"No. Not Singapore."
"But it's a great story!"
"Arvin, my parents are going to be there. Besides, it's classified."
Jack peers cautiously around the corner, but there's still no sign of their contact. He was meant to be here half an hour ago, and by now even Arvin is starting to worry. Maybe his train is late ... or maybe the Stasi have figured out the identity of their mole.
"Jack, I'm your best man. It's my job to embarrass you in front of your entire family at your wedding reception. Anyway, I'd have thought you'd be more worried about Laura finding out."
"She knows already." Jack, seemingly unconcerned by this security breach, glances out of the ally again.
"Laura knows about Singapore? How did that happen?"
"I told her."
"You told your fiance that story? Even the part with the twenty dollar bill?"
"I tell her lots of things. She thought it was funny."
Arvin shakes his head. Unbelievable. He can't imagine telling a girlfriend - even a fianc - a story like that, even if it did happen before he met her. A man has to have his secrets. Still, he can use this to his advantage. "See, I've always said that she has a good sense of humour. It's funny. I should put it in my speech."
"For the last time -" Jack freezes, mid-sentence, and instantly he's all business, reaching into his jacket for his gun. Arvin does the same. He's learned from experience that Jack's instincts about these things are rarely wrong.
The man who appears in the mouth of the ally brandishing a gun is not Otto Kosterzer, and Arvin doesn't hesitate before shooting squarely him in the chest. It's just barely possible that he's not an East German agent, but innocent bystanders don't usually creep around corners holding weapons.
Without a word, he and Jack break into a run. The man has backup somewhere close, and they need to find it and deal with it before it becomes an issue. If possible, they have to figure out just how much the Stasi know already. This must mean that Kosterzer has been made, captured, interrogated. And that means their op has officially gone to hell.
"If this makes me late for my wedding," Jack says grimly, scanning their surroundings for a likely-looking vehicle, "someone is going to be sorry."
Arvin is pretty sure the agent they left in the ally is sorry already - or would be, if he was in a position to be anything other than dead - but he knows when to keep his mouth shut.
The end result of all of this is that they spend an extra day in Frankfurt, taking care of the diplomatic fallout.
The West Germans are not pleased that Jack and Arvin had an unscheduled shoot out on their turf. The CIA is not pleased that the West Germans found out they were in town. Jack is not pleased that they're going to be delayed, when his bride to be is waiting for him back home. Arvin is just tired of soothing everyone's ruffled feathers - it's not as if any of this is his fault.
Still, now the working day is done. They've got a hotel room that looks out over the river - the only attractive thing in town, as far as he can see - twin beds, and a shower that drips incessantly. Their flight won't leave until tomorrow morning, and Arvin is wondering if there's any entertainment to be found here.
His partner is pacing like a caged animal in front of the window. If Arvin looks past him, he can see people feeding the ducks and swans down near the bridge in the fading summer sunlight. It's been a hot day, and they don't have any air conditioning - he wonders if opening the window would help at all.
"If you're going to keep doing that," Arvin says, putting down the surveillance report that's failing to hold his interest, "we could at least go outside."
"All I want to do is get some sleep."
Arvin could point out that walking up and down is not a traditional way to get to sleep, but that's not the point. "You can't spend the night before your own wedding in bed. It's my sacred duty to take you out and get you drunk."
"No. Given our luck lately, I don't want to take the risk that anything else will go wrong."
"My friend, this is your last night as a free man. I should be hiring you a stripper as we speak." Jack gives him a look that tells Arvin the look on his face if he had called a stripper would be even funnier. He'll settle for this one, though. "Seriously - doesn't it bother you that you may never see another naked woman after tomorrow?"
"I'm not interested in other women."
"Not even to look at?"
Jack shrugs. "Not really."
He really means it, too. Arvin isn't sure whether to be charmed, amused or faintly disturbed at his friend's reaction to meeting Laura. Sometimes, when he's watching Jack garrote someone, it's hard to reconcile the agent with the man who buys his girl first edition manuscripts and writes sappy dedications in the front.
