Friendly Persuasion

Recipient: suede_scripture
Author: trianne
Pairing: Elijah/Billy
Rating: PG15
Summary: Pain. And oven chips.
Notes: My recipient asked for "No death fic, no mpreg. First time with a curious edge; one or both has a crush sort of feel. Playful and smutty!" Well, it's playful...
Post-Reveal Notes: Thanks to Elouisa and Ladysunrope for the encouragement

"Oh god...oh god..."

Ian let his pale gaze lift a fraction from the magazine he was perusing and allowed it to drift up to the ceiling; anywhere but to the young man prostrate on his couch behind him.

"God. God. Oh..."

Returning his focus to the glossy pages, the tip of his tongue just flicking to moisten his upper lip, Ian began to read once more. There was no further distraction, thankfully, for a few minutes, then the springs of the couch hinted at movement, followed by the soft thud of feet on the floor. Ian adjusted his glasses a fraction and gave his full attention to the text of a very interesting article about the Treaty of Waikato. He heard, but chose to ignore: the pad of besocked feet from the couch to the kitchen; the opening of the fridge -- his fridge -- the clinking of bottles and the rummaging around in the salad crisper; the muttered curses and the slam of the fridge door; and finally the creak of the kitchen door. As surely as night follows day, Ian knew that a cigarette had been lit; he did not need to hear it or smell the catch of the nicotine to know this. His houseguest was a creature of habit, whereas he himself was a creature who was trying to kick one.

After a few moments, the kitchen door closed and Ian found himself waiting on a breath, anticipating the inevitable. Which duly came. "God. Oh god, oh man, oh god," he heard, a plaintive and pathetic little lament. He could bear no more. Laying his magazine down on the dining table, Ian turned in his chair and removed his reading glasses.

"Elijah. Go to the dentist!" he barked. He squinted coldly at the boy who was once more lying deathly pale on the settee, his feet twitching. For two long days he had been counselling Elijah to seek help for his toothache, but to no avail. He had rung Sean Astin and advised him that their young co-star would be missing on-set if he didn't get himself sorted out. Worse even than the prospect of that, was the fact that Elijah was irritating Ian to within an inch of his life. He had started out sympathetic and comforting and had even applied oil of cloves to the offending canine but enough was enough!

Sean had jumped in his car and been there within half an hour, all plans for a much-deserved weekend away with his wife and daughter put on hold until he'd seen Elijah and decided, jointly with Ian, a plan of action. But not even Sean's cajoling and threats to ring Fran, nor his dire warnings that an untreated toothache could lead to impotency in later life, his admonishment that untreated toothache made the mouth stinky and unattractive, his appealing to Elijah's sense of professionalism made a difference. Elijah was, Sean and Ian declared, the most stubborn little fucker either of them had ever encountered and he had only himself to blame for the impending agony and misery and general loneliness. Sean had driven off, a rare failure where Elijah's well being was concerned, a heavy weight about his shoulders.

And why had Elijah had decided to share his pain with Ian? Well, Ian had mistakenly invited Elijah to spend the precious long weekend with him, seeing as Dom was off on some jaunt with Orlando, Viggo and Bean. And Billy had a date.

So, as a consequence of his generosity, Ian had the dubious pleasure of Elijah's company for at least another eighteen hours.

"Go to the dentist," he said again, imperiously, gamely ignoring the fact that Elijah looked rather fetching, writhing around on his sofa.

"No. It'll go away. It always does," the fetching one moaned, turning onto his side and clutching one of Ian's cushions to his face. Then a muffled, "I'll take some more Advil."

"You said that yesterday. And you've taken at least six Advil today and it's only one in the afternoon. Elijah, this will not do. I don't understand; you have very good teeth and obviously take care of them!"

There was no reply, just more snuffling and heavy breathing into the cushion. Ian sighed and went into the kitchen to see to lunch. He had just broken an egg into a bowl and was contemplating whether to use mushrooms in the omelette or bacon, or both, when he saw a most welcome sight through the kitchen window.

