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2046-02-16 Moments After

From X-Factor

Moments After
Date Posted 2016/02/20
Location Glen Haven, Colorado
Participants Jeremy, Richard
Summary Jeremy and Richard take stock in Colorado.
Plot Road Trip
Related Logs 2046-02-16 You Have Arrived At Your Destination
 
Ririchard.JPG
Slipping into the relative privacy of the small room, Jeremy glances around, exploring its sparse furnishings with an interest rendered vague by wear and discomfort. He pulls his inhaler out of his pocket and gives it another puff even as he moves to the bed, sitting down at the edge of it and then running his hand back through his hair as he lets a great breath out of his abused lungs.

It's a few moments for Richard to basically make vague excuses to be following Jeremy into a bedroom, but eventually he slips in through the door. He doesn't click it closed behind him, although he does swing it most of the way shut. He looks tired. "Hey," he says, watching Jeremy sitting on the edge of the bed.

Features warming with a slow smile, Jeremy tips his hand up in a wave. He looks a little relieved to see Richard. He flips the inhaler onto the nightstand with a clatter. "Well," he says, a hint of rasp still lingering in his voice, "that was kind of a shitshow but at least we got it done."

"I've seen worse," Richard says with a faint, weary smile. He stands near the door and actually leans back up against it, which closes it that final inch. "I didn't know you were--" He gestures vaguely at his own chest.

"It doesn't usually come up." Jeremy looks over at the nightstand with an expression of plain dislike wiping the smile from his features.

"I guess if sex is more likely to cause you to explode things than have an asthma attack," Richard replies with a certain wry humor.

"It's not that serious a case of asthma," Jeremy says. He rubs at his neck, looking back up at Richard with a twist to his mouth. "I mean, you can't tell right now. But mostly it just means that I hate pollen and dust frequently. I can't remember the last time it flared up in the field." He rubs hard at his knuckles with his thumb, frowning down at his lap.

Richard finally pulls himself away from the door to take careful steps over to Jeremy. He doesn't sit down, but his hand reaches to brush knuckles along the side of the other man's neck. "At least we got it done," he says in belated echo. "You just -- worried me."

Jeremy tilts slightly into the brush of Richard's hand, and then ducks his head, blowing out a sigh. "Guess I'm kind of a mess," he says. "Of course, when the X-Men were out, we were in full gear. Utility belts. Goggles and gas masks in the Blackbird. A Blackbird, for that matter."

Richard's fingers open and then slide through his hair along the nape of his neck. Finally, with a sigh, he sits down next to him. "Yeah," he says, somewhat wistfully. "I miss equipment."

Jeremy slumps into Richard at his side, dropping his head to lean against Richard's shoulder. He draws a long breath, inhaling him through his sleeve. "It wasn't that I didn't expect trouble," he says, "it was that I didn't expect them. I've got kids with me who don't know what the fuck they're doing, you know? Well, Rosalie isn't a kid, I guess, but she might as well be."

"Yeah," Richard says. He goes quiet for a few moments as Jeremy leans against him, and then he slowly settles his hand back at the back of his neck in a slow stroke. He opens his mouth to say something else, and then he just says, "Yeah," again, even quieter.

"Meanwhile I'm literally falling down on the job," Jeremy says, and laughs through his groan, still leaning into Rich. He lifts his head just slightly but only to drop his forehead again, like he's beating his head very gently against Richard's arm. "What the hell is Rogue-- never mind. I don't have enough information to speculate."

"I don't know what's in the crate," Richard says, "but I can guess what it's for. Generally. I know what they're studying here." He hesitates a long moment, fingers stilling, and then he says, "My brother was looking for me for a long time."

Jeremy pushes his head up finally and smears his hand over his face. He rubs wearily at his eyes, and then sighs and ducks his head, moving to thumb his Eyes out and then balance them on his palm. He deactivates and then lets them rest there, blinking blurrily for a moment. Then he puts them in their case, which he sets on the nightstand next to his inhaler. "Looks like it," he says. "Doesn't really answer what Revelation would want. Unless they're trying to get the fuck out of this world they hate and find a different one. Or a brand new way to unmake this one, I guess."

"There's a lot that's out there. All sorts of resources for them to find to do what they want to do." Richard's fingertips slide across Jeremy's neck. "Sheila -- Famine -- I remember her when she was just a kid. X-Force used to deal with her. She got taken through the same rift as Tom when she was a kid. Trained up by al-Sahra." He shakes his head and goes quiet again.