"I hope Laura appreciates that," he says, and means it.
"You like her, right?"
It's the question he's been hoping Jack won't ask ever since he met the woman, and he suspects that Jack knows that. Which is probably why he hasn't asked until now.
It's an innocuous inquiry - do you like the person your best friend is going to marry? The trouble is, he doesn't actually have an answer. Laura is certainly a very attractive woman, brilliant and charming into the bargain, and yet there's something about her that's ... and there's the thing. He can never put his finger on it.
The other problem is that Arvin keeps wondering if the thing that keeps niggling at him has nothing to do with Laura - if it's just the way Jack feels about her that bothers him.
"Of course I like her," he replies. Jack frowns, and he knows he paused for a moment too long. "At least meet me half way," he says, hoping to change the subject. "I'll go out and bring us back something to celebrate with."
"If it'll make you happy, go ahead," Jack says.
"Great," Arvin says, making for the door before the conversation can turn back to Laura.
"First hand job?"
"Do we have any more peanuts?"
"You ate all the peanuts."
There is, Arvin has discovered, a definite down side to drinking tequila with Jack Bristow. He didn't know this before, because it's the first time they've done it. There was just something about a bachelor party that demanded a beverage more proletarian than a good French red. What he hadn't realised was that tequila makes Jack hungry - and that's a serious understatement. It was slightly awe-inspiring to watch him demolish every snack within site, although it had left Arvin feeling slightly unsatisfied himself. Then, two shots ago Jack had knocked over the salt, spoiling the ritual.
"Maybe we should order in?"
"I don't think that room service deliver at two in the morning, Jack. Now answer the question."
They've ended up on his bed, which is the most comfortable piece of furniture in the room, trading sex anecdotes. It's not the first time their conversations have turned this way, but Jack is more forthcoming than usual. Apparently tequila makes him confessional, too. Arvin is happy to take advantage of that. You never knew when information might be useful.
"Do you mean - all the way to the end? Or just fooling around?"
"All the way."
"Michelle Cole, in the back of my dad's car, when I was sixteen. You?"
"Adam Martin, in his bedroom, when I was thirteen."
Jack blinks at him, as if he'd just announced that he's joined the KGB. "What?"
"Adam Martin. He was in my geography class. From memory, we were meant to be memorizing the chief exports of Ecuador, but he knew where his dad kept the dirty magazines."
"You did it with a guy?"
"That's what I said, isn't it? You never messed around with your friends, when you were a kid?"
"Hell no." Jack squirms uncomfortably, and moves half an inch further down the bed. Sloane has to prevent himself from laughing.
"Never even thought about it? Looked at another guy in the locker room?"
Jack regards his empty shot glass thoughtfully. "Is it different, when another man does it? Compared with a woman, I mean."
In all honestly it probably depends on the woman, but it's been Arvin's experience that while women are wonderful in many ways, most of them have no idea of how to handle things manually. "Of course. Similar equipment, plenty of practice." He grins. "You know, if you're curious ..."
Jack gets that look again. "You can't be serious."
He wasn't, really, but now that he's said it, it doesn't seem like a bad idea. The conversation has put him in the mood, and in his moderately inebriated state it's not an unappealing concept. Jack seems surprised, but not hostile.
"It's just a shame, that's all. After tomorrow, you might never get the chance to do anything with anyone other than Laura."
"I don't want to do anything with anyone other than Laura."
Arvin pats Jack's shoulder gently. That was a tactical mistake; he shouldn't have mentioned her name at all. "Of course you don't. I just want to make sure you enjoy your last night without her, that's all. You're going to have an entire lifetime with her."
He squeezes Jack's shoulder this time, with intent. Jack is still looking incredulous, but he hasn't pulled away or broken Arvin's neck. Those have to be good signs.
"I'm not a queer."
"I'm sure all the people coming to your wedding are happy to hear that, Jack."
"You know that's not what I meant."
"It has nothing to do with that. I was just a curious teenager back when I messed around with Adam. Sometimes I'm still ... curious. You know?"
"About me, specifically?"
