Title It's a Tie!
Characters/Pairings: Ryan/Lester, Abby, Connor, Jess,
Prompts: Touch, sexy times, hiding in the armoury (well ish!) Exchange of clothing.
Genre: Humour, little angst. Hurt/Comfort
Rating: 15 for swearages.
Summary: Ryan is really pissed off with Lester.
Author's Note: Secret Santa primeval fic for the awesome fififolle . I tried doing something completely different at first, but then this came about and it seemed to work. I've never written Ryan/Lester before and it's not normally a pairing I'd consider, but this was so fun writing. Fi, I hope you like it and that it fits your prompts okay. Cheers to fredbassett for the beta. However, any mistakes are all mine.
He had tried to hide out in the armoury but that had been a flawed plan from the start. He was found and the disagreement - the argument - erupted again, only this time ten times worse. How it hadn’t come to blows, he didn’t know.
Ryan couldn’t reason with him. It seemed like every logical thought, every rational point he had was thrown away and dismissed seconds after he voiced it. It seemed like his view wasn’t even being considered… at all, which only irritated Ryan more. He had been in worse situations than this, it was a disagreement, not full on warfare, but it was coming damned close. His patience was pushed to its very limits.
This wasn’t in his job description. This conflict wasn’t what he wanted, but there was no way of getting through that thick, snarky skull. So why did he allow it? Why did he let the arguments carry on the way it did?
Was it the way James’ face scrunched up with disgust or contempt? The tone of his voice and the sarcastic responses? It almost felt like Ryan enjoyed arguing with the man, that he got some kind of twisted perverted pleasure from their disagreements, but he quickly pushed that silly idea out of his head. That was just bloody stupid. Or was it? It wasn’t that he hated the guy!
He shouldn’t be reacting like this, it wasn’t right, but he just couldn’t stop himself. Even though he knew he could be reprimanded, or even sacked for such behaviour, Ryan carried on making things difficult for the both of them.
The others had warned him against carrying on like that and Ryan would normally take heed of his friends and colleagues advice, but he carried on.
Except of course when it mattered.
Going on missions, leading his teams and supporting Matt’s when convergence happened, he couldn’t ignore them or argue back at Lester over the radio. It was paramount to everyone’s safety, and as a soldier he had to take orders. Lives depended on it.
But Ryan was still confrontational. He couldn’t help it.
He had changed after his near-death experience with the future predator. After months of recovery and years of physiotherapy, the pain from his old wounds, physical and mental, still remained and it was infuriating. An experience like he’d had changed you in more ways than one… and Tom Ryan was not always so laid back any more.
Now, after his tactic of hiding in the armoury had failed, Ryan was in a position that was grating at the last of his patience. What was even worse was that he was wearing his dress uniform – it was important to make the right impression even though the collar felt tight and constricting around his neck. He wanted to loosen his tie and the boots he was wearing were pinching at his toes.
The six of them were in a large briefing room, trying to convince the PM and a bunch of other stuck-up ministers and high-ranked military officers to give the ARC more funding. The petty excuses and bullshit spewing from the politicians’ mouths was infuriating, but strangely, Ryan was keeping quiet. Barely.
It was late by the time the ‘meeting’ finished. Their proposals and justifications for the extra funding were going to be ‘taken under advisement’ and with the lack of a definite yes or no answer, every one of them was exhausted and very pissed off.
When Connor suggested they all go to the pub and down a few drinks, there was great relief and enthusiasm, so off they went. Or rather most of them did.
Ryan held back. He need a moment to collect his thoughts and calm down because he had been close to yelling obscenities and his real ‘feelings’ at those bastards. It didn’t help that his dress uniform was choking him.
He finally loosened and took off his tie, stuffing it into his pocket. He unbuttoned his jacket including several on his shirt. He scratched at his neck where his skin felt raw and then rubbed the fatigue from his eyes.
He had seen Lester enter one of the side rooms just further on from the meeting room, why… he didn’t know, but now was the best time to put these differences aside, to perhaps…maybe… apologise.
“Lester! I need to--!”
Ryan’s voice trailed off.
James Lester was leaning against the wall, barely keeping upright as he held his side, muttering curses which were focused on the cane on the floor and out of his reach.