"I've known Rogue since I was just a kid," Jeremy says a little sourly. Now that he's taken his Eyes out, everything is just kind of blurry shapes, but he still finds Richard's cheek to nose against as he leans back in. "It must be weird for you, being here."

Richard hesitates. Then he exhales slowly and says, "A little. Robbie's never treated me like a science experiment, but I always feel like his colleagues and anyone else working in the area would like to put me on a table and get the probes out. The guy we picked up the crate from basically said he'd sell out his own brother for whatever was inside it."

"They'll have to come through me first," Jeremy says, and then he laughs a little because he feels this is patently ridiculous. He kisses Richard on the temple and then straightens up and away from him, digging around for his glasses case and then finally pulling off his coat and throwing it on the floor with a clicky zipper noise. "Sounds like the guy we picked up the crate from is a dick."

"He was," Richard confirms without hesitation. "Trigger happy, too. Got freaking paranoid when Rosalie took a few steps to just look around." He watches Jeremy idly as he shrugs out of his coat.

Jeremy puts his glasses back on, toes out of his shoes, and then flops back on the bed. He looks down the lengths of himself at Richard with his head fallen against the pillow behind him, mouth quirking. "Sounds like there's a lot to be paranoid about in this field," he says, "considering what we ran into on the road."

With Jeremy's neck out of petting range, Richard settles his hand on his knee instead. "Well. It's pretty much an entirely classified science," he says with a taut smile. It fades as he watches Jeremy, and after another moment's hesitation he says, "I'm sorry. I brought you this job and you got hurt."

"What? No, I didn't," Jeremy says. He coughs, and clears his throat, wriggling his shoulders against the pillow. "You got me a lungful of dust," he says. "And then a lungful of something else. Anyway, Rich, I'm the one who decided that going into the field myself was a good idea." He considers for a moment. "Actually, it's a good thing I did. I don't know what you kids would have done about that roadblock I blew up."

"I could've--" Richard catches on -- nothing. "Well, I'm not sure. I don't think I could have carried that thing the rest of the way."

"I don't think you would have carried it the rest of the way," Jeremy says with a slight cock of his eyebrow. "Not with a couple of basically helpless teammates behind you surrounded by terrorists."

"Well." Richard looks like he's considering arguing, but perhaps finds Jeremy's counter too on the nose. "No, probably not," he finally agrees.

Jeremy lifts a hand and makes a c'mere gesture with it, beckoning him to come closer to him. "So, apart from my really embarrassing chronic condition and the fact that I ended the fight flat on my face," he says, "I think we made an okay team."

Richard doesn't come closer. His shoulders curl and hunch instead, and there's a hint of something almost shamed about him. "Jeremy, I--" He hesitates, the words trapped behind his teeth. Then, very quietly, he admits, "I missed it."

"Ugh, are you going to make me sit up again? I'm an invalid here," Jeremy says, but he does. Scooting forward onto his knees, he says, "What did you miss, field work? Risk?"

"Sorry," Richard says with a snort that's almost a laugh, gaze flitting over to Jeremy as the man sits back up. "Being in the field. Risk for actual reason."

Jeremy scoots the rest of the way across the bed to Richard's side and folds both his arms around his neck and shoulders. "Of course you did, you big dummy," he says, which is the greatest term of endearment of all. "How could you not?" He squeezes, although at this angle he's hard pressed not to knock his glasses annoyingly against Richard's head.

Richard actually does laugh at that, albeit quietly. He reaches a hand to settle it on Jeremy's forearm that's circled about his shoulders, and his head turns to look at him with the faintest of smiles. "I guess Iz was right. She told me it'd be good for me."

"Just like eating your greens," Jeremy says. He reaches with his other hand to cover Richard's, on his arm, and smiles. "Look, it's not like we're always going to be able to be doing stuff for a higher purpose," he says. "Maybe that's not the world anymore. Some days I'm satisfied just to be doing something. But that doesn't mean-- you know. I was an X-Man. Of course we want to be doing more."

"I can't believe no one ever invited me into your superhero club," Richard says with another breath of laughter. He reaches with his other hand to draw his thumb slowly over the curve of Jeremy's cheek.

"Well, no one ever invited me to /your/ superhero club," Jeremy returns with a snort, fake glowering at Richard through his glasses.

"Oh. Well. I wasn't in charge of recruitment," Richard excuses himself, and then leans in to chase about that fake glower with the brush of his lips against Jeremy's.