He takes his hand away from Jack's shoulder. This is not a conversation Arvin wants to have. The sacred laws regarding the duties of a best man must specifically prohibit mentioning that you have confusing unresolved feelings about the groom, during the bachelor party.
Apparently his silence is more eloquent than he is right now, because Jack seems to understand what he's thinking. "I'm going to take that as a yes. Since Singapore, right?"
This time, Arvin manages to nod.
It really is a funny story. Jack was on an undercover op wearing a wire, when the man they were investigating took him to a brothel. Unable to extricate himself from the situation without breaking character, he'd ended up in a private room with a prostitute inside of fifteen minutes.
Jack told him afterwards that he'd considered all of his options, and that logic told him the best thing was just to go through with it in such a way as to avoid revealing the wire. Arvin Sloane had spent the next fifteen minutes listening to his partner getting a blowjob, in stereo. He had been, in no particular order, amused, incredulous, and aroused. He'd known better than to act on that last feeling in the middle of a mission, but he'd thought about the incident later. More than once.
Since then, he'd sometimes wondered about exactly how to define his feelings for Jack. He knew that he loved him - that was no problem, as far as Arvin was concerned - but he hadn't felt this intensely for anyone other than close relatives before.
"I noticed, afterwards. I knew you were listening to me - obviously I knew - and it made me feel ..."
"Turned on?" Other possibilities include 'weird' or 'disgusted', but Arvin thinks this discussion would have ended much sooner if it had been just that.
"Strange. I mean, I'm not -"
"Jack, we covered the part where you're not gay already. Also the part where I am not gay. If you're not interested, just say so, and we can pretend this entire conversation never happened."
Jack is quiet for a moment, and Arvin is just wondering if they need to have another drink and laugh the whole thing off. "All right," Jack says, suddenly decisive. He puts down the shot glass on the floor.
"All right?" Arvin replies.
"Wait," Arvin says, leaning over to reach under the bed for his suitcase. It takes him a minute of rummaging around to remember where he put the hand cream, and all the time he can feel Jack's eyes on his back.
He sits up, puts down the tube, and regards his partner thoughtfully. There's not a lot of room on the bed, but he wants Jack relaxed and comfortable, and within easy reach. "I think you should lie back, put your legs over mine," he says, settling comfortably with his back up against the wall. There's not much room for them both to lie down unless one of them gets on top of the other, and he doesn't think Jack's ready for that just yet.
Jack looks hesitant, but he swings his legs up to drape across Arvin's lap, and doesn't even protest as Arvin eases his fly down and starts to rub him through his underwear. It takes a while for him to start getting hard - perhaps it's the alcohol, perhaps he's still nervous about the whole idea. To Arvin, it all feels faintly surreal, like a particularly vivid fantasy. Eventually, as Arvin he puts more effort into the contact, things start to happen.
He hesitates for a moment before pulling Jack's penis free of his underwear. He's saved the man's life, been covered in his blood more than once, seen him naked, even held his head while he threw up one time, but this is a whole new level of intimacy. They've gone too far to back out without it feeling awkward now, though.
He's never had another grown man's erection in his hand before, and for a moment Arvin wonders what it would be like to put Jack's cock in his mouth. He'd have no idea of what he was doing, though - no sense inviting unfavourable comparisons to Singaporean prostitutes. Best to stick to what he knows.
He picks up the lubricant from where he tossed it on the bed and spreads some over his hand, glad that it's relatively warm from the heat of the room, then wraps his hand gently around Jack's shaft and gives it a few strokes. He starts rubbing circles under the head with his thumb, teasing. He glances up at Jack's face, trying to gauge whether he's enjoying this or not, but it's hard to tell from the way he's staring up at the ceiling.
"This OK?" Arvin whispers, not sure why he's keeping the volume down except that Jack's silence is slightly intimidating.
Jack nods, just once, but Arvin is reassured when his cock starts leaking drops of clear fluid. That's probably a good sign. Maybe he's just not the talkative type in bed - it's not as if that should be surprising. Arvin shifts a little, getting more comfortable, and runs the other hand down the underside of Jack's shaft to his balls. "Is it alright if I touch you here?"
