It's late. Friday, Gideon thinks, but he isn't sure, and he doesn't really care. The offices have emptied out, and he's finally finished paperwork and dull procrastination when he feels a presence, slowly looks up.
Reid's standing in the doorway. Gideon checks the clock, almost reels at the soft imprint of the numbers, the glow. 2:15. Reid's as still as a statue, immobilised by something Gideon doesn't understand. Can't predict. Reid waits a few uncomfortable minutes for Gideon to awknowledge him, but Gideon can't. Doesn't know why, but feels the presence of whatever's plaguing Reid, feels it seeping under his skin.
Gideon looks up slowly, takes in the pinched expression, the lines of worry on Reid's face. He's too young for such lines. Too pretty, beautiful even. Gideon wants to fie him, keep him safe, never see him again and kill the strange emotions threatening to overtake him every time he looks into Reid's eyes, sees the clear distress warring with quiet intelligence. Protective impulses, but it's more than that. Less safe.
"Is everything all right, Reid?"
Reid nods, but then seems to change his mind, looking down with his hands shoved uncomfortably deep into his pockets. Gideon idly wonders why he didn't notice where Reid's hands were. Thinks he might have been focusing on Reid's face, illuminated only by the desk lamp at Gideon's elbow. Reid's hair falls across his face, and Gideon is almost moved.
"I can't go home. It's illogical, but I can't and..."
Reid trails off, looks unspeakably lost. Gideon doesn't understand, but he feels the need to comfort, to wipe away the confusion and the furrow between Reid's brows. He turns off his desk light, looks through the darkness and finds Reid exactly where he was. Where he will continue to be.
"Well, I'm heading home. If you want, I have a couch and spare sets of clothing that probably won't fit you."
Gideon can't see Reid's reaction. He reminds himself that it's better this way, forcing distance any way he can. Reid clears his throat, and it's deeper than it would be in the light of day. More important. Just more.
"I'd like that."
Reid's voice is shy, and Gideon wants to tell him that it isn't a date, that he shouldn't take it so seriously. He wants to take it back, go home and stare at the ceiling and hate himself for being weak. Doesn't want Reid a few rooms away, reminding him of everyt mistake he's ever made. He doesn't want to make another. But he stands anyway, grabs his bag, takes the few steps needed to bring him to Reid, to land them eye to eye, or almost.
This close, Gideon can almost hear Reid's pulse pounding in his own ears. This close, he almost wants to. Hates himself, but wants to.
Reid understands, takes a halting step forward until their chests are nearly brushing. Gideon needs to get away from this, needs to get far away or much closer, but he isn't sure which option would cost him more. When Gideon speaks, his voice is gruff with things he's afraid to say.
"C'mon, we'll take my car."
Reid nods, and Gideon's relieved to note that Reid's face is too deeply cast in shadow to retain its awkward beauty. To remind him. Gideon wants to sleep, but more than that, he wants to understand this. To know what's coming. To prepare. He idn't ready, but he marches bravely forward, and he lets the time arrive. Behind him, Reid's footsteps are an echo. The night slips by.
Gideon's standing at his front door with his keys in his right hand when he realizes that he's never been so undecided about anything as he is about what's right in front of him. Which technically is the front door, but more specifically is Reid, hovering over his shoulder, hands shoved in his pockets. Gideon wonders if that's a nervous habit. Figures it probably is.
He fumbles with the keys, fights sweaty palms and exhaustion to unlock the door, steps out of the way to let Reid enter. Ladies first, but that isn't funny. He's so tired. Gideon follows Reid inside, and when he shuts the door he feels something inside him close. Reid's smile is tentative. Gideon doesn't remember how to smile.
Gideon turns on the hall light just to distance himself from the situation. To look at Reid and see a vaguely pretty young man, someone he can respect and trust. In the dark Reid is more than human. With the lights on, Reid's pupils are small, his lips are parted. Gideon doesn't know if he has made the right choice. Doesn't know if he's been making choices at all.
Reid runs his fingers along the wall, a colour titled spice pear or some other ridiculous name for green. He continues to smile. Gideon wonders if Reid has been making the choices all along. Doesn't want to think it, but he can't help it, can't help but feel somewhat strung along. But he's just flattering himself, because if it isn't Reid's fault, that means every quiet misstep is his own. Reid looks at Gideon, sees something that makes him stop smiling, makes him take his hand of the wall and push it into his pocket. He looks nervous. The look suits him.
Gideon nods, says nothing, instead walking into his living room. Waits for Reid to follow, and after a moment Reid does, having kicked off his shoes somewhere along the line to pad forward in socked feet. Gideon stares at his couch in single-minded intensity and Reid stands beside him to do the same. Gideon looks up to gauge Reid's face. Sometimes he forgets that Reid's taller than him. So delicate and thin that Gideon thinks he could break him if he tried. Doesn't want to have the chance. Doesn't want Reid to let him.
