Pairing/Characters: Peter Malloy, Howard Brackett; Howard/Peter
Fandom: In & Out
Word Count: 2,400
Spoilers: Only if you haven't seen the movie.
Summary: Peter goes to see Howard the evening after the graduation ceremony.
Notes/Warnings: Begun not long after I first saw the movie with stalwartspirit. Finished for the yuletide New Year Resolutions 2009 Challenge, specifically for Diana Williams. Rating for naughty activies between two men. Beta by umbralillium
Peter Malloy hadn't planned on becoming personally involved in the situation when he'd come to Greenleaf, Indiana, in search of a story to boost his ratings. Yet, somehow, the pursuit of a juicy story turned into the pursuit of a man: Howard Brackett. It became an obsession for him, getting Howard to come out of the closet when the man didn't even know he was in the closet in the first place. That was part of the reason he had kissed him. That and Howard had been so temptingly flustered and frustrated that he simply couldn't resist. It hadn't been the most mind-blowing of kisses, but that was probably due to the fact that he'd caught Howard off-guard and didn't give him a chance to respond. That's why he went to Howard's the evening after the graduation ceremony. To see how he was doing and to--hopefully--kiss him again.
"Oh, it's you." Howard's greeting was less than enthusiastic, but Peter hadn't expected the man to welcome him with open arms. "Why are you here? You have your story now. Complete with everyone's acceptance of the fact that I'm gay."
He shook his head, smiling wryly. He deserved every word. He had treated the man like a curiosity, just like all the other reporters. Granted, he'd stuck around longer than they had, but it'd had more to do with boosting his ratings than because he wanted to learn more about Howard Brackett. Really. "I'm not here for the story, Howard. I'm here for you."
"They amount to the same thing these days," Howard retorted, though his voice lacked the anger or panic Peter remembered from his previous encounters with the schoolteacher. It was strangely flat, without any emotion at all.
He missed the passion and emotion. It had made Howard look alive and in the moment, for once, instead of buried in his books. He didn't voice those thoughts, responding instead to the man's comment. "Not anymore. I sent my cameraman back to L.A."
"What do you want, then?" Howard narrowed his eyes at Peter, some emotion showing now that greatly pleased the newsman for a reason he refused to admit to himself. "What could the great Peter Malloy of Inside Entertainment possibly want with Howard Brackett, English teacher at Greenleaf High, of all people?"
He made a point of glancing up and down the quiet, empty street. He was sure more than one curtain twitched. "May I come in first?" When Howard hesitated, he added, "Unless you want all your neighbors to see us?"
"Unfortunately, that's a good point." The younger man reluctantly opened the door further and stepped aside, gesturing the older man inside.
He entered with some relief. As much as he liked being in front of the camera, there were some things that should not be public knowledge. "Thank you."
"We might as well sit down." Howard led him into the living room. He was amused to note it was meticulously neat and tidy, everything in its place and nothing out of order. "Would you like something to eat or drink?"
He shook his head, sitting down on the couch Howard indicated. "No, thank you."
Reluctantly, Howard sat as well, leaving some distance between them, though he didn't sit at the other end of the couch, which was encouraging. "Why are you here?"
"I wanted to see how you're doing." That was the truth. After the emotional roller coaster of the past week, Howard was most likely exhausted.
The schoolteacher shrugged, clasping his hands together in his lap, looking down at them. "Okay, I guess. Kind of...lost, to tell the truth."
"Why lost?" Peter suspected the answer, but he didn't think he knew the other man well enough to be right.
The sigh he received in answer contained equal parts relief, sadness, and resignation. "I just-- I don't know what to do now. I've been so focused on marrying Emily, and then denying I was gay that I have no idea what to do with myself now that the wedding's off and I have admitted that I'm gay, to myself and to the world in general."
"You could start by exploring your sexuality," Peter suggested carefully, not sure if Howard would welcome such an idea. He'd only recently accepted he was gay, after all.
The younger man gave him a look the older man couldn't quite interpret. "You mean, go out on dates? With other men?"
"Yes." Peter nodded, subtly moving closer to Howard on the couch. "That's exactly it."
The teacher flinched as if the newsman had physically hurt him. "I don't know if the town would be willing to accept that yet."
"They'll have to accept it eventually," he pointed out, now sitting so close to the other man that their thighs were pressed together. "Might as well get it over with."
Howard buried his face in his hands, taking care to keep them clear of his mouth as he answered, "Whom would I date? You're the only other gay man I know."
"I wouldn't object," Peter offered quietly and sincerely. He really wouldn't mind a chance to get to know this man with his refreshing honesty, his fondness for Barbara Streisand, and the simple gallantry that had probably been drilled into him from a young age.
Next to him, Howard froze and slowly lowered his hands, staring at Peter as if he'd suddenly turned into some sort of alien. "What?"
"I've come to like you for yourself, Howard Brackett," he told him sincerely, lightly resting his hand on the man's knee. "You're kind and generous, thinking about others so much that you don't think about yourself. Even when you were struggling with doubts, your first thoughts were for your friends, your family, and your fiancée. You didn't think of yourself at all."
A blush crept into Howard's cheeks and he glanced down, staring at Peter's hand on his knee. "That's the most sincere you've been since you first showed up here in Greenleaf."
"It's the most sincere I get, too." He subtly inched his hand higher on Howard's leg. He hid a smirk when he heard the younger man's breath hitch.
Peter removed his hand, hiding another smirk at the soft sigh of disappointment that escaped Howard. "Do you like teasing me?"
"Of course." He offered his most charming grin. "It amuses me."
Howard raised an eyebrow. "What would you do if I made a direct request?"
