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All the Salt in My Lungs (CrissColfer)

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Title: All the Salt in My Lungs
Pairing: CrissColfer
Author: hellonik
Rating: PG-13
Word length: 7, 238
Warnings: rpf. light angst. romance. Charlene Kaye cameo, i suppose, for those who have some sort of aversion toward her. (Darren/Charlene friendship only.)

Disclaimer: i make no profit from this work of fiction. and it is just that - a very creatively licensed work of fiction that did not happen and is entirely made up by my over-active imagination. both Chris and Darren are actual people and this is not Stranger Than Fiction so this is not true, real, nor dictating or documenting anyone’s actual life, etc, etc.

Summary: Chris sort of enthralls people and Darren can confirm this because he has personal experience with that. Also, Darren’s a bit obtuse when it comes to deciphering his own emotions and Charlene gives him a much-needed kick.

long-winded a/n: yet again, i have no idea why i’m letting myself post this with the authors out there writing CrissColfer with a truly intimidating amount of talent. okay, alright, well, i do hope you enjoy this anyway. don’t be afraid to let me know if you do – i like to hear it, of course.(:

endless gratitude to certaintendencies, who, yet again, helped with some key parts. this really would be much worse without her. and to pinkmochacappuccino, my wonderful, wonderful beta who managed to turn this chaotic mess into something presentable. they also dealt with me while I panicked in their emails because they are lovely like that. you are both beautiful human beings. :D

Music: a lot of this was written to Mumford and Son’s Below My Feet and Right Away Great Captain’s Down To Your Soul. title comes from the latter. also these songs are relevant – here (dance scenes are written with these songs playing/in mind. feel free to play them when the scenes come up, if you so wish.) click the links to download.

tumblr: hellonik for those interested. (links also posted there.)
x-posted at: it-could-happen | AO3



When Darren meets Chris that first time, he feels his heart set off rabbit-quick, his hands trembling just slightly, just enough. There’s something about Chris that makes him stop short, surprised, intrigued; his lungs frozen for just a moment. There’s a light in his eyes, a luminescence to his whole being, that has Darren thinking just give me a chance and you’ll see that I can be light too.

That’s what Chris does. Darren realizes this when he sees the way people react to him, the way Jane’s whole face brightens and the way Ryan and Brad and Ian look at him like he’s just the most wondrous thing they’ve ever seen. Chris makes people want to be close to him, want to shine the way he shines.

It’s tunnel-vision. It’s sparks along his spine. It’s heat coiled around his heart, ears flaring hot and smile blooming wild. It’s a million other split-second reflex reactions and it shakes Darren up.

Chris, well, Chris quotes A Very Potter Musical and a Very Potter Sequel and sings Funny Girl before switching seamlessly to We Are Gonna’ Be Friends softly to himself without skipping a beat, all within a 10-minute time frame. He teaches himself how to use sai swords through YouTube videos and spends hours more looking up videos of acrobats and trapeze artists and wondering how difficult it will be to do it himself.

He’s a force of nature. He’s a hurricane. He’s everywhere, speaking quickly and gesturing broadly and hopping neatly from conversation to conversation, person to person. He leaves everyone in his wake feeling a bit dazed and maybe a bit in love, too.

Darren isn’t exempt from that. He’s never met anyone like Chris, with his wry, sarcastic lilt that still sounds a little sweet no matter what. He’s never met anyone with his clear eyes and his smile, like he’s got the world in his hands, like he’s already survived the worst and everything else is just trivial because of course he can handle that. Of course he can handle whatever else gets thrown at him. Darren doesn’t exactly know what to do. He doesn’t know how to respond to him because his response borders a lot on infatuation and definitely crosses the line into smitten and he’s pretty sure that’s not appropriate but that doesn’t really change a thing, because Darren just sort of wants to be close to him in whatever capacity Chris will allow.

Darren can say straight like it’s a fact, like that’s all there is, but the reality is that Darren’s straight until he curves and then he’s just this weird shape that doesn’t quite fit right into any of society’s categories.

Swallowing this fact is less like a pill and more like whiskey and there is definitely a curve for Chris.

~

One of the biggest problems for Darren is that he grounds all of his characters in a little bit of himself. He pulls from his own pain, or anger, or joy, or love.

When Blaine looks at Kurt and thinks he’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, Darren has to pull that from somewhere.

Sure, he could get that from some past relationship, but really the only thing he needs to do is look at Chris. He looks at Chris and he thinks you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

He looks at Chris, sarcastic and talented and with this hunger to do everything he can in this world, to do it all. Chris, pale and beautiful and so vivid and Darren can’t take his eyes off him.

So, yeah, maybe there’s a character-bleed problem there, but if anything, it is Darren pouring all of this into Blaine and not the other way around.

It’s Darren feeling all of this for Chris and letting Blaine feel it for Kurt.

He wonders how he’s going to explain this distinction to Chris, because he knows that for Chris, it’s almost entirely Kurt when he’s on-camera. His voice, his posture, his enunciation, his reactions – it’s all Kurt, head-to-toe.

It’s all Kurt and Darren doesn’t know if any part of that – if the way Kurt looks at Blaine, like Blaine’s his Prince Charming and as long as he’s there everything is just better, like he’s finally found someone exceptional – if any of that is Chris looking at Darren instead of Kurt looking at Blaine.

Somehow he doubts it and he doesn’t know why that makes his stomach clench, why it makes him want in such a distinct, peculiar, aching way.

~

Darren is sitting in his chair, bent over his guitar with his script on the table in front of him. He reads as he plays, his fingers strumming random chords that he likes the sound of and parts of songs only half-remembered.

He glances up, watching as Chris bounds up to him, eyes clear and bright and electric and voice high with excitement.

“Darren, Darren-“

“Chris, Christopher-”

Quiet, shush, there’s a party in my trailer tonight. Be there or be square.”

