 (UTC)
Glad you liked it, thank you - hope you had a great Christmas!
31st Dec, 2016 01:02 (UTC)
A very nice coming together for both of them, and you have Robbie's voice very well. Quite satisfying!
21st Jan, 2017 21:11 (UTC)
Thank you, I'm really glad you liked it!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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