Ryan hadn’t been the only one to escape death from the future predators.
“Are you okay?” He knew it was a stupid question to ask, because it was clear that Lester was not okay and Ryan was going to get another sarcastic comment back because of it.
“I’m just peachy, Captain! Couldn’t be better!”
The grimace, a sudden hiss of pain, made Ryan step towards him. Ryan thought Lester was going to fall, but instead Lester kept his balance by clinging to a fixture on the wall and waved him away with his hand.
“What do you want?” asked Lester, putting on a brave face through the pain he was suffering from. “If you’re going to start having another tantrum, I’m not interested.”
“I’m not having a tantrum, sir. You need to sit down. Here…” Ryan grabbed a chair and wheeled it over to him. Lester slumped down into it, an action that made him wince again. “Do you want me to call for some help? Do you need a doctor?”
“I’m fine!” Lester’s voice snapped harshly back at him. “I’m not an invalid! I’m quite capable of coping without anyone’s help, thank you very much.”
Ryan wasn’t going to let Lester injure himself more because of his stubbornness. He dropped down to his knees and reached out to pull at the hem of Lester’s shirt. Ryan ignored the feeble and childish slaps at his hands and lifted the shirt so he could get a better look at what was causing Lester so much pain.
The predator had swiped Lester deeply, but he’d been lucky that the claws hadn’t run the entire length of his body. The wounds had healed well enough since it had happened, but not fully. The skin still looked tender and sore around the edges. Ryan knew from experience that the pain went deeper than that.
Ryan felt the long scars on his chest ache, in sympathy, he supposed. Every so often he still got those pangs and while the pain was easier to hide after four years, for Lester, not so much. Ryan was impressed that Lester was keeping a lid on it, because he never let his pain show, the others didn’t have a clue.
Lester was one of the best people Ryan had ever worked under, but he had his reputation as a snarky, sarcastic and tough boss, it was his cover. But recently, he’d been more irritable than usual and Ryan had made it worse by antagonising him. It was stupid really. The man needed help.
Ryan couldn’t stop himself from touching ever so lightly against Lester’s skin.
He felt hot.
A few drops of sweat coated over the roughness of the wounds and Ryan wiped them away, only to have the sweat trail down his fingers and into the palm of his hand. If only he had a cool wet cloth or something, it would bring some relief to the discomfort Lester was in, it would help more than his touch could ever do.
Ryan was still touching him.
The tips of his fingers were tracing across the wound, feeling the tension in Lester’s body and when Ryan looked up and met his eyes, there was an ambiguous look of fear and anger staring back at him.
“Do you…do you… er… have anything you can take for the pain?” Ryan asked, clearing his throat and snatching his hand away, rubbing the sweat on his trousers. Lester shook his head and pulled from his pocket an empty prescription bottle. “We need to get you out of here, back to the ARC. The doctors can give you some more….”
“No! I just need to rest for a moment. I’ll be perfectly all right. Stop fussing over me.”
“I’m not fussing, I’m concerned!”
“Concerned? That’s a laugh, Captain. You’ve been a bigger pain to me than this has! I don’t need your pity!”
“Jesus, Lester! Can you stop being a dick for two seconds and let me help you?”
Again that was another stupid thing to say. Lester scowled back at him. He had a reputation to maintain and Lester certainly wasn’t going to come across as weak and feeble.
“Thank you.” Lester didn’t sound grateful. “I don’t need anything further from you. That will be all. Go and join the others.”
No bloody way.
Ryan was feeling irritated again, the same riled up anger that Lester seemed to bring out in him. It would have been easy enough to leave as Lester said, but he didn’t… he couldn’t leave him like this. He picked up the cane and then began to push the chair towards the door.
Lester was having none of it. He planted his feet firmly on the floor, stopping the roll of the chair abruptly making it spin round so he was facing Ryan.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Ryan?” Lester sneered through clenched teeth. “I said, leave!”
“Sure! Okay! You know what? I don’t need to put up with this shit from you any more. I’m calling your driver to come and get you. Then, I’m off down the pub! God knows I need a bloody drink!”
Ryan pulled his phone from his pocket but before he could even dial the number, Lester lunged out, in an attempt to grab the phone, but he slipped and his hand caught Ryan’s shirt.