Darren laughs, watching Chris with a soft sort of affection. Chris is practically bouncing on his heels, flush high on his cheeks and hair a little disheveled since he’s done playing Kurt for the day.

Be there or be square, Chris? That’s your incentive?”

“Shut it, just come. It’s never as fun if I don’t have you there to steal drinks from.”

“Oh, okay, I see how it is, Colfer. You just want me because I provide your lazy ass with alcohol. Also, lies. If I’m not there you just charm Amber into giving you hers. I know your game, Christopher.”

Chris is laughing, light and giddy and contagious, eyes squinted shut.

“No, no, I like yours. You always pout at me but get another one for yourself anyway which just ends up going to me again. It’s adorable.”

“Adorable? Seriously? Adorable? That sounds less like a compliment and more like condescension coming from you right now.”

“It is absolutely a compliment!” Chris’s grin is sort of manic and obviously he’s teasing and Darren just wants to wrap himself in Chris’s smile and use it like a blanket.

“Liar! You’re lying to me. I don’t know how our relationship is ever going to work out if you don’t stop it with the lying and the deceiving-“

“That was redundant.”

“-and the pain, Chris. My heart. You are breaking it right now. Just – in half.” Chris is only laughing, loud and helpless, and Darren’s face is scrunched up with how hard he’s laughing now too because this entire conversation is ridiculous, but it’s also them. They can’t help it, really, and hearing Chris’s laugh makes him laugh in a really reflexive way that he can never quite contain.

“Oh, my God. Enough. Just be at my trailer by the time you’re done wrapping your last scene, you unimaginable goober.” Chris’s voice is faux-exasperated and annoyed but his eyes are fond as he walks away, backwards to keep his eyes on Darren as he speaks. Darren lifts a hand and casually flips him off, winking playfully when Chris gives a little two-step-and-shimmy in a silent reply, overly-coy and sarcastic.

Darren is still smiling when he turns back to the script, continuing to strum with only half his attention, something high and soft and dulcet. He knows that the warm feeling washing over him is not quite the response he should be having because it’s potent and thick and nearly tangible and it makes his chest tight and he doesn’t know what to do with any of that. It’s not much different from what he always feels after the Chris Colfer Experience but it’s definitely not fading like he thought it would.

~

The thing is that Chris is Darren’s on-screen boyfriend. Which means they have to be able to move like a couple. They can’t be stilted or awkward or uneasy in each other’s presence, because they won’t be able to hide that in front of the camera.

So they do the logical thing – any time they are together and away from the media’s eyes, they get in each other’s space. They sit too close, they stand too close, they hug, they touch. They pinch and tickle and wrestle. They get used to moving within each other’s personal space.

At first, it’s an active effort on both of their parts. Chris, even with people he’s close to, isn’t an overly tactile guy. He definitely responds to touch, but anything he initiates is usually pretty fleeting, especially with other guys. Darren is the exact opposite – he’s an overtly affectionate person. He is all over anyone who will tolerate it. Even so, the amount of effortlessness they would have to portray as a couple over-steps boundaries that even Darren normally doesn’t cross with friends.

After a while, it’s sort of second-nature for both of them. They forget to think stand closer, sit closer, touch, play, because all of that starts happening instinctively.

It’s fine, it’s easy – it’s too easy, really, how quickly they get acclimated to each other’s presence, how easy it becomes to move with each other instead of operating independently.

Darren, well – Darren becomes overly aware of Chris’s physicality. He’s only human, and with knowing how Chris moves already, noticing how he moves, and what he looks like when he moves, it isn’t that far of a step up.

Chris moves his hips like he’s got something to prove and has no qualms with dancing around the set to whatever music he’s listening to or, alternatively, singing to himself. He also doesn’t mind jumping on Darren’s back and wrapping his legs around Darren’s waist, firm and strong, clinched tight around his torso, and insisting that Darren is his horse and they are racing Dianna and her horse, who happens to be Mark. (They totally kick Mark and Dianna’s ass because Chris is mercilessly, unstoppably competitive and has no moral issues with chucking stuff behind them as they race by the foam-prop area.)

Darren also knows that Chris’s skin is always warm and he gets goose-bumps with even the slightest of breezes and his cheeks are always pink and his lips get red when it’s cold. Darren knows that his eyes get this murky turquoise-blue when he’s been drinking and it’s sort of difficult to look away when all Darren wants to do is get up close and dissect every color swirling in Chris’s eyes. He just wants to put it on canvas until he can identify every single color and maybe understand some of the indecipherable quality always lurking in the corners there, too.

It – all of it, Chris himself – is a distraction.

~

It was an agonizingly late shoot and everyone was completely drained. The energy was sapped from their bodies from working all day and into the night, but they had one more group scene to shoot before any of them could leave.

Chris, being Chris, immediately plugged his iPod into one of the radios on set and blasted Florence + the Machine, pulling Heather and Harry – the people closest to him – up to dance with him simultaneously. He was clearly tired, they all were, but he was laughing and yelling at them to get up, get up, we have one more scene to do and pulling random people around him – cast and crew alike – into the spontaneous dance circle he had going in the middle of the set.

Darren had been laughing too, despite the fact that he couldn’t quite think straight, and Chris’s hand was warm in his as he yanked him out of his chair and led him into the middle of the group where everyone had been clustered together.

Darren felt his eyes drawn down toward Chris’s hips, and he could barely pull his eyes away from the flashes of ivory skin that contrasted starkly with his predominantly black clothing where the shirt had ridden up and the jeans had dropped low. Darren moved his hips in time with Chris, the heavy, thrumming beat guiding their movements. Dragging his eyes away, he looked up and realized that Chris was still watching him, eyes huge and seeming to move like liquid from blue to green and bright-bright-bright like they were.

Darren just smiled at him, happy and amused and completely exhausted and really unable to care about being caught right then, and danced closer to Chris, bodies still moving in sync, just barely brushing each other; light and tormenting as a feather across bare skin.