"Billy!" he said, smiling broadly and opening the door for his friend. "What a lovely surprise! Do come in, come in!" If Billy was a little surprised at such an effusive welcome, he brushed it aside and allowed Ian to whisk off his jacket and fuss around him for a bit. "I thought you were off on a romantic weekend with Glory," Ian said, leading Billy into the lounge.

"Ah, well, things didn't turn out quite as expected," Billy replied, taking a seat on the couch next to Elijah's prone form, to accomplish which he had to lift Elijah's legs up and dump them unceremoniously to the floor. Elijah gave him a pathetic look.

"Oh? Go on, but first -- are you joining us for lunch? Omelette and oven chips," Ian said, hovering half in and half out of the room.

Billy nodded and grinned. "Omelette and oven chips sounds like a feast to me, bring it on! As for Glory -- well, turns out she had some unfinished business with an ex."

Elijah sat up, wincing but brave. He put his arm consolingly about Billy's shoulder and squeezed. "Oh, mate," he said, comfortingly.

Billy looked at him and laughed. "It's okay! The ex turned out to be a decent fella, big Maori chap, built like Sala! He'd been off working in Oz. Soon as he walked into the pub I knew it was over for Glory and me. A fella can't compete with something like that, you know."

Ian and Elijah made appropriate clucking noises and Ian went off to find beer for the boys and a bottle of something tasteful for himself.

"Size isn't everything, as they say," Elijah opined. Billy, bemused, nodded for want of anything else to do and then sighed. "I mean," Elijah continued, earnestly, "you talk as if girls only want Supermen and I don't think that's necessarily true."

Billy pondered on this for a short space, then laughed. "It's all right, 'Lijah. I know you're trying to make me feel better but really, it's okay. I liked her but I'm not cut up about losing her. Tell you the truth," and here Billy leaned in and lowered his voice confidentially, "I was more impressed by her fella, if you get my drift."

Having imparted this startling news, Billy leaned back in the sofa and wriggled out of his shoes. Elijah stared at him, open-mouthed, which unfortunately let cold air in and onto his troublesome tooth. He let out a pitiful cry and his hand went automatically to his tender cheek.

"You haven't been to the dentist yet?" Billy asked, incredulous. "Why the hell not?"

Elijah popped a pill in his mouth and washed it down with a chug of beer. He rubbed at his cheek woefully. "I hate the dentist," he said quietly.

"Everyone does. It's an occupational hazard -- they teach them in dental school that they will be hated and abhorred by the populace, feared and loathed only slightly less than politicians, journalists and Steven Seagal. No reason for you not to go and get that tooth seen to, though, 'Lijah."

Out in the kitchen, Ian was busy slicing up mushrooms and beating eggs, pausing every now and again to take a sip of the local wine he liked so much. He wondered if Billy was managing to talk Elijah into a visit to the dentist, and whether he could prevail upon the Scot to take Elijah home with him, Elijah and his tiresome tooth.

"I have a very good dentist now, in LA, but the thought of going to anyone else -- scares the shit out of me," Elijah confessed, sheepishly. He picked up the beer can and was about to take another mouthful when Billy abruptly took the can from him and placed it firmly back down on the table.

"You shouldn't be taking painkillers with alcohol. I'm going to ring Fran and get her to make you an emergency appointment for Monday. I'll go with you."

Ian, in the doorway, glass in hand, snorted. "Good luck with that! I've offered to go with him. Sean has offered to go with him." He gave Elijah another disparaging glare and returned to his culinary duties. Billy and Elijah listened to him rattle pans for a moment or two, then smiled.

"He's been so good to me," Elijah said, making himself comfortable on the couch again, one foot resting lightly on Billy's thigh. "But I think his patience is wearing a little thin. Not that I can blame -- oh god! God! Godogod..."

Elijah sat up, pulling his knees up to his chest and groaning loudly.

"Tell him if he doesn't go to the dentist, I will extract the fucking tooth myself, with a pair of pliers and a rusty razorblade!" Ian yelled from the kitchen

"Which tooth is it?" Billy wanted to know. He manoeuvred himself on the sofa, firmly pressing Elijah's knees back down and pulling Elijah's hand away from his mouth. He was a little surprised to see real tears shining in his friend's eyes, giving to them a hazy corona akin to the lavatory cleaner his sister used at home, gunky blue and merciless on germs.

