Disclaimer: Please don't sue. I don't own *insert fandom name from above*... All I own is an overactive imagination.
Summary: Bill can be predictable, but sometimes, he's surprisingly sneaky. Fluff.
Pairing(s): Bill/Byron (ie Dollar Bill/Mothman)
Word Count: 1,675
A/N: I knew I needed a non-POTO fic for the Twelve Days of Christmas Project (see blog or profile) and I, of course, defaulted to my next favorite underappreciated pairing.
Story note: I always imagine Byron as the one who's actually more forward about such things as homosexuality. I mean, in my mind, Bill's kind of clueless.
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt
The bell clanged overhead as Bill opened the door, waiting for Byron to exit first.
Furtively, Byron glanced back at their table one last time before leaving the diner. He headed down the street with a grim smile, his pace slow until Bill caught up.
Patrol hadn't been particularly difficult. There had been more running than Byron was comfortable with, considering his costume was better suited for gliding than sprinting or making sharp turns around blind corners. He'd embarrassed himself on several occasions just this afternoon, and Bill hadn't helped much with his concentration either. Byron could blame at least one of those collisions to being distracted by his partner, and while blaming Dollar Bill usually was impossible considering just how good-natured and wholesome the bigger man was, Byron knew he had found just cause this time.
While he was content to walk in comfortable silence with his partner, he knew that this was his opportunity. So, Byron began the dialogue he'd prepared earlier that morning. "I'm glad we finally settled on splitting the bill when we eat dinner," he said conversationally, giving Bill a sideways glance to see his reaction. Only because he was looking for it did he notice the slight falter in Bill's step or the fact that his smile became a little forced.
"Yeah," Bill purposefully kept his gaze forward and let the topic drop.
His suspicions further confirmed, Byron knew all he had to do now was bide his time. He took them down a new route, and Bill's lack of comment encouraged him to continue with his plan.
It wasn't until they'd walked several more blocks and Bill had relaxed did he break the silence again. "Oh," he said as though he just remembered something exciting, "remember earlier this week when I found that money in my locker?"
Bill nodded, responding almost hastily, "The one we decided you'd probably simply forgotten about?"
"Yes," Byron was barely able to control himself from rolling his eyes. He couldn't believe he'd actually agreed to that conclusion. He blamed it on the fact that this was Dollar Bill – and Bill was simply too unguarded and sincere to lie about something like that. "Guess what?"
"I found more money in my desk drawer just this morning."
At least this time, his partner actually met his eyes even if it was with a poor attempt at surprise. "Oh, you surely keep a lot of money lying around."
Byron laughed along with Bill's obviously forced chuckle, chiding himself again for ever falling for any of his poor efforts at deception. He looked up and down the street, pleased to note that no one was presently around. He knew that could change at any moment, but for the time being, this would do.
Before Bill could react, Byron grabbed his arm and swung him towards the nearest building. Bill let out a surprised yelp when his back collided with the brick wall, but he was immediately searching the area for possible danger. They were in their civilian clothing, but one never knew when a villain might discover their secret identities. However, there was nothing there and Byron was suddenly leaning completely on him, pinning him against the wall. The idea of struggling didn't even cross Bill's mind.
"What?" He started, but lost his voice when Byron shoved his free hand into Bill's jean pocket. Unadulterated panic filled Bill at that moment and he bucked hard trying to get Byron as far away from him as possible, but he wasn't Mothman without good reason. Bill might have managed to free his hands, but Byron was still pressed against him and more importantly, his hand was still in his pocket.
It was only when he succeeded and Byron's hand was successfully nowhere near his groin did Bill even begin to breathe again. However, when that same hand was thrust towards his face, he frowned, realizing what Byron had been after. Yet, even when he was able to focus on the money held in front of him and the impending argument that was sure to follow, he couldn't stifle the arousal he'd felt at Byron's searching hand and his continued nearness. He shifted uncomfortably, especially since Byron, though not restraining him any longer, was still leaning heavily on him as though he expected him to bolt at any second.
"You know," Byron stated accusingly, "the first few times I'd thought it was simply luck or forgetfulness. But after," he raised his voice, "I don't know, the fourth time, I started to see a pattern."
At the pleading tone in his voice, he paused.