~

It had surprised Darren when he first joined the cast, when they invited him to what they referred to as Club Chris. It was like entering a cramped, exclusive club and it was kind of one of the best things Darren had ever seen.

He was curious though, so he had to ask Chris how this little tradition developed.  Apparently, Chris’s trailer became this sort of impromptu club-slash-party room back in the first season, when they all wanted to go out to blow off steam but didn’t want to leave Chris out, who was under-age at the time.

They probably could have gotten him in anyway as soon as Glee gained such a huge following, but they liked the privacy and security of Chris’s trailer. They didn’t have to worry about who was there or who would spread rumors or talk to tabloids. They definitely go out now, too – but just as often, they’ll all congregate in Chris’s trailer.

It’s one of Darren’s favorite places to hang out, if he’s being completely honest. He spends a lot of time in Chris’s trailer anyway, but there’s something intimate about all of them squishing themselves into this one place.

The trailer is dark, small strobe lights flickering on both ends of the sparse space, a disco-ball hanging from the ceiling and throwing glittering lights all over the shadowed surface of the walls and writhing bodies. It’s hard to make out who’s who and the tangle of people dancing in the cleared space in the middle of the trailer, just beneath the disco ball, is not helping. As soon as he steps in – one of the last to make it over – he hears a chorus of his name, slightly drunken, more from atmosphere than anyone consuming enough alcohol to actually get drunk yet. He laughs in response, feeling relaxed and comfortable in this familiar place with these familiar people.

He makes his way through, the music too loud to actually talk to anyone he passes, only raising a hand and nodding his acknowledgment. He finds Chris at the back, mixing drinks and laughing with someone. Darren can barely make out that the other person is even there, the lights moving too erratically to catch a clear visual.

He slips behind Chris and squeezes his side, laughing when Chris yelps and nearly drops the drink in his hands before setting it gently on the table. He grabs Chris’s hand and drags him out toward the middle of the room, telling Chris through some vague gestures and yelling to dance with him. Darren doesn’t really know what he’s doing. He just knows that he really wants Chris’s body closer to his and this seems like the best strategy to make that happen.

Chris’s teeth flash in the dichotomy of light and dark in the enclosed room as he grins, nodding, and Darren feels a smirk curl his lips as he moves closer, reminded of the last time they danced like this, with Chris’s solution to their fatigue that one night being to blast music and get everyone moving.

He moves easily with Chris, their bodies sinuous, rolling with the kick-drum beat of the song. There’s something a little heat-heavy and tight in their bones; a taut line of warmth between them, something almost exquisitely tense and edgy and it tightens the muscles of their bodies, their chests heaving just a little. Darren keeps a smile stretched across his lips though, holding Chris’s eyes, trying to soothe some of the heat-sharpened edge away. Their bodies are just a little too close, lower bodies pressing in and rocking back in smooth, languid motions. Their shoulders brush, chests sliding against each other in a whisper of movement, before moving back, nothing more than a tease of pressure.

It’s dark, the flashing lights providing a truly negligible amount of light that might actually help them see more than a sporadic glimpse of a face or an undulating body. It makes everything seem a little too intimate, a little too much like a dare, like a challenge. He moves away slowly because he’s not sure he can trust himself to be this close to Chris right now. He backs up and lets Amber drag Chris away and into the very middle of the floor, keeping the smile in his eyes by force of will alone, letting Chris hold his gaze a little longer than necessary.

As soon as Chris is out of sight, Darren turns to the table in the corner and slams back a shot, letting the burn down his throat ease the trembling in his bones.

Fuck.

~

It’s less than a week later that Chris and Darren have to shoot a complete emotional wreckage of a scene that not only has Kurt crying but Blaine in tears, too. It’s a difficult scene to shoot and by the time they make it through the first 10 takes, each a little more intense than the last, both Darren and Chris feel completely drained.

They call for a break, and even Ryan and Brad look too serious, faces drawn.

Chris leaves quickly, making his way back to his trailer with long, rushed strides. Darren watches him go for a minute before he follows, feeling a little numb; whole body cold and worn down.

He knocks lightly when he reaches the trailer, and when he hears Chris’s voice telling him to come in – I know it’s you Darren, just get in here – he steps in and closes the door behind him, hoping to block out the world for a bit.

Chris is sitting on his couch, legs drawn up and head resting on his knees, eyes closed, looking so solitary. Darren watches him for a moment, because he can’t help it, because Chris is someone that you just have to take in for a second, before deciding that what he honestly wants is to feel Chris, warm and unwavering, close to him.

He settles in next to Chris silently, pulls him close, arms slipping around his back and letting their bodies fall together until they’re both comfortable. Chris puts up no resistance and lets his legs relax until they tangle with Darren’s, his head falling to Darren’s shoulder, nothing reserved here. They stay like that, silent and intertwined, bodies loosening in increments. With Chris’s every breath, even and soft, Darren’s pulled a little closer to himself and a little farther away from Blaine, just for this moment.

Chris has always been this for him - this calming presence that keeps everything steady below Darren’s feet, no matter what kind of storm Chris manages to be just by being himself.

Darren tucks himself closer to Chris, feeling this slow, aching warmth unfurl in his chest, twist around his heart and stay; stay, immovable. He feels weak with it, with this feeling seeping through his every bone, and he’s so shaken, and he doesn’t know what to do with this, this throbbing that expands with every pulse of his heart. It’s filling him up and choking him out and he’s physically shaking with it.

So he listens to Chris breathe, lets him steady everything for him even if he’s the one that’s making everything quake like this in the first place.

~

Later, alone in his apartment and still a little lost, Darren can’t figure out how to do this. He’s always been a talker. He voices his thoughts until he has everything figured out and right now everything’s a tangled, chaotic mess in his head and he just needs someone to help snap him out of it.

He does what he can and he calls the person closest to him that’s not from Glee and who isn’t currently in Chicago.

~

“So how long have you wanted to adopt sweet Eurasian babies with your fake boyfriend?” Darren chokes on his drink, glancing up sharply at Charlene who smiles, far too mischievous.