There was a rip.
Ryan looked down at what remained of his shirt and strangely all he could respond with was a “Huh.” He stood there feeling weird as he expected to be angry. He should have been angry… but when his gaze drifted from himself, to the torn shred in Lester’s hand and then to Lester’s face… he didn’t feel pissed off in the slightest.
Lester was staring at him. Eyes were wide with shock for a brief moment, his mouth even hung open, but the surprise quickly changed into curiosity.
What was he looking at?
“Do they still hurt?”
Ryan looked down at himself and saw the two long scars that ran across the full length of his torso.
“Do they hurt?” Lester asked again, the chair rolling closer.
Ryan could only nod. He sank down to his knees and closed his eyes, he scrunched them up tightly hoping to not remember the pain so vividly.
Not always, but yeah, there were times when they still hurt, or rather he thought they did. When he had nightmares off the attack, he would wake up and the claw marks would feel new again. They burned and seared and the pain felt physically real.
It was all in his head, really.
Lester’s hand on his chest certainly wasn’t in his head.
Soft curious fingers touched the white lines across his stomach and rose up, slowly, tentatively following the predator’s line through dark hair. A hot sweating palm rested over his heart, which was thumping fast and hard.
“I thought we were going to die.” Lester spoke softly, still only looking at Ryan’s scars. “Jess and I… I was in agony… I still am, but what I got was just a scratch compared to… to this.”
“I should have died.” Ryan responded, the words difficult to speak as he never said this to anyone. Not even his counsellors. “I…back then I wanted to. I wanted to die… I wish I had.”
His hand was still there, it wasn’t moving. Lester was still touching him. The warmth of his palm stroking over the scars made something spasm, a pleasant quiver that travelled up and down his spine.
“I’m glad you didn’t, Captain.”
Ryan was about to argue that point, as he had done to Lester so many times about so many (stupid…silly) things over the past few years. Instead his dress shirt was torn even more when he was pulled into a soft brushing kiss.
Ryan thought he might have panicked. He did, yes, but he didn’t exactly pull away from Lester either. In his shock, Ryan reacted like he had in their arguments, but instead of harsher words, it was a kiss, harder and fiercer and completely unexpected.
A hand grabbed tightly at Ryan’s head, but despite the desperation and hardness of their mouths kissing together, the strokes over his scars were tender, soothing, which Ryan repaid in kind to his boss’ own.
The scars were special. They had to be treated specially… gently. They needed to heal more and the touches they gave each other seemed to do that.
“Okay…what the hell…?” Ryan gasped for breath even though his mouth was still trying to capture Lester’s. “What… what are we doing?”
“What does it look like? Don’t ask stupid questions, now shut up, Captain, and carry on!”
“But…aren’t you in pain?” Ryan took his hand away from Lester’s wound, but immediately Lester put it back, hissing but smiling.
“A lot, but right now, you’re making it better.”
“What took you so long?”
He didn’t want to say. Though the huge grin on his face would have said plenty. So too would the ruffled hair and his still-puffy swollen lips.
Ryan slumped down onto the chair where a pint of bitter was already waiting for him. He couldn’t stop grinning even though Connor, Abby, Jess and Emily were staring at him with stunned but amused expressions on their faces.
“I was….held up.” Ryan said, taking a sip of his beer. He touched at the buttons on his jacket, making sure that they were done up and hiding the torn remains of his shirt underneath.
“Yeah… we can tell.” Abby smirked. “Matt and Becker said that the next two rounds are yours.”
He’d been gone that long? Ryan lazily turned his head to where the two other men were having a disagreement about the game of pool they were playing.
“Okay.” He shrugged his shoulders and carried on grinning.
Jess copied the grin and nudged him with her elbow.
“Tom… why are you wearing Lester’s tie?”
Huh? he thought. It’s a tie, right? It’s mine, isn’t it? Oh god… no it’s Lester’s tie.
“Yeah man…” Connor butted in. “And did someone sneeze on your dress uniform?”
Oh shit. That wasn’t snot. He really needed hide things better next time.
Ryan’s goofy grin grew wider.
Yeah. There’s going to be a next time.