Gently he cupped Elijah's face, placing a finger to Elijah's mouth. There was resistance, then Elijah's lips parted and he allowed Billy to probe; Elijah using his tongue to signal the approximate location of the pain. Billy turned Elijah's head to face the light streaming in through the window, and peered into Elijah's mouth. "The gum looks sore, mate, but I think that's because you're playing with it with your tongue, won't leave it be. As for the tooth, well can't see anything but didn't really expect to."

Ian dropped something in the kitchen. It was a loud something, something that rolled and clattered across the tiled floor. Ian cursed loudly and then there was silence. Billy realised with a start that he was still holding Elijah's heated face; Elijah blinked back a tear and somewhere a decade ago in Glasgow, the lavatory flushed and the moment had passed...

"Sorry. I'm being a cunt, I know. I will make the appointment, or at least get Fran to. I can't go on like this," Elijah said, slumping back into the sofa.

"Lunch is served!" Ian announced, bearing two plates of omelette and oven chips, a sorry looking garnish on the side. Billy and Elijah drew chairs at the table and sat down, Ian rejoining them a moment later with his own plate. "Tuck in!" he declared, smiling broadly. "It's mostly perfectly edible."

They ate, Ian and Billy shovelling down their food with gusto. Ian began to tell them about the article he'd been reading about the Treaty of Waikato, Billy asking him an occasional pertinent question. Elijah, however, picked at his lunch and grimaced every time he took a bite.

Billy, about to take a swig of his beer, caught the look on Elijah's face and returned the can to the table. If Elijah couldn't drink, then it would be plain mean for him to do so, he reasoned. Ian, who had been nurse-maiding for considerably longer, had no such qualms and took a good swig of his wine.

"I'll wash up, Ian. You sit down and read your magazine," Billy said, when lunch was over. "'Lijah, you can help me. You've got a poorly tooth but your hands and legs are still in good working order."

Outside, the sun was shining; it was another lovely day, no sign of rain and everything green. Billy ran hot water into the sink and Elijah scraped off the plates; he'd hardly touched his own food and it went slithering into the bin with an eggy plop. "You meant it?" he asked, placing the plates in the sink. Billy looked at him questioningly. "About coming with me?"

"Course I did! Dom and the others will be back by then, though; if you don't want Ian or Sean to go with you, would you prefer one of them?"

Elijah shook his head. "Would you prefer I asked one of them?" he said, quietly. "I can. I won't hold you to anything."

Billy, his hands immersed in hot soapy water, smiled reassuringly. "No, I want to go with you, Lijah. I just didn't want to muscle in on anything, you know... you and Viggo..."

"Me and Viggo? What do you mean by that?" Elijah wanted to know. He picked up a tea towel and began to dry the plates. "Me and Viggo?"

"It's just that... well, people kind of assumed that you and he were, well, together."

"Elijah and Viggo? Together? You mean I've been wasting my whole fucking weekend playing Florence Nightingale to this little shit and he's fucking the bloody Great Dane?" Ian bellowed from the living room. "Tell Viggo to rub in your oil of cloves next time!"

Billy looked at Elijah and Elijah looked at Billy. Then they both laughed. "He's kidding. He's not interested in me. If I had to lay money on it, I'd say he's got the hots for..." and here, Elijah whispered in Billy's ear. Billy's eyes went very wide and he nearly dropped the plate he was holding.

"No!" he exclaimed. Elijah nodded smugly and carried on drying.

"So, you and Viggo. You're not involved?" Billy said, casually. Elijah stiffened a little and leant against the counter top. "No," he said, firmly. "Never have been. I know how this rumour started. We were drunk, we had a sloppy kiss outside the pub, someone saw... God! Can't two mates share an intimate moment without someone jumping to conclusions? It's perfectly possible for two men to be friends and demonstrate that friendship in a, in a physical manner, once in a while, without it meaning they're shagging!" Now Elijah was wound up and Billy was glad the washing-up was done with or Ian would be short of a few pieces of crockery.