Charlene is probably one of his closest friends out here, and he knows he can trust her. He feels a little more sorted by now, 2 days after realizing that he’s fallen in love with one of his best friends, after realizing that maybe he’s always been a little in love with him and now it’s just something he can’t ignore anymore. He can’t shove it to a shadowed corner of his brain and leave it this dark, inscrutable puzzle that he can just choose to leave unsolved.

“I don’t – what? Charlene, seriously, stop smiling like that. This is an issue I’m having and you are not helping. You’re the worst.” But Darren’s smiling helplessly, caught out by Charlene’s blunt honesty and really, this is the whole reason he invited her to lunch anyway, so there’s no use in denying it.

“Oh shut up, you know it’s true. I’m just here because your non-Glee friends are all in Chicago.” She’s smirking at him.

“That is not the only-“

“Liar,” she sing-songs, sweet and knowing and unrepentantly mocking. God, she’s the worst.

Darren laughs and then groans quietly, a little pathetically, batting at her arm.

“Help me.  I don’t know what to do,” he says, letting his head fall onto his folded arms, staring up at her through his eyelashes.

“Oh my God, you are a puppy. It’s adorable.” She pauses for a moment.

“Why does everyone call me-“

“I hope you know you’re breaking my heart, Criss,” she informs him, cutting him off without pause, voice lofty and eyebrow raised.

He stares at her in surprise, open-mouthed and a little horrified.

“What? What? Charlene I don’t –“ He stammers.

“Are you kidding me, Darren? I had the biggest crush on you, but I’m still not sure who’s taller between us and that’s a little weird, so it passed. Also you’re the biggest dork I’ve ever met. It makes me want to cuddle with you, not have sex with you.” She cuts him off, laughing, before sipping at her water casually.

Darren just stares at her, eyebrows furrowed.

“First, I’m pretty sure that’s like, height-ist. Height elitism? Height discrimination. Which is not cool, Kaye.” He sounds a little outraged but he’s smiling because honestly, he kind of loves her.

“Oh shut up, Darren. You don’t even like me. You didn’t even notice.”  She’s laughing fondly at him again.

Not the point. Second, can you please help me instead of being a horrible person and making me hate you?”

“You love me.” She snipes back.

He sighs, giggling a little, but staring at her pleadingly.

“Alright, alright. So, you want to seduce your male co-star and possibly trick him into buying a white-picket-fence house and adopting children with you. What’s the problem there?”

“Charlene, seriously.” A quiet, bubbling laugh slips out, sounding just a little distressed. “He’s my co-star. And he’s Chris. I need to like, woo him. But I don’t even know if he could be interested. Things could get really awkward really quickly.”

Woo, Darren? Really?”

“I’m serious! He doesn’t even know I’m an option. He won’t have even considered me as anything more than a friend.” His smile is tight and faint, eyes dark and strained.

She sobers, taking the situation into honest consideration.

“Well, okay. You guys are really close, right? If you can keep it, you know, professional if he turns you down, then the awkward thing is the least of your worries.” She says, eyes contemplating.

Co-star.” He reminds her, sounding plaintive.

“Okay. Okay. How serious are you about this?” Darren looks away, eyes down. Charlene watches him for a moment, he can feel her eyes on him, assessing.

“I might – be a little in love with him.”

She stares at him, silent and stunned.

“I know. I know, okay. But honestly, have you met him? He’s – he’s kind of amazing.” His voice goes caramel-smooth and sweet, seemingly unconsciously.

She smiles slowly, softly, eyes wide and still a little startled.

“That’s – really cute, actually. So things could get a little complicated.”

“A little,” he scoffs softly.

“Stop being dramatic, you guys aren’t Romeo and Juliet, okay? It’ll be fine. Just give it a chance. If you guys end up together, awesome.  If you don’t – well. You’re a pretty great actor, Darren.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“You overly complicate things.”

“I’m realistic.”

“Like Shakespeare was realistic, sure.”

“I am not that bad.”

“No. But just give it a chance, okay? Don’t over-analyze.”

He sighs, staring at her with soft, shining eyes, a smile playing at the edges of his lips.

“Puppy, puppy, puppy.” She sings, under her breath.

He laughs, batting at her arm again.

“Thanks, Char. Really.” His voice is quiet and sincere, smile growing wide.

“Now how do I convince him to give me a chance?”

“Just smile and look up at him with those pretty, pretty eyes of yours.”

“Again with the not helping.”

 ~

It’s Saturday and Chris has himself curled into the corner of Darren’s couch. Darren is sprawled over the rest, toes tucked beneath Chris’s thigh. There’s take-out boxes of Chinese scattered across the floor, most of them half-full with chopsticks sticking out of them, empty ones stacked. They both like to have some of everything, so they order what they like and share it all every time they do this. It’s late and quiet and dark, the TV on, volume low, neither of them actually watching.

Darren’s heart is beating too quickly and there’s this anxiety lacing through his body, twisting in his stomach, and if he doesn’t say what he needs to say he’s pretty sure he’s going to start vibrating off the couch. He digs his toes into the cushion and props himself up on his elbows, staring down at the other end of the couch, where Chris has his head lolling back, eyes closed, drowsy and unconcerned.

His head shifts in a slow, languorous movement, not lifting from the back of the couch, until he’s meeting Darren’s gaze with half-lidded eyes, just a dark, silver glimmer from beneath his lashes.

Darren’s breath hitches a little and he feels, for one interminable and throat-constricting moment, like he can’t speak, like he can’t say what he wants to say; not now, not here, not to Chris.

Chris smiles at him, soft and inquiring, eyebrow raised, somehow managing to be simultaneously inaccessible and so sweetly open.

Darren opens his mouth, and he doesn’t know where the nerves came from or why they’re there because this is the easy part, and he finds his voice, low and a little too raspy,

“There’s something I probably should tell you.”