Jeremy lifts his hand to curl at Richard's cheek as he returns the kiss with interest. He smiles into it, nipping lightly at the curve of his lower lip, and says, "Me either. But now that I am--"

Richard snorts, which puffs a breath against Jeremy's skin given their proximity. "I'm pretty sure your recruitment standards aren't high enough for this to be particularly complimentary," he says.

"I had to persuade you, remember?" Jeremy grins, wide and bright, and claims his mouth in another, more thorough (persuasive?) kiss.

Richard lingers in the kiss with a slow taste of his mouth and a slide of his tongue along his lip. His skin is a bit rough from not shaving this morning, and he smells a little of sweat and adrenaline that lingers on his skin. He only pulls back far enough to say, "Sorry, it wasn't actually you who persuaded me."

Jeremy is about to say something else, but his breath catches, raggedly, and his fingers tighten convulsively, twisting in Richard's shirt as he turns his head away. He tries to force the cough to stay behind closed lips with extremely limited success. Sexy, right?

It's super sexy. So sexy that Richard is left to get all brow-knit in concern and press a hand firmer to Jeremy's shoulder. He looks on the verge of asking the inevitable 'are you okay,' but manages to hold it back. BARELY. He waits it out instead.

Jeremy finally gets his breath back, and his voice growls in a low, aggravated rasp. He turns his head back to Richard's to bump his forehead against his, scowl written uncharacteristically into his expression. He says: "Sorry."

Richard slides both hands to cup Jeremy's face between them and leans in to press a kiss to his forehead. "You don't have to apologize for our health," he tells him firmly. "Like -- whatever, no."

"Ugh." Jeremy makes a grumpy noise, and then sighs. "Anyway, I believe we were talking about the efforts to recruit." Smile slow but sly as it resumes its lift of his lips, he says: "I may not have convinced you, but I don't think you can deny I wanted you."

"That's a terrible euphemism," Richard informs him seriously. "And if it's not, please don't tell me you tried recruiting me just to get in my pants."

Jeremy laughs. "No," he says. He tugs a little on his shirt and then tips his head up to press another kiss to the corner of his mouth. "Though I'm not complaining about that."

Richard sighs expansively. "Now I don't know whether or not I should be disappointed. You /did/ start hitting on me pretty quick."

"Yeah, but generally speaking it's bad hiring practice to start trying to hire employees just to sexually harass them," Jeremy says, drawing back again and letting his hands fall to rest on his knees.

"Well. Maybe." Richard watches Jeremy as he draws back and then reaches to tuck his hair behind his ear and slide his fingertips through his blond fluff. "I haven't felt sexually harassed, though."

"Pushing you into anything you didn't want was the last thing I ever wanted to do," Jeremy says with a slight smile on his lips. His eyes drop and then lift again. "So I'm glad to hear it."

"I know," Richard says quietly, something softly affectionate in his gaze. He leans in again, the brush of his lips and the curl of his fingers achingly gentle. "Do my a favor," he says in a low whisper against his mouth, "and don't get yourself hurt."

Jeremy reaches up to card his fingers through Richard's hair, blunted nails rufffling it as they draw along his scalp. His smile lingers, his eyes darkly warm behind his glasses. "Sorry," he says, "did I scare you?"

"Well, I did have to haul your unconscious body off the ground, Jeremy," Richard says, and the humor is only half there.

"That wasn't my idea," Jeremy says. "I was thinking if I could just take her down before she could do anything to anyone else--" He closes fingers into a loose fist, shakes it in the air, and then lets it drop. "Guess I've made smarter calls."

"Hey, I'm not even asking you to make different calls," Richard says with a slight, crooked smile. "I was up in the air; I don't know if it was dumb or not. Sometimes the smart calls still end up with someone on the ground unconscious."

"Okay, well." Jeremy reaches for one of Richard's hands, and turns it over in his, tracing fingers lightly over the inside of his palm as he says, "I'll try not to get hurt. You take care of yourself too, though. That's the deal, all right?"

"Yeah. Okay." Richard's smile twists into something drier as he looks down at his hand that Jeremy traces. "If I had a nickel for every time I made that promise, I'd be rich."

<FS3> Jeremy rolls Dad Jokes: Good Success. (4 1 8 8 3 5 7 4)

Jeremy laughs aloud. He says: "Hi Rich."

"Oh my God," Richard says, looking straight at Jeremy's face. "I am leaving."

Jeremy closes his hand in a grip on Richard's, twining their fingers together in a laced clasp. "Nooo," he laughs more.

"Nope, that was it, that was my limit." Richard even stands and tugs lightly on his hand, but it's pretty obvious it's not a serious attempt at escape.