"Do you mind?" Bill indicated the distance, or rather lack of distance between them, and Byron hastily stepped several feet back, further than was strictly necessary since they were now taking up the entire sidewalk. When he finally had some space, Bill let out a breath of relief and straightened his clothing. He knew he was only buying himself time, and when he finally hazarded looking up, he rather expected Byron to be glaring at him and continue yelling.
However, Byron was staring at the money in his hands, a slight blush coloring his cheeks. Derailed from his self-righteous tirade, he seemed to come to his senses about how his plan to catch Bill red-handed in taking his money and paying for their dinners himself may have been flawed. He cleared his throat and tried to think of something to say. He simply didn't know what. Ultimately, he was glad that he'd forced Bill to acknowledge what he'd been doing; there might've simply been better ways to go about doing so.
Seeing Byron's dejected form, Bill offered rather lamely. "Sorry?"
Byron ran a hand through his hair and glared at him halfheartedly. "God," he sighed, "If I'm not paying, instead of an outing between friends, it's more like… a date."
Bill looked away guiltily and seeing his expression, Byron stared at him in open shock.
He thought back to their last few out of costume encounters. He had to admit that he spent most of his time with Bill, but he'd only thought that was natural since they were usually partnered together. After all, Bill waiting for him after a patrol was something partners do; Byron would have waited for him if only those buckles didn't take so long to undo. Then again, Bill always seemed to invite him out and insisted on walking him home every night whether or not they'd eaten or patrolled together.
He hadn't thought… Well, of course he had thought of Bill that way, but All-American Mid-West Bill would never date him. He could feel his face heat up in realization: but, they had been dating. Bill didn't simply invite him to dinner; they shared drinks, food. In fact, they had just shared a milkshake at the diner, although that had only been because Bill hadn't thought he'd be able to finish one himself. Byron covered his face with his hands. Bill opened doors for him and almost always pulled out his chair for him. He had simply passed it off as Bill being… Bill, the overly-proper gentleman.
Through the spaces between his fingers, Byron glanced at him before having to look away again. Of all the people. He couldn't believe it. Bill had been the one to make the first move; he'd made a move at all.
Dropping his hands, he tried to collect his thoughts; he knew he'd have to say something. "You w-w-weren't…" Stopping himself, he knew the next few words would not get any better. He wanted to ask several things, mostly how long Bill had intended on dating him without his knowledge, but it was apparent that was not going to happen any time soon.
Bill tugged him towards an alley when a couple walking by gave them an odd look. Once out of the open, he shrugged in a way that made Byron almost immediately forgive him for his deception.
"At first, I just wanted to make sure you were," Bill worried his bottom lip with his teeth before finding the right words, "keen on the idea." That hadn't been how Byron thought he'd end that sentence, but he was continuing, "And then, I sort of suspected that you realized I was asking you out, but…" He motioned vaguely, "… and I just didn't know how to say the words."
That was completely reasonable and braver than Byron had been about his feelings for him. So, he settled for admitting, "I-I di-didn't know." When he clenched his fists in frustration, Bill only smiled at him encouragingly, but the stutter didn't matter when he didn't know what else to say.
When Bill realized this, he tugged Byron closer and asked tentatively, suddenly nervous. "Do you hate me?"
Byron shook his head. He didn't think there was anything Bill could do that would make Byron hate him. Not when the man was simply perfect.
"Do you…" Byron could actually see a light blush working its way onto Bill's cheeks. "…like me?"
Byron slowly nodded. "Y-yes."
Looking relieved, Bill intertwined their fingers and squeezed them before letting out a breathy laugh. He moved closer and pressed their foreheads together. Byron tilted his head up to kiss him but instead, Bill, his eyes closed and just out of his reach, teased, "Then it's alright it took you so long to realize."
Byron leaned forward again, his lips were so close, but Bill took a step back and released his hand. He inclined his head towards the street with a smile. "I'll walk you to your house?"
Nodding slightly, Byron waited until Bill wasn't looking to let out an exasperated sigh. He grinned to himself. Now, that was the Bill he knew. The man certainly wouldn't kiss him in an alleyway after just their sixth date. He suspected that was something more of a 'going steady' situation.
Walking side by side, he bumped their shoulders together and wondered if he'd get a goodnight kiss just outside his door tonight.
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Fic Review: Byron got all hero-y and manhandled Bill. :D That utterly made my day. And, I'm a firm believer in the stutter.