Chris hmm’s quietly in response, amiable and vaguely querying, still so relaxed here with Darren.

“I – this is probably a little –“ He doesn’t know how to say this and he doesn’t know why it’s so fucking difficult.

Chris lifts his head, turning his body until he’s facing Darren completely and staring at him with wide, attentive eyes, realizing that Darren feels just a little distressed, a little frustrated with himself.  Darren makes a quiet sound in the back of his throat, a swallowed groan, and let’s his body fall back, not looking at Chris any longer, and continues.

“Okay, so this is probably a little – out of the blue, but I feel like I should tell you because you’re one of my closest friends and this is – something. About me. I don’t know what, exactly. But it’s something and –“

“Just say it, Darren. You’re making me want to jump out of the window in a panic.”

Jump out – why would you’re immediate response be to jump out of the window? That’s-“

“Darren.”

“ – remind me to carry you out of two-story buildings if shit starts going down, Chris, Jesus-“

Darren.”

“Yeah. Okay, yeah.” Darren inhales, lets it out slowly and lifts his eyes to the ceiling. He grins suddenly, because Chris is Chris and he just loves him, really. Telling him that is going to be the hard part and this part is cake and he doesn’t know why he’s being so evasive about it.

“So you know that thing about me being straight? That’s not exactly accurate. Completely.”

There’s a pause and Darren keeps his eyes trained on the ceiling and doesn’t move a muscle and his heart is off again, like a shot, tension coiled around every tendon in his body.

Chris says, voice blank, “What?”

Darren finally sits up, pulling his knees close to his chest in the same motion, still avoiding looking at Chris and there’s a gap between them that’s sort of alien and extrinsic because there hasn’t ever really been anything resembling personal space since they’ve met.

Darren keeps talking.

“Look, I’m not into all of the labels and shit. You know that. But I don’t really know what I am, I just know that I’m not exactly straight. And I’m not really gay, either. It doesn’t – gender isn’t really the first thing I notice, so I don’t know what that means. Gender just tends to turn into extraneous information once I’m, y’know, actually into someone.”

He finally looks at Chris. His eyes are blown a little wide and he looks sort of staggered and thrown but not angry or displeased. Darren’s not really sure why that was even a fear because it’s Chris, but he doesn’t really understand the way his mind works or where his emotions come from sometimes so that’s not an entirely foreign feeling.

“I – okay. Well. Okay. Darren. Darren, hey, you know that’s – that’s okay, right? That’s not – you don’t have to categorize yourself for me or for anyone. I’m – you’re you, that’s all.” Chris’s shock has melted into a slightly gentle smile, eyes glittering in the darkened room. Darren’s sure that that’s where a lot of the fear came from earlier – that Chris would ask for a definitive, succinct explanation and Darren can’t give that because he can barely explain it in vaguely worded sentences, let alone packing it up into a box so that it’s transparent and uncomplicated for anyone who looks inside.

He lets his body fall forward, turns his legs out, stretching them along the couch at the same time, letting his head fall on Chris’s lap and slipping an arm around his waist. Chris is laughing, a soft, high sound that makes Darren press a smile into Chris’s leg, mumbling a soft yeah through his grin.

I know.

~

There’s no change in the way they are with each other, but Chris watches Darren like he’s never seen him before sometimes, and that is what Darren wanted. He just doesn’t know if this is the right way to do this – he’s trying to start from the beginning, let the possibility be there so that Chris can, hopefully, respond. Except that they aren’t starting from the beginning, are they? He doesn’t know how that changes things.

There’s nothing harmless about their flirting now, because Darren isn’t as straight as previously assumed and that should change things but it doesn’t somehow.

Chris watches him with obscure eyes that reveal nothing and his gaze sends jolts shooting up Darren’s spine and along his arms and legs and Darren lets him, returns the stare, doesn’t know what he’s trying to convey other than reciprocation.

He just doesn’t know what he’s reciprocating, because he doesn’t know what Chris is feeling.

Chris tosses up dry smirks and quirked eye-brows like a shield, one right after the other, and they’re impossible to see through. He deftly skirts any conversation that might lead toward any discussion of sexuality or romance.

He always has only now it feels a little more deliberate, and Darren lets him because it’s an easy out. Darren and Chris are both taking the easy out here and they know it and it still changes nothing.

They sit too close, and they hug for too long, and they play with each other, and none of it is awkward or uncomfortable. They are just as perfect as they’ve always been and Chris is just as frustrating as he’s always been when he decides to be untouchable and inscrutable about certain things and he’s so fucking good at it. Darren sort of wants to tear his hair out.

Chris stares and Darren always holds his gaze and now there’s something there that wasn’t there before, a new layer that tightens this invisible line of tension between them.

Darren wonders if it’s going to snap and he wonders if he’s doing this the right away and he wonders what he’s doing and then he looks at Chris and he knows no other way and he just wants.

~

From: Charlene
How is the wooing coming along, Mr. Criss?

To: Charlene
It’s not.
Well, it is. But not really.
...
I’m working on it.

Sounds complicated.
I told you not to do that.
Because you tend to do that, as I’ve said.


Absolutely not the point right now.

Well, what’s the problem?
Why haven’t you guys made sweet tender love beneath the moonlight yet?

Oh, my God. Shut up.

You are definitely laughing right now.
I can tell.

Shhhhhhh.
I don’t know, though. We’re like, stuck in this weird half-acknowledged half-ignored precipice.

Precipice.

Shhhh! I just don’t know how to do this.

I know. Just talk to him. It’s not that hard.

It is.

Why?

Fuck if I know.

Weird.

Have I ever mentioned how helpful you are?

Talk. To. Him.

I can’t.

...
I’m sorry

I just need to wait.

For what, exactly?

Something. I don’t know.
I over-complicate things.

Hah, yeah, a bit.
It’ll work out.

I know.
I just wish it would work out sooner.

I have a solution to that.

Shush.
And thank you.

