title: Running While You Sleep
Original Story: Sundance Farewell by Ripsgirl
Pairing: Billy/Elijah, Billy/Dom
SUMMARY: A moment can change everything -- sometimes.
Disclaimer: The author makes no claims or inferences to reality or truthfulness. Moreover, this story is based upon the work of another author and recognises their creation.
So I'm running
I'm running while you sleep
I'm running while you sleep, I don't think I can keep
This in any longer but maybe it's time that we both
That we're out of range
And we're too far too change the way we feel
So let's say now before it's too late
When it's over we'll start again
-- World Without Sundays
The frigid Utah air hit Billy like a freight train as he stepped out of the bar and he cursed, pulling inward like a turtle in the ball-shriveling cold. He shoved his hands farther into his pockets and listened to Elijah coming out behind him and reacting in much the same way, albeit with more gratuitous use of the word cunt.
"I reckon that's quite a wake-up call, then," Billy said. The faint traces of a particular warmth -- that of the close press of bodies, of hot stage-lights and the fervent buzz of beer and laughter -- still clung to his skin, but they were vanishing rapidly in the deserted street.
Beside him, Elijah stood on the snow-encrusted sidewalk, fumbling in his coat pockets for a cigarette. The street light above them painted the dark a chill white-blue and washed Elijah's face out into hollow shadows.
"Yeah, but it's a dry cold," Elijah said as he finally managed to extract a black clove and light it, sending a thick cloud of bittersweet smoke Billy's way.
"Isn't that what they say about heat? Besides, it's a load of shite."
And it was a load of shite -- for all that Park City was infinitely less soggy than Glasgow, it was still a bloody long way from warm, and Billy shivered. It's a three a.m. cold, he thought, dark night of the soul and all that.
Before they'd been reminded (politely but firmly) that the bar was now closed, Elijah had made a pitch for continuing the evening (morning, actually) at Denny's. Though Billy was rather tired, the notion of hash browns and bacon had been an intriguing one, and Elijah had been insistent.
Now, however, Billy thought he'd prefer to skip the food and crawl straight into a nice, warm bed.
"Think I'm going to call it a night. Got a plane to catch in seven hours."
Elijah looked at him, took another deep drag from his clove. If he was disappointed, he hid it well. "I'll walk back with you. Freezing my balls off has kind of killed the mood a bit."
A flicker of guilt caught at Billy. The weekend was flying by, and he knew it might be a dog's age before he saw Elijah again. He reached out and pulled Elijah into a quick hug.
"I'll email you next week when I get home, yeah?"
For just a second Billy could smell Elijah's familiar scent, clean cotton overlaid with tobacco and spice, and then Elijah was squirming away from him.
"I hear you, Mr. Forgetful. I hear you," Elijah said, and Billy had no answer for that, so they turned for the hotel.
Above them the Utah sky vaulted winter-black, pegged here and there with chipped diamond stars. A dog barked in the distance, but the only other sound as they walked past shuttered storefronts was the crunch of their feet in the snow.
Billy let his thoughts drift, and in the tired haze of his mind they slid right past Elijah to Dom, suspended sleepless and anticipatory somewhere over the Pacific right now.
"God, it's fucking cold," Elijah said rather redundantly, breaking the silence and pulling Billy back to the dark street.
"Never mind -- you'll be back in SoCal by this time tomorrow."
Elijah gave an almost imperceptible snort and then fell silent again. Up ahead, Billy could see the intersection of Stein Way and Royal Street -- almost home.
After a moment Elijah tossed the half-finished clove down and ground it into the snow. "Dedicated of Dom to go all that way for such a short time."
Took you long enough to say it, Billy thought. He was used to getting ribbed about Dom, particularly from Elijah.
"I'd do the same thing for him, you know," Billy said, and thought again of Dom, tucking an airline blanket up under his chin the way he always did.
The hotel lobby was as blissfully warm as Billy had imagined, and he leaned gratefully against the polished brass wall of the elevator as they rode it up to their floor. Elijah looked at him, was reflected tripartite in the burnished glow.