"I'll get you a pillow and some bedding."
"Thank you for this."
Gideon ducks his head, mutters something that could be 'you're welcome' or 'please don't' or 'I want you'. He walks upstairs as slowly as possible, tries to use the time to collect himself, to somehow change this night into what it should be, a simple favour between co-workers. Between friends. Not this parody of feeling, this slow burn, this string of mistakes all lining up to show him his true self.
And this boy, this beautiful boy who is a child, practically; he's twisting Gideon's world sharply off-track with nothing more than a few quiet words, nothing more than hair falling in his eyes. Socked feet on hard-wood floors. Gideon would call this love, but it's too close to hatred.
He finds sheets in the closet by his upstairs bathroom, goes in for a moment to see his face reflected in the mirror, shadowy and troubled. He turns away, goes into his bedroom for a pillow, finds the one that smells the most like him. A token. Sometimes he wonders if his job is pushing him towards depravity.
When he walks downstairs he listens to his footsteps, the slow thud that seems to mock him. Reid's sitting on the couch, hands folded almost primly in his lap, and Gideon suddenly wants him so badly his hands shake. Reid looks up slowly, and Gideon meets his eyes, taking the last few steps and dropping the pile of bedding beside Reid. Reid doesn't move.
"If you ned anything, I'm upstairs. First door on the left."
Reid nods slowly, takes his eyes away from Gideon to look down at his lap. Gideon takes a deep breath, fights everything he's ever felt, ever dealt with, ever wanted or need, and he turns away.
Gideon's staring at the ceiling, trying to find answers in plaster and paint. A floor beneath him, Reid is probably sleeping. Gideon is wide awake. Every creak and sigh the old house makes puts him on edge. He grits his teeth and counts the reasons why his feelings are unacceptable, but he does not fall asleep.
It's so dark in Gideon's room that he can hardly tell that the celing is white. The blinds are drawn, and Gideon can't remember if there was a moon. He contemplates checking, but he feels like moving would be an unnecessary risk. He wants to fall asleep, needs to, is so goddamn tired. He remains awake.
There's a creak from downstairs. Gideon wonders if he's beginning to imagine things, if he's going senile in his old age. Wonders if he's falling in love. If he's already fallen. He asks the ceiling, but the ceiling has no answers left for him.
Gideon's nearly asleep when he hears the soft pad of footsteps outside his door. He sits up in bed, stares through the dark. The door slips open, and Reid stands in the doorway. Tousled. Half naked. Gideon almost hopes he's imagining things, because he's run out of restraint.
Reid looks embarrassed, his hands lips at his sides. Gideon imagines that if Reid's boxers had pockets, his hands would probably be stuffed inside. Reid clears his throat, and Gideon realizes how intently he must be staring. He looks down at his comforter, smoothes his hands over it.
"I was looking for the bathroom. I couldn't sleep, and..."
Gideon wonders if Reid notices how empty his excuses have become. Wonders if he cares. There's some distance in the darkness, as if this is some story Gideon is hearing second hand. Reid has trailed off into silence, apparently knowing when his words are being ignored, when they add nothing and potentially ruin everything.
"Turn the lights on."
Reid gropes about in the darkness, finds the light switch and flips it, bathing the room in light. They're left squinting at one another, adjusting to the light, and Gideon is reminded again just how young Reid is. Reminded how beautiful he is, sharp angles and pale skin, clavicle and navel and smooth chest. When Gideon speaks, he doesn't even recognize his own voice.
Reid steps forward immediately, taking long strides until he's standing so close that Gideon could touch him if he wanted to. Gideon closes his eyes, and then he does. At first, it doesn't seem worth the turmoil. Reid's clavicle is warm against Gideon's fingertips, skin smooth beneath his hands, but it is nothing more than touch. Gideon's about to pull away, claim temporary insanity and then never speak of this again, but then he feels Reid's pulse pounding against his palms, hears the stutter as Reid tries to speak.
And then it's worth it, worth all of it. The worry and the self-hatred and the confusion, it's all worth it, because Reid is looking at him with a heartbreakingly helpless expression, and Gideon wants to break the boy. Wants to put him back together again.
He runs his hands along Reid's chest, revels in the fear on Reid's face, the need and terror clearly warring for Reid's attention. Reid closes his eyes, accepts his fate, and Gideon, finally free of his own doubts, slips a hand into Reid's boxers. All the doubt, it's all worth it to see Reid's eyes snap open, to see the mixed confusion and surrender.