You’re welcome.
Use your words. :)!

Hahaha shhh!

The exact opposite of what you should be doing?

Point taken. Thank you, doctor.

Mmmhmm.

Would you also like to know how I feeeeeel about that?

Lay down, close your eyes. This is a safe place.

It all started when I was three and my mom wouldn’t give me a cookie.

You’re ridiculous.

Frequently.
It’s why we’re friends.

It’s mostly out of pity on my part, honestly.

Remind me to not be friends with you.
:)!
Love you too baby!

~

They all go to Chris’s apartment to unwind there after a long week of shooting. They are all one incredibly co-dependent family because it’s only been a day without seeing each other, and yet here they all are. It’s late, nearing 2 am. It’s loud, laughter rising and falling like the swell of a wave, voices carrying as people shout across the room to each other.

Darren’s sitting on the ledge in between the kitchen and the living room and has a perfect view of both rooms. He’s watching Chris, lips a smear of red on pale porcelain skin that Darren wants to know every inch of. He’s doing shots of tequila with Lea and Jenna at the counter. Everyone is – or on their way to – getting incredibly, unwisely smashed and Darren’s probably one of the most sober people in the room. Chris seems pretty steady on his feet, but as he does another shot – lick, sip, suck – Darren’s not sure how long that’s going to last.

Darren sips his vodka-and-coke, eyelids heavy over his eyes and body loose, hands fiddling with a pen absently, eyes flitting restlessly over everyone in the living room before inexorably being drawn back to Chris.

Chris, head down as he licks salt off his wrist but passes on another shot, (I just like the way the salt tastes) lifts his eyes slowly to Darren, grin curling his alcohol-wet lips.

Darren smiles, lazy and slow. He lifts his drink to him in a silent salute and winks when Chris lifts an eyebrow at him. Chris cants his head to the side for a moment, still watching him, eyes getting that inscrutable look in them that makes Darren want to take him apart until he understands every piece of him before putting him back together.

Darren still can’t take his eyes off of him, never really has been able to, and when Jenna drags him over to do a shot, he goes, unresisting. He holds Chris’s gaze as he licks the salt off his wrist, knocks back the shot, and sucks the lime dry. His ears are deaf to Jenna and Lea’s boisterous cheers, not even noticing as they get lured by Dianna into playing a game of King’s Cup in the living room.

A flush stains Chris’s cheeks, and he’s holding Darren’s gaze, always holding Darren’s gaze, and Darren’s so reckless tonight and he just doesn’t know how to do this with Chris. He doesn’t know why he makes things so complicated without meaning to. He’s just never loved like this and he’s lost.

Chris breathes deep, voice coming out like honey over gravel, sweet and high and breaking a little.

“I need some air.”

Darren watches him as he goes, slips through the room and through the doors that lead out onto the balcony. Darren follows, feels something pulling tight, ready to snap.

~

He steps out and the cool air stings his skin. Chris has his arms wrapped around himself, his breath hanging in the air in front of him.

Chris sounds fucking wrecked – confused and angry and hurt and Darren didn’t do this the right way and he feels his heart clench, violent, like it’s turning inside-out in his chest. Chris doesn’t turn, instinctively knowing who it is, but starts to speak.

“I don’t – I don’t know what this means anymore, Darren. I don’t know what any of this – I. You need to fucking talk to me because everything changed except not really and maybe it’s all me. Maybe the fucking doors of Heaven opened for me but that’s not what it was for you and it never has been and if that’s what it is then that’s – I can start dealing with that but everything changed for me, Darren.”

The light filters onto the balcony in strips, lighting the tips of Chris’s shoes and his knees and the edge of his face, his reddened nose and lips. His eyes are luminous in the desultory light and he’s so beautiful and it’s just this want that slips between every bone in Darren’s body and coils there like a spring; it’s this warmth swelling in his chest and melding into his blood and he aches with it.

Darren breathes carefully, measured like he’ll forget how to do it properly, before speaking quietly.

“You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met and you make me want to be as good as you, because you are. You’re so good and people aren’t these days and I’m in love with you, in case that wasn’t clear. I’m really, really in love with you. It was Heaven’s doors, Chris. Of course it was. The moment I met you.” All of it is so painfully, painfully true and that’s not even the half of it but it’s all Darren can give and he hopes it’s enough.

Chris’s entire body is frozen and Darren can see the harsh cut of his body in the half-light, wrung through with tension. All of Chris’s breath shudders out of him and he looks like an agonizing jumble of terrified and frantic and Darren feels his throat seize as Chris takes a sudden step forward before stumbling back and turning and scrambling for the door, going back into the apartment in a rush of discordant movement. Darren feels a mindless sort of fear envelope his mind as he follows him in, trailing him closely back into the kitchen, ignoring the rest of the cast, all of them a little too tipsy to notice the sharp, strangling dissonance between them.

As soon as he enters, Chris turns on him, voice demanding, a little desperate, a little panicked. His eyes are hard and unrelenting as he speaks.

“Did you mean it?” He asks like it’s the most important thing he can ask.

It makes something heavy and constricting uncoil for a reason that Darren can’t identify, and he smiles, slow and indulgent and tinged with sadness, head tipped down and eyes up. He moves closer, his hand falling to Chris’s shoulder, thumb smoothing over his collar-bone as he presses him gently into the wall behind them. He steps close until their bodies cling from shoulder to groin to knee. Chris’s eyes are wide and dark and shining, everything else melting away, and Darren leans in close, his breath ghosting across bitten, spit-shiny lips.

“Of course.” He says, soft, susurrant, cracked through and so, so honest.