"So. You and Dom in a suite in the Stein Eriksen for twenty-four hours." The grin struck Billy as stretched too tight, a carnival leer shimmering in the funhouse mirrors. "You're gonna fuck the place down, aren't you?"
Billy pushed away the thought that Elijah was acting just a bit off, his voice brittle around the edges, and his face split into a huge grin.
Can't wait, Billy thought. A vision of Dom popped into his head, face down on the immense white field of the comforter, waiting, the dip at the small of his back sheened with sweat, trembling--
The bell chimed their floor, startling Billy out of his reverie, and the doors slid seamlessly open.
"After you," Billy said with an expansive wave of his hand.
"No, no, age before beauty."
"Can't argue with that," Billy replied, but although he stepped out of the elevator first, he quickly found himself following Elijah, who walked with his usual kinetic speed.
Elijah's room was first, and Billy stopped while Elijah fumbled with his key card. He intended to give Elijah a last quick hug and be done with it, but once Elijah got the door open he dragged Billy inside with him.
The room wasn't completely dark -- Elijah had left the bedside light on the lowest setting, revealing the comforter turned neatly down and a glint of foil on the pillow, and Billy could see the corner of Elijah's mouth turn up.
Billy frowned, the first stirs of uneasiness beginning in his gut. "What the fuck?"
"Wanna say goodbye properly," Elijah said, and at properly the hairs on the back of Billy's neck stood up.
Then Elijah was closing the small distance between them, sliding his arms around Billy, beneath the jacket, intimate.
"I'll see you Monday, you tosser. God, that's actually tomorrow, since it's now Sunday morning."
He returned Elijah's embrace, felt the solid warmth of Elijah's frame tucked snugly in his arms.
"Yeah, but you won't give a shit about me, you'll be all sad over Dom leaving."
The edge was back in Elijah's voice. Billy sighed and closed his eyes.
"Elijah. Thank you for coming this weekend. It meant a lot."
"God, you're so welcome. It's been fucking brilliant."
Elijah kissed Billy on the cheek and then on the lips, soft brush that was over almost before it began. He rested his forehead against Billy's, and Billy was struck all over again by the measureless blue of Elijah's eyes.
The thing about being snowblind was that you didn't realize it before it was too late -- one minute you were looking at a seductive eiderdown landscape and the next your retinas were burned clear through.
Staring at Elijah now, up close and out of focus, Billy felt he'd gone snowblind.
Then Elijah kissed Billy again, lingering this time, and when Elijah slid his tongue into Billy's mouth, Billy kissed him back.
I shouldn't, Billy thought, but Elijah's lips were warm, and shouldn't dissolved in a moment of curiosity. All those drunken nights in New Zealand, he'd never kissed Elijah.
But he was kissing him now, Elijah tasting of cloves and beer, moving slowly into this strange new territory. Billy felt the hard bulge of Elijah's cock against his thigh, and he wrapped his hand around Elijah's neck, felt the velvet softness of the nape under his palm.
The kiss remained tentative, like singing, like the sharp intake of breath down deep into waiting lungs, alveoli blossoming into damp-dark flowers, a million worlds of potential just waiting to be born -- what followed could be a scream, a clear tenor aria, or the falling susurration of dying sound, a dream cut short in a subverted exhale.
Billy waited, and the worlds shimmered in a split-second that lasted for eternity, but he saw that the axes they spun on revolved in the selfsame sky, a sky more grey than blue.
He pulled away from Elijah, put his finger on Elijah's lips before Elijah could say anything -- before he could make this any harder or more complicated than it had already become.
"Let's call that goodnight, eh?" he whispered into the shell of Elijah's ear. "I'll see you on Monday afternoon."
When Billy stepped away Elijah made no move to stop him. The last thing Billy saw as he left the room was Elijah, standing still and expressionless.
Beneath their feet, the world turned quietly on.