Another nod, and this time Jack closes his eyes. This is beginning to get exasperating. Still, he has ways of making Jack talk.
He keeps moving his left hand down, back behind the testicles, and strokes Jack there, trying to find the right spot. His partner stiffens and opens his eyes. "What are you -?"
"Just trust me ..."
He knows he's found the right place when Jack jerks and gasps. "Prostate gland," Arvin says by way of explanation. "You can stimulate it through the perineum." Maybe Laura doesn't know that trick, or she's never been game to try it out on her fianc. Of course, there are other, more direct ways of getting at it, but Jack is probably freaked out enough as it is. "Did you like that?"
"Not exactly," Jack says.
"There," Arvin says, "was that so hard to say?"
Jack frowns at him. In context, it's almost ... cute. "Don't stop," he says, by way of reply. It's hard to say if it's a request or an order, but either way Arvin keeps touching Jack lightly with his right hand. His left has other urgent business.
He reaches down and unzips his own fly, easing his pants down - it would have made sense to take off some clothes before they got started, but it wasn't as if they had a plan as such. Arvin wonders if he'll have to prompt Jack to touch him, or if he'll even do it at all, but his partner reaches over and strokes him through his underwear without being asked.
Arvin was already half erect just from touching Jack, and with someone rubbing him it doesn't take long for his breathing to get heavy. Soon he has to take his hand off his friend's cock and grab his wrist. "I think we need to take our clothes off."
Jack nods (again) and starts to undo the rest of the buttons on his shirt. Arvin sheds his loosened tie - Jack's went missing at some point during the drinking - and takes his pants off, letting them slide into a heap on the floor. They'll tidy up later.
He's pleasantly surprised when Jack starts to undo his shirt for him, and is happy to sit back and let him. Once they're done, and naked, it becomes obvious that Jack is staring at him - and not at his face. It's understandable, under the circumstances. He's probably never seen a hard cock from quite that angle before. "You can touch it," he says. "I'd like you to touch it."
Jack responds by doing just that, cautiously wrapping his hand around Arvin and stroking his length. It's a light touch, just experimenting, but if they were going to do this properly ... he reaches across Jack and grabs the hand cream again, squeezing it out onto his palm.
"I don't, you know, self-lubricate at all," Arvin said holding his hand out to Jack. "You'll need this."
He almost laughs again, and maybe Jack can see that, because he smiles himself. Then he takes Arvin's hand and slicks the lubricant all over his own. Their hands clasp for a moment as he does, and it's strangely reassuring.
Jack keeps his touch light - he starts by rubbing the back of his knuckles against Arvin's cock - but it seems like deliberate teasing rather than real uncertainty.
Arvin increases the pace of his stroking, hoping that Jack will follow suit, but he maintains the same steady rhythm. His grip is firmer than what Arvin would use on himself at first; somehow that just makes it even more frustrating.
It takes him some time to run out of patience completely, but eventually he stops stroking entirely and decides that now might be a good time to try something else. "Lie down again," he says, pushing Jack gently to emphasise the point.
There's not a lot of room on the bed, they have to press right up against each other to fit in this position, but that's just exactly what Arvin has in mind. He reaches down between their bodies and takes hold of Jack's cock again, gripping it hard. It's an awkward tangle, but he's not planning to stay like this for long. Jack soon gets the idea and follows suit.
They move together, falling into a rhythm as their hands and cocks brush each other. Arvin watches Jack, and it's almost like being in the field, examining him for little signs that he should go harder, faster. The other man has his eyes shut, but he manages to keep up by touch alone. Arvin lets himself make sounds, nothing approximating words, even as Jack stays quiet.
He pulls away as much as he can when he feels Jack stiffen and jerk against him, not out of disgust but because he wants to watch this, too. Jack doesn't make a sound apart from the heavy breathing, even now, spilling all over Arvin's hand, and in a strange way the control is a turn on.