He leans in slowly, giving Chris a chance to push him away, before he presses their lips together softly, and the way Chris’s body unwinds in his arms has Darren wild with this need to taste more, to taste as much of him as possible. He slots their bodies closer, kisses deeper, licks the salt clean from Chris’s mouth until all he tastes is Chris-Chris-Chris, sucks the cold from his lips until both of their mouths are hot and kiss-swollen. His hand cups Chris’s jaw and his fingertips press into his cheek-bone and temple, his other hand squeezing the sharp cut of Chris’s hip. Chris is giving as good as he gets, kissing back hard and fierce and hungry, making a high, choked sound in the back of his throat that Darren swallows, a small sound building from his chest and leaving his throat in response. Chris has one hand fisting Darren’s curls, his other arm winding around Darren’s waist like an anchor to hold him there, as if Darren could be anywhere else.

Darren pulls away slowly, reluctantly, eyes closed and breathing heavy, listening to the sound of Chris taking in soft gasps of air. He opens his eyes and Chris is watching him, eyes candescent and smile stretching across his parted lips, gradual like a lit candle and Darren’s the wax.

He says, like a secret, “Okay.”

Darren laughs a little, brittle and weak and feeling like he’s going to fall over.

“Okay?”

“Yeah,” Chris says. “You love me,” he whispers like it’s something he’ll sing softly to himself.

“I do,” Darren murmurs, and Chris laughs, a little giddy, happy.

“I don’t need to tell you.”

“Yes, you do.” Darren’s smiling because he can’t help it, because it’s Chris, and he’s nodding, insisting.

“You already know.” Chris’s grin grows, all lips, canines just peeking out.

“I don’t.” Darren replies softly, just a whisper.

Chris laughs again, tugs Darren closer and Darren goes willingly, always willing for Chris, and waits because he knows that it’s okay for him to expect this – he won’t have his heart split.

“I love you.” Chris says, nearly silent, on a breath.

“Okay,” Darren smiles, bright like a candle, like a flame, like Chris, and again, okay, like an affirmation.

Comments

( 68 comments — Leave a comment )
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windrider1967
Oct. 7th, 2011 05:25 am (UTC)
Beautiful, totally beautiful. I love the tension and the indecision and GOD fics like this will make a CrissColfer shipper out of me yet (I'm about half way there anyways)

The most brilliant description I have ever read: Darren can say straight like it’s a fact, like that’s all there is, but the reality is that Darren’s straight until he curves and then he’s just this weird shape that doesn’t quite fit right into any of society’s categories.

I think in some ways we ALL are like that, deep inside. Some of us are just more saddled with society's norms. Gender is an afterthought - brilliant.

I love this more than I can say. It's not CrissColfer SMUT, it's not fangirls wet dreams, it's emotion and feeling and insecurity and all that stuff that makes it real. Thank you
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:19 am (UTC)
oh, oh thank you so much.

i agree - i think people just have trouble accepting that part of themselves, sometimes.

and, again, thank you so much, love. i'm so pleased that you liked it and you are absolutely lovely for leaving such a wonderful comment.

robinwayne
Oct. 7th, 2011 05:28 am (UTC)
I think this is the sweetest RPF I've ever read. It's so adorable and fluffy and this is totally going in my "make me not sad" pile of fics. You truly did a wonderful job of writting this.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:20 am (UTC)
ahhh, thank you. :D i'm so happy that you enjoyed it.<3
dreamerofmonday
Oct. 7th, 2011 05:44 am (UTC)
oh my gosh, Nik. You break my heart with every one and then you piece it back together again and the way you write self-discovery is just -- it's beautiful.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:22 am (UTC)
h;kh;khlja thank you so much, darling.

you give such amazing feedback and it's lovely. thank you. i'm so happy that you liked this one as well. :3

<3
pplemmy
Oct. 7th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC)
THIS WAS PRECIOUS.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:23 am (UTC)
THANK YOU. :D
hygher
Oct. 7th, 2011 06:56 am (UTC)
Dude, love!
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:23 am (UTC)
ahaha thanks, baby.(:
likesand
Oct. 7th, 2011 07:01 am (UTC)
I have tears in my eyes and I don't even know WHY oh my god that was soooo good. Seriously, you are so talented, and I loved that there was nearly no dialogue because your narrating style is incredibly real and beautiful.
Gahhh just, love love love for this one. It was an amazig read :)
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:24 am (UTC)
thank you, thank you, thank you.<3 your comment is absolutely amazing and you are much too kind. :3
apleby_arrow
Oct. 7th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, God. It was so good. You really made an amazing job there, building all the tension. We can really feel their genuine friendship, and relationship in general. And I loved the ending. It was so right. Good CrissColfer fics are hard to find those days, and yours is definitely one of my favorites from now on.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:24 am (UTC)
hkhlja thank you so much, i'm so happy you enjoyed it.<3
mardie186
Oct. 7th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
This was so beautiful and emotional, and guhhh, just have no words. Love the detailed description of their feelings. And man, I wanna go to "Club Chris". Sounds like a fun place! And Darren is not a box, nor is Chris. There are more than 4 sides to them. And I like that he's a little bit "curved". And spontaneous and fun.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:26 am (UTC)
thank you, thank you, you are too lovely. i'm so happy you liked it. ahaha yes, spontaneous and fun indeed. :3
law_of_tarts
Oct. 7th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:26 am (UTC)
thank you.<3
akai_nekochan
Oct. 7th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous, just gorgeous. :'-)
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:26 am (UTC)
ahh, thanks, baby. :3
minttu80
Oct. 7th, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
Oh my :') That was stunning and so real. As much as I love CrissColfer smut it's stories like this that just cement the idea of the 2 of them.

Loved this bit : "Darren can say straight like it’s a fact, like that’s all there is, but the reality is that Darren’s straight until he curves and then he’s just this weird shape that doesn’t quite fit right into any of society’s categories"

That's such a beautiful idea and fits Darren so well.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:28 am (UTC)
oh, oh my, thank you so much.<3 thank you, your comment is so lovely and i'm so happy you enjoyed it.

and i agree, and i'm so glad that i'm not the only one who thinks so. :3
artemis_blythe
Oct. 7th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. Exquisitely written, poetic. Loved it.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:29 am (UTC)
thank you. i'm so happy you think so. :3
oncetwiceforevr
Oct. 7th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
so lovely :)
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:29 am (UTC)
thanks, baby.(:
mulder1921
Oct. 7th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
This was just amazing! So sweet and flirty and totally how any good relationship should be. Had me swooning.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:29 am (UTC)
ahhh, thank you. :D
mayabeille
Oct. 8th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Your words are heartbeats. Warm and loving, I could sleep in them.