Jeremy pulls on their joined hands and ducks his head to press a kiss to Richard's knuckles. "Don't leave me," he says. He's trying not to laugh more. It's hard. Then it makes him cough and he has to let Richard's hand go so that he can cough into the crook of his elbow.

"Dude, now you're just trying to guilt me into staying with super sad-sounding coughing," Richard accuses, but he sits back down next to Jeremy and rubs at his back a little like that is actually going to help.

"Man, if I had the option to not be coughing right now, I would totally take it," Jeremy rasps. He heaves a deep sigh, which in itself is a good sign since he gets through it without another coughing fit, and then smears his hand over his face. "Serves me right for laughing at that," he says, and smiles.

"No, it's okay," Richard says, all soothing as he continues to rub his back. "At least with all that racket nobody outside will think we're getting up to anything unprofessional." Except makeouts, apparently.

"Does that worry you?" Jeremy tries to twist and get a look at him.

"Um." Richard looks a little caught off-guard by the question, which is kind of funny given what he just said. Come on, Rich. "I mean. I feel like it's spectacularly -- not on the down low."

"I wasn't trying to be on the down low," Jeremy says. His smile widens just slightly as he glances away again, ducking his head, and he falls over sideways to flop down into the pillow, turning onto his back as he looks back at Richard with a slight narrowing of his gaze. "I was ... you know, I mean, I was avoiding being openly smug."

"No, I wasn't -- I mean, I wasn't really trying, either." Richard tries to offer a reassuring smile. "Just -- I mean, sometimes I'm -- conscious. Of it. I guess. I -- don't really know what you're being smug about." He shifts his weight in his seat a touch awkwardly.

"Oh my God." Jeremy's smile pulls much wider as his eyes crinkle at the corners. "Rich, I know you're kinda shy, but you've gotta know what I'm smug about."

"I've never--" Richard starts to say, and then he actually /colors/ and then proceeds to be embarrassed by that, so his gaze darts away nervously.

"What? Come on." Jeremy stretches out his legs to their full extension on the bed, poking at Richard's leg with his socked toes. "If you want me to be more subtle, though, I can try. I mean, the cat may be out of the bag at this point."

"No, I just--" Something is /deeply/ embarrassing, or even shaming, from the way Richard's shoulders hunch. He finally scrubs a hand over his face and says, "Look, it's the first time I've -- been with a guy -- on Earth. Here. And I know we're in a brand new world and all of that, and when I was in a different world all that stuff seemed less important, but there's still -- stuff. And it's dumb, but I grew up with it, and it's not always -- easy. God, this is embarrassing."

"I'm not as old as you, but I'm old enough to remember ... a little," Jeremy says, his mouth a little crooked. "I mean, I wasn't ready to be queer when I was twenty, either." He props himself up on his elbows. "Just -- Whatever you need, okay?"

"It's not even that I need you to do anything different, just--" Richard glances off towards the door. "I don't know."

"Okay," Jeremy says. He scratches at the line of his jaw. "I'm not gonna be, like, super offended if you want to go in a different room, if that's what you're worried about."

"Are you sure? My memory says that you get really easily offended about everything," Richard replies with weak humor. Hah. Hah hah. Funny.

"I think your memory may have me confused for someone else." Jeremy flops back against the pillow again. "We've had a long few days. If you want to take advantage of having your own space here for /whatever/ reason--"

Richard looks back over at Jeremy. He smiles, faint and slight, and then he toes off his shoes and slides to perch over Jeremy on the bed. Looking down at him, he says, "There's a lot of things I'd like to do, Jeremy, but leaving isn't one of them."

Jeremy answers him with a brighter grin, and says, with a bright laugh not well-buried in his breath, "Well, that sounds promising."

Richard rolls back off and settles onto his back next to Jeremy, head on the pillows. "Unfortunately, there's people right outside and also we're in my brother's workplace."

Jeremy rolls onto his side to nudge up against Richard as if trying to burrow into his warmth. "Well, the hacking cough isn't really ideal circumstances, either," he says.

"That, too." Richard curls an arm around Jeremy in a sickeningly cuddly sort of gesture. His hand drifts in a slow, idle stroke along his back.

Jeremy hums a soft note of a noise as he snuggles into the loop of Richard's arm, and stops talking, for once in his life. He must be pretty worn out if he's not running his mouth.

Richard looks pretty fond. He also looks a bit terrified. But it looks like he'll be here for the night until they make their way back home tomorrow.

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