Disclaimer: If NT were mine, the world might explode from sheer shock. Looks like we're still here. Cool beans.

The first time "it" happened, they were wasted out of their minds—literally, it seemed, because nothing made sense. An out-of-body experience as twisted as they come, the alcohol swirling around in their ears, whispering insanity as though it were the most logical language, that was the "it."

They tried not to mention the actual events.

The actual bits and pieces of reality that fused together in that one closet that one night that one time they both decided to throw caution into the shredder, because the wind wasn't strong enough—it wasn't tough enough for this. This, this was the stuff dreams and disasters called a genesis.

They tried not to remember, tried to pretend they blacked-out, that they never had to talk about "it" again.

"It."

They almost always felt the quotation marks suffocating the tiny, helpless word, even when those surrounding them just brushed this palpable choking off as nonsense without even realizing. "It" wove through their lives until they mostly communicated by awkward gazes when they both simply knew the memories were flashing through each others' heads. And when they knew that, it was far too difficult not to—

To what? Repeat? They couldn't place the bright sensation that bubbled raucously at these moments; but they had to attribute this to something—

"It."

"It" was the clumsy staggering, trying not to dislodge the expensive ornaments on the walls; the lazy grins and innuendo playfully tossed about, like any other night, like this shit show was normal; casual, absent groping that forced anything else into an utter oblivion, into another realm completely.

Somewhere back with the action, a faded chorus of "I am the Walrus" was reaching its full crescendo—and all they did was stare, hands gripping unfamiliar territory, until, until, until…

The song ended, the bubble burst, and their mouths were on the attack.

As always with them, "it" didn't move slowly—"it" was needy and lonely and god knows what else, but "it" drove them to the brink and left them teetering on the edge of someplace unreal.

Teeth clashed against teeth, faces welded together and fingers clutched furiously at the roots of ruffled hair; glasses knocked themselves askew of their own accord (or was it their hands' fierce caresses?) and walls met backs and noises neither of them knew the other made danced in the air around their heads, a music all its own to their drunken ears.

Stumbling into a closet, they pulled the door shut and who cared how loud it slammed? Nothing else could have possibly mattered when their own shaky grips were shedding jackets and yanking the other's face back to meet his own. In their haste, they tried to push the words down their throats but so much was lost in translation—

"You're so fucking beautiful, Riley," a voice breathed amid the coats. "I can't believe how long I've wanted to tell you that."

"Probably since you had that third glass of punch"—another stolen from the space between their lips. "But I don't care."

But, at the moment so incredibly long from then, Riley cares more than he thought he should.

You're so fucking beautiful Riley.

Every time, every single time that floats past his thoughts, he can't help but get a little unhinged. Heart fluttering, blush rising to his ears, eyes focusing on nothing that's there—and the fact that this is something that Ben said that makes it this much better; that Riley could get so turned on by the five simplest yet most potent words in existence just exacerbates the issue. A cycle of shaky concentration and distracting fantasies.

Especially now.

"Look at this map, Riley," Ben's saying, and no, Riley cannot look. "Real calligraphy in the key here. It's beautiful, isn't it?"

He wants to say: So are you.

He wants to say: Kiss me, dammit.

He says, more like sighs: "Sure."

And, probably without thinking, he stands and walks beside him—an everyday action, coupled with another sigh and a bored tone, and how he managed that no one can ever be sure—

"You're so fucking beautiful, Ben." A pause. A beat followed by an odd glance, a silent questioning of motives, a raised eyebrow that too clearly screams a what did you just say and why are you referring to what I think you're referring to and why am I not more worried about this? "I can't believe how long I've wanted to tell you that."

And maybe that's all it really takes to break the truth out in the open, because suddenly, their lips find each other again, but softly this time around, and within seconds Riley finds himself pressed into the silky sofa cushions, Ben climbing on top of him and running a small line of kisses along his jawbone. As quickly as their breathing hastens does the confusion begin to simmer, just below the surface, but they don't want to bother.

"Probably since—" Ben stops himself. "Show me how long."

He can feel Riley smiling into his face. "And away we go."