Arvin is close to the edge himself, and Jack's hand has gone still. In frustration more than anything else, he takes his own hand, covered in Jack's semen, and wraps it around Jack's. It only takes a few strokes of their joined palms moving together to get Arvin off, and he groans as he comes.
... and here they are, sticky and breathless, covered in sweat and other bodily fluids, and looking at each other stupidly. Huh.
Arvin isn't exactly hoping for snuggling afterwards - he doesn't even know how he'd react - but he can't say he's not a little disappointed when Jack rolls away from him and off the bed, then heads to the bathroom without a word. Perhaps he shouldn't take it personally. He never expected Adam Martin to make conversation afterwards.
He decides it's probably a good idea to give Jack minute to get his head together, so he waits until he hears the shower running, trying not to worry that he'll put in for a transfer when they get back to LA, or decide to kill Arvin after all, or tell somebody.
It's less than five minute according to the clock he can't help staring at until he can't stand the suspense any longer. When he comes into the bathroom, Jack is standing under the running water, cleaning himself up.
"Mind if I go next?"
Jack nods - strange that Arvin never found that irritating before tonight - and steps out from under the running water, reaching for a towel. Arvin feels slightly relieved when he starts to dry his hair with it instead of wrapping it around his waist; at least he's not going to freak out about them being naked in the same room.
Arvin gets in the shower and rinses off, while Jack stands there taking his time to dry off. Maybe he wants to talk after all.
"You all right?" he asks. It's an open-ended question.
"Fine. I just - Arvin, I love Laura."
It's tempting to respond sarcastically, but it's probably not a good moment. "I know that. I'm not going to ask you to elope with me."
"I just don't want to do anything to hurt her."
"And you didn't - she'll never know, unless you tell her." He wonders if he should point out the reasons why that would be a stupid thing to do, but surely even Jack can see why telling his wife that he got drunk and jerked off his best friend would be unwise. "We don't even have to talk about it again, if you don't want to." He gets out of the shower, and reaches for a towel himself. He wonders if he can be bothered cleaning his teeth.
Jack looks relieved. "Thanks. I ... had fun."
It's probably the nearest thing to a declaration of love he'll ever get from Jack Bristow, so he smiles. "That's good to know."
He couldn't say exactly what causes the impulse, but now that he's standing next to Jack he feels a sudden temptation. Stretching up, he puts a hand behind his neck and pulls his head down just low enough so he can kiss him on the cheek. He'd swear that Jack actually blushes this time. "You should go and get some sleep."
Still looking like a deer caught in the headlights, Jack hangs up his towel and leaves. By the time Arvin is done, he's lying down on his bed, wearing underwear and nothing else.
It's only now that he realises that his own bed is a sticky mess. For a moment it occurs to him to pull rank and claim the clean sheets, but there's probably something in the sacred duties of the best man about sleeping in the wet patch. After a moment's thought he pulls the covers off the bed altogether and just lies down naked on the mattress. What housekeeping is going to make of this in the morning he neither knows nor cares.
They lie there in silence for a moment, but it's obvious that neither of them is falling asleep. "Jack?" he says.
"This isn't going to make things weird, is it?"
Jack laughs, and that's when Arvin knows they're going to be alright. "Now you ask?"
"You know I wouldn't do anything to damage our friendship." He's not drunk enough now to start declaring his love, but he does want Jack to know that.
"You feel ... resolved, right?"
"Yes, well and truly."
He realises as he says it that it's true. He enjoyed their session, and on a purely physical level it would be fun to do it again. Tempting, even, given how much time they spend together away from home. But it wouldn't be fair to anyone involved to pretend it was more than it was. No matter how much he loves him, he's not in love with Jack Bristow. The sense of relief is greater than he'd expected.
"That's good. The resolution."
They're quiet again, for a while, but he can tell that Jack isn't drifting off just yet. "Arvin?"
"Do you think Laura loves me? Like I love her, I mean."
"She's marrying you, isn't she? That's usually a good sign."
"No, I just - I look at her, and I can't imagine that anyone could feel that way about me."