"Darren wonders if it’s going to snap and he wonders if he’s doing this the right away and he wonders what he’s doing and then he looks at Chris and he knows no other way and he just *wants*."

So beautiful it makes me want to *sing*.
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 06:30 am (UTC)
jh;ka;h thank you so much. :D you are much too kind, ohmygoodness. thank you.<3
kidatakahama
Oct. 8th, 2011 09:37 am (UTC)
this.is.beautiful! Damn, it so is! Thanks so much for this! This feels so real and tense and wonderful. I loved the description of their personal space with each other. Beautiful, did I mention that? ;D
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
hahaha oh my goodness, thank you so much. :D you are far too kind, love. i'm so happy you enjoyed it. :3
vodniq
Oct. 8th, 2011 11:14 am (UTC)
so sweet, and adorable; love can be so simple, yet complicated at the same time ^__^
and I really like your Darren - seems very like his real self, as far as I can imagine ;)
hellonik
Oct. 8th, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
ahh, thank you. :3 and i'm glad that my Darren seems, at least a little, realistic. i'm relieved that he didn't seem like a completely different person. ^.^'

and i'm so happy you liked it, bb.
midlifecrisses
Oct. 8th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
So my heart is doing this little flittery beat thing and I realize that I must start a master fic list because I refuse to lose this fic. this deserves a re-read at a later point. It was so beautiful!!!
hellonik
Oct. 9th, 2011 09:47 am (UTC)
oh, oh my goodness, thank you so much, love. :3 i'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as you did.
tmpr10
Oct. 9th, 2011 10:44 am (UTC)
Somebody give this woman an Alan Rickman!! I loved this!! And this line
"So he listens to Chris breathe, lets him steady everything for him even if he’s the one that’s making everything quake like this in the first place."
xx
hellonik
Oct. 10th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC)
oh goodness, thank you so much! :D i'm so pleased that you enjoyed it, bb. :3
everybodykliss
Oct. 9th, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
Oh my god, I don't do LiveJournal, I barely made an account hoping to get into it sometime in the next month or so, and I've never commented on anything before, but I just have to say I absolutely LOVE this. And now I'm about to go reread it because it was so perfect and just so asdfghjkl;
hellonik
Oct. 10th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
kj'lka thank you! oh, you're lovely, thank you.<3 i'm so happy you enjoyed it. and i'm so honored to have taken your comment!virginity! haha ^.^
mittenconfetti
Oct. 9th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
That last line was brilliant. Probably my favorite part of the whole story. You had some moments of real poignancy in here, and I would pull them out but I'm commenting on my phone, so alas. Still, that last line. Gorgeous. Made me decide to comment.
This was really lovely. I've been looking for good CrissColfer to read and it's somewhat of an endangered species, but I really enjoyed this. Makes me want to look into your other stuff, which of course I will. :)
hellonik
Oct. 10th, 2011 12:05 am (UTC)
oh, thank you so much. wow, thank you.<3 you are too kind, really. :3 i'm so happy you liked it and i hope you enjoy my other one as well, love.
tweeney
Oct. 9th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, AMAZING!

Some parts just left me breathless and I kept reading it slowly because I just didn't want it to end. Everything was so beautifully written and I just fell in love with Chris (even more) through Darren's eyes.

So, yeah. AMAZING. *saves to memories*

hellonik
Oct. 10th, 2011 12:05 am (UTC)
OH, THANK YOU SO MUCH.<3

it makes me happy that you enjoyed it so much. and thank you for your lovely comment, bb.(:
jennisariot
Oct. 10th, 2011 06:10 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh, the tension was so strong all the way through in the best way. I was completely sucked into it, beautiful!
hellonik
Oct. 10th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
thank you so much, love. i'm so happy you liked it. :3
such_a_steph
Oct. 12th, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
Perfect, beautiful, breathtaking! There are not enough superlatives to describe your talent with words, and the way you unfurled this story. Thank you for writing; please never stop ♥
hellonik
Oct. 13th, 2011 10:27 am (UTC)
oh, ohmygoodness. thank you so much, you are so lovely, thank you.<3 i'm so happy you enjoyed it. thank you for your absolutely lovely comment.
xenachakram12
Oct. 12th, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC)
GOODNESS GRACIOUS. I was excited when I read the summary, but this delivers even more than I expected! I love your explanations of Darren's sexuality...

Darren can say straight like it’s a fact, like that’s all there is, but the reality is that Darren’s straight until he curves and then he’s just this weird shape that doesn’t quite fit right into any of society’s categories.

...because that is so ME and I never thought of putting it like that, but I love it. I'm gonna use it for myself if you don't mind. :-) Then you follow up THAT bit of brilliance with this...

Swallowing this fact is less like a pill and more like whiskey and there is definitely a curve for Chris.

...and I'm in fic Heaven. Your images are gorgeous (He opens his eyes and Chris is watching him, eyes candescent and smile stretching across his parted lips, gradual like a lit candle and Darren’s the wax.) and you strike such a perfect tone that it makes me ache. This is gorgeous. I'll be saving this one for sure!
hellonik
Oct. 13th, 2011 10:31 am (UTC)
jk;hkjh;h;a this is quite possibly one of my favorite responses that i've gotten.

you are more than welcome to use that, ohmyGod. i am so - i am so blown away and i'm so happy that i managed to accurately describe something like that for someone and that's just. amazing. thank you, thank you so much. i feel incredibly honored.

you are just far too kind love, and i'm so happy you enjoyed it.<3
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