"Hey, okay! No offence! I understand, mate," Billy said quickly, then added, "But then again -- no, I don't."

"What don't you understand? That two men can share a moment's affection that just happens to involve lips, and that they're still just mates? That's kind of backward of you." Elijah pushed abruptly away from the counter and went to join Ian, Billy following.

"But kissing implies sexual attraction, feelings...", Billy persisted. Elijah had retrieved his cigarettes from the table and he pressed past Billy, through the kitchen and outside. Billy looked at Ian and Ian looked at Billy.

"Don't ask me. I'm queer," Ian said quickly, turning his full attention once more to his magazine.

Billy followed Elijah outside. Elijah was standing by the fence, one arm crossed and hugging himself, the other holding his cigarette. He smiled apologetically at Billy and rolled his eyes. "Sorry," he said, beckoning him over. "I just get sick of having to explain stuff, and I thought you'd understand."

Elijah puffed on his cigarette for a few moments. Someone somewhere was cutting their lawn; a radio was playing samba music; over the fences, white sheets fluttered on an endless vista of washing lines, flapping in the breeze.

"Anyway, it's all - oh fucking god almighty!" Elijah began and ended, letting the cigarette fall to the earth. "Tell Ian to get those fucking pliers -- now!"

Billy felt a wave of compassion wash over him; Elijah's face was crumpled, his brows working overtime and his eyes squeezed shut. This couldn't go on. It just couldn't go on.

The lawnmower shut off but the samba music went on and on. Billy didn't much like Samba and he was pretty sure Elijah had never mentioned it in one of his endless lectures about what was good, bad and radical in music. Yet it would forever afterwards be their subliminal soundtrack. Billy moved closer; he reached out his hand and cupped Elijah's face, turning it gently. Elijah's eyes opened. Billy caressed Elijah's jaw lightly, carefully, letting his fingers move along the lines of his face and up, until his fingertip touched Elijah's bottom lip. If Elijah harboured any lingering belief that this was another examination, it was eliminated when Billy leaned in and replaced his finger with his mouth. They stood against Ian's fence in the late afternoon sunshine, mouths pressed together, bodies very still, eyes wide open and staring, as if by blinking, the moment would pass and forever be lost.

Billy moved his hand from Elijah's face, down to his waist and pressed a little closer. And now he closed his eyes; it was just too intimate, to gaze into Elijah's eyes while they touched mouths this way, to see him as he kissed him. Kissing. He was kissing Elijah. He felt Elijah move, as if awakening to the moment, felt him moulding himself to Billy's body, his hand joining Billy's on Elijah's waist, touching fingers.

Still the kiss was dry and tenuous, a mere pressing of lips. That ended when Elijah opened his mouth and Billy's tongue fell in. Tongues. Billy had kissed many, many girls -- and one or two blokes; . Elijah was similar but different. Different, but good. Good, but scary. Scary but... He stopped analysing, became a mouth and tongue existing only to move against this other mouth and tongue. He felt Elijah's muffled moan, tasted cloves and wasn't sure if it was those damned cigarettes or the oil on Elijah's tooth, didn't care either way. His fingers bundled with Elijah's and the Samba played on.

In the kitchen, Ian watched, a bittersweet smile upon his lips. The two young men in his garden made a delightful couple, perfectly matched and very pretty. He did wonder if they realised how exposed they were out there; whether he ought to go out and explain there was a perfectly good guest bedroom for that sort of thing. He wondered what they tasted like, Billy and Elijah. He surmised they tasted rather good.

"Is that how you kissed Viggo?" Billy said, breaking the kiss to take a breath. He pulled Elijah away from the fence, towards the house, his thoughts echoing those of Ian with regard to propriety. Elijah, flushed, considered this for a moment and shook his head. "No. Told you: Viggo and I are friends."

"So what are we?" Billy asked, as they reached the door.

"We're going to the dentist tomorrow, is what we are," Elijah replied, winking.

The End


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