Arvin wants to tell Jack that one of the fundamental truths of life is that sometimes people don't love you the way that you love them, but that things can work out anyway. But he knows that's not what Jack wants to hear.
"She loves you. You're going to marry her, move to the suburbs, have 2.5 children, buy a dog and live happily ever after. Now go to sleep."
After a while, Jack does. Arvin lies awake and watches him for a long time before he closes his eyes.
After what feels like about twenty hours of making polite conversation with strangers with Canadian accents, Arvin is desperate for air. He slips out the back door as quietly as possible and settles down on the step, lighting up a cigarette mostly to give himself something to do.
What he wants most is a good night's sleep. On the way home he'd let Jack have the aisle seat and watched as he slept like a baby all the way home. He doesn't usually do that on planes, but maybe the stress the stress of the impending wedding had been keeping him up nights. Perhaps Arvin helped him relax. It's nice to think so.
He's hoping to get a moment of quiet, at least, but soon the door creaks open, and the last person he expected to see slides out. How Laura got away from Jack, who's been glued to her since she arrived at the end of the aisle this afternoon, he doesn't know.
"Hey," he says.
"Got one of those for me?" she asks.
He raises an eyebrow - he didn't know she smoked - but gets up to give her a cigarette. Perhaps she needs something to calm her nerves.
"Thank you for the speech," she says.
"I thought it was a bit bland, myself," he says.
"You should have told the story about the hooker in Singapore," she says with a smile.
"Jack vetoed all my good material. I suppose I can see his point - most of the people in there don't even know we're CIA, and it would be hard to explain out of context."
"How about whatever it is you did in Europe?"
Arvin examines her expression carefully, wondering if Jack confessed. Luckily, she doesn't look like a woman who knows her husband gave a guy a hand job yesterday. "Nothing interesting enough to build a speech around."
She smiles again. "I doubt that's true - I can tell Jack feels guilty about something, and I think you're probably to blame."
Arvin risks a smile of his own. "If it's any consolation, I had to talk him into having any fun at all."
"I've always thought that bachelor parties serve a useful purpose, you know," she says. "They ensure that men start married life with a bad conscience."
Arvin's never thought of it that way before, but she makes a good point. "It wasn't anything you need to worry about."
She nods, and sits down on the step beside him. "Jack talks about you a lot, you know. He has a lot of respect for you."
"That's good to know." He's not sure why she's telling him this now, but then they haven't had many conversations that didn't include Jack as a participant.
"You love him, don't you?"
For a second he wonders if something in his manner gave him away - but she's not really asking about that. If last night proved anything, it's that the way he feels about Jack has nothing to do with sex. "He's my best friend."
"If anything ever happened to me - you'd make sure that he's alright, wouldn't you?"
This is a strange turn for the conversation to take. "It seems like I should be the one asking you that question," he said, but she still seemed to be waiting for an answer. "If anything ever happens to you, he's not going to be alright. There won't be anything I could do about that."
For a moment, he sees real pain in her eyes, and suddenly he knows that he likes Laura just fine. "But you would try?"
Arvin shrugs. "What else could I do?"
That answer seems to satisfy her. "I should thank you, for taking care of him when he's away from home."
"What are friends for?"
She smiles again. "Speaking of taking care of Jack, someone really should go back in there and rescue him from his mother."
Arvin gets up, drops his cigarette and grinds the butt under his shoe. "How about we both go? He could probably use the backup."
Together, they turn and go back, leaving the darkness outside behind them.
Please post a comment on this story.
Title: Get Me To The Church On Time
Author: Andraste [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | NC-17 | *slash* | 27k | 06/11/05
Characters: Arvin Sloane, Jack Bristow
Summary: "If this makes me late for my wedding," Jack says grimly, "someone is going to be sorry."
Notes: I have taken advantage of the vague 'Alias' timeline here, in assuming that Sloane didn't meet Emily until after Jack and Laura were married.
Disclaimer/Other: J.J. Abrams and co. own these guys, not me. They are welcome to make money off them.
[top of page]
|Home/QuickSearch + Random + Upload + Search + Contact + GO List|