Gideon doesn't think he's ever seen anything more beautiful in all his life. Reid's mouth is gaping open, and he lets out little panting breaths, almost keening when Gideon brushes his thumb over the head of his cock. Gideon feels a little bit like a child molester, and he's disturbed that he really doesn't much care.
It doesn't take long before Reid's coming into Gideon's hand with a low moan. He looks at Gideon with half-lidded eyes, his awkward shyness seeming to take hold of him again. The light is overwhelming, bleaching the moment into a state of unreality, into some absurdist drama.
Gideon looks down at himself almost as an afterthought. He hasn't, but even so, he's happy with the moment. Reid's looking shell-shocked and debauched, yet somehow still innocent. Gideon doesn't bother with attempts to understand his logic. He's learned to live with it.
"Turn off the lights."
Reid slips off the bed, walks slowly over to the switch on coltish legs, taking shaky, nervous steps. He flips off the light, and in the darkness, everything closes in on Gideon again. Everything feels wrong again. Reid stands in the doorway, uncertain, shifting from foot to foot, and Gideon doesn't know what to say.
For a few moments, there's a stalemate. Reid stands awkwardly in the doorway while Gideon wills his throat to work, catalogues the things he might say. After a while Gideon uncomfortably clears his throat, makes an elaborate gesture that could mean anything. Even Gideon doesn't know what exactly he wants from Reid. Reid looks helplessly confused, but he comes in, crawls under the covers beside Gideon.
Reid's hand slides down Gideon's body, slips nervously into Gideon's pyjama bottoms. Gideon can't muster up the dignity to protest, and instead he just closes his eyes, takes in the feeling of Reid's soft palm, the friction and the oppressive darkness.
Gideon thinks there may be nothing else on earth that can make him happy, because Reid's hand is moving, and he's miserable, completely miserable and he's – coming with a low groan into Reid's perfect, uncalloused hand. And then there's the hatred all over again: the self-loathing for his weakness. Hating Reid for being so easy, crumbling so quickly. Hating Reid for pushing Gideon into doing the same.
Reid goes to the bathroom; Gideon can hear him washing his hands. Gideon closes his eyes, ignores the discomfort of the drying semen in his pajama bottoms, the discomfort of this entire situation, this madcap fantasy gone awry. When Reid returns, Gideon pretends to be asleep, but Reid simply sighs and slips into bed beside him anyway.
Gideon screws his eyes up tight and wishes he was stronger.
Sunlight streams into Gideon's bedroom, rays settling directly upon his face. If he asks himself later, he'll probably decide that that is what woke him, but it isn't. Reid's body shifts closer to him as he wakes slowly, and Gideon's too peaceful and drowsy to move away. He's too content, shining from an orgasm and affection and a good night's sleep.
The clock reads 1:00 PM, but that doesn't really hit Gideon until the identity of the warm body does, and by then he's too busy shaking with horror and fulfilled intention to care about the time.
He tries to slip out of bed without waking Reid, and it almost works, but then Reid's tightening his grip, murmuring sleepily against him. Gideon closes his eyes and apologizes to a God he hardly believes in for crimes he'd been dying to commit. He wonders again why he's not happy, but there's no answer forthcoming. Really, as the situation stands, he should be. But he isn't, and the guilt is nearly staggering.
Reid wakes slowly, stretching out beside Gideon, hands clutching at Gideon's t-shirt. Reid stiffens suddenly, pulling his hands back and opening his eyes. Unexpectedly, he smiles.
Gideon smiles back uncomfortably, tries to say hello, but all he can do is clear his throat nervously and untangle himself from Reid, from his lean, pale body and the overwhelming intensity of his eyes. Gideon thinks he might throw up. Gideon thinks he might kiss the boy.
Gideon is afraid of both of these options, so he holds back, does nothing. He watches Reid sit up, watches the muscles beneath his skin move. He's mesmerized, and he wants to do this again. Wants to do this right. Wants it without guilt and insecurity, but he's not sure he's capable of that.
Gideon sits up, tries to level the playing field a little, and Reid smiles softly and leans in. Gideon realizes what's happening only a moment beforehand, and he doesn't have time to pull back before Reid's lips are against his, slightly chapped but warm like the rest of him.
Gideon feels frozen, incapable of movement or protest or reciprocation. Inside he's going crazy, going over the rules of the workplace, the government's stance on homosexuality, his mother's stance, God's stance, his stance. And then it's on to age differences, and the fact that Reid's scarcely more than a child.
But Reid doesn't feel like a child, feels perfect, almost like he's meant to be in Gideon's arms, so Gideon closes his eyes, and for once, he ignores every single doubt and just savours the moment.