"That would depend on the request." He raised an eyebrow of his own, wondering where the younger man was going with his train of thought.
Still blushing, Howard hesitantly rested his hand on Peter's thigh, high enough to make his own breath hitch. "Could you show me what intercourse is like for two men?"
"It's not very different from intercourse between a man and a woman," he replied, inwardly grateful that his years in front of the camera had made it possible for him to keep his composure in almost any situation.
Howard ducked his head shyly. "I haven't even done that."
"You've never had sex at all?" Peter just barely kept his voice from cracking at the thought of being the one to show Howard the joys of sex.
His face flaming red, the schoolteacher pulled his hand away and clasped it with the other in his lap. "Forget I asked."
Shaking his head, the newsman tilted Howard's head up and kissed him softly, nothing at all like the one they'd shared by the road--had it really been just a couple days ago? After a moment, the younger man sighed against Peter's lips and shyly began to respond to the kiss. Gradually, he deepened the kiss, slowly pulling Howard closer as they shifted to press more and more of their bodies together until they were chest-to-chest. Peter could feel Howard's heart beating fast against his own chest.
Eventually, they had to pull apart to catch their breath. Though Howard tried to put some distance between them, Peter refused to let him go. After a brief struggle, the teacher gave in and leaned against the newsman, fidgeting with his lapel. "I don't know what to do, Peter. Tell me what to do."
"If you really want this, we take it at your pace, Howard," he told him, stroking his back soothingly, ignoring the ache in his groin that urged him to take this fast. That would be the quickest way to scare Howard into never exploring his sexuality. "We go as far as you'd like and no farther. You say 'stop' and I'll stop." He tilted the younger man's head up to meet his eyes. "I promise I will."
"Thank you." Howard closed the distance between their lips, the first time he'd initiated a kiss and it gave Peter encouragement to respond and carefully introduce his tongue to Howard's. The other man jumped, startled, but hesitantly responded.
They continued to kiss with increasing passion, Howard leaning more and more against Peter, who obligingly laid back until the younger man was practically sprawled on top of him. Some subtle shifting on the older man's part soon had the schoolteacher completely on top of the newsman, their hips pressed together, leaving no doubts as to the effects the kissing had had on both of them.
For his part, Peter simply arched up into the contact, moaning with pleasure. After a moment of hesitation, Howard pressed back, gasping at the sensations that move caused. He encouraged the motions, resting his hands on the other man's hips to guide their movements. Soon, they were rubbing against each other almost frantically, no longer kissing so much as gasping and moaning against each other's mouths.
Howard climaxed first, going still on top of Peter and moaning deeply. He followed suit soon after, gripping the younger man's hips tightly. They lay together on the couch, simply catching their breath. Finally, Howard moved and grimaced. "I made a mess of my underwear."
"So did I." Peter reluctantly let him sit up, making a face as his drying seed chafed against his still-softening member. "I hope you have a spare pair you can loan me?"
"You're going to leave?" Howard looked at him with surprise and worry that were quickly masked by anger. "Of course you are. I should have seen it coming. You--"
The sentence was cut off because Peter had leaned in to kiss Howard. The other man resisted for barely a second before he gave in, wrapping his arms around Peter's shoulders. When he pulled away, Howard looked a little dazed. "I didn't say I was going to leave. Just that I'll need to borrow a pair of your underwear whenever I do."
"Oh." Howard had the grace to look embarrassed that he'd jumped to conclusions. He shifted in his seat and grimaced again. "What should we do now?"
"Well, normally, I'd get out of my underwear," he admitted, watching with amusement as more color swept into the teacher's cheeks.
"Ah, yes, I suppose that would be most practical." Yet, he didn't make any move to remove his clothes, not that Peter had expected him to jump up and strip off his clothes.
"I suggest we go somewhere besides your living room if we're going to take off our clothes." He kept his voice quiet, unwilling to scare the other man.
Howard glanced at his windows, panic written all over his face. Quickly getting to his feet, he grabbed Peter's hand and led him from the room, up the stairs to what he assumed was the man's room. Light and airy, he noticed that it was just as neat and tidy as the living room had been. Even the bathrobe was carefully hung up on the back of the door instead of draped across the foot of the bed. The teacher paused by the bed, fidgeting with his belt, but not unbuckling it.
Deciding it would be best if he took the lead, Peter began to strip off his clothes. He made no effort to make a production out of it, but he didn't exactly move quickly, either. He glanced at the other man out of the corner of his eye and noted with amusement that Howard had turned his back, to give them both privacy as he, too, began to take off his clothes.
By the time he was completely nude, Howard was still wearing his undershirt and underwear. Stepping up behind him, he slipped his arms around his waist from behind, resting his hands on Howard's stomach. "Why are you being so shy? You have the same equipment I do."
"No one's seen me naked since high school," he admitted in a low voice, going very still, making no move to finish undressing. "It's a little daunting."
"It's just me, Howard." He kissed the back of his neck. "I'm not going to make any judgments. I bet your underwear is real uncomfortable right now. Don't think about it. Just take it off."
"Could you do it for me?" He was surprised by the request. "Just pull them down?"
Nodding, Peter hooked his fingers into the waistband of Howard's underwear and tugged them down. At the same time, Howard pulled off his undershirt. Now he was just as naked as Peter. Carefully, he turned the other man until he was facing him, though his eyes were tightly shut. Smiling a little, Peter wrapped his arms around Howard, pulling him close until they were pressed against each other, skin-to-skin. The sensation made the younger man's eyes pop open with surprise. "All right? Do you want to stop?"
"No, this feels good." Howard shifted experimentally against Peter.
He smiled and guided them to sit on the bed. "I'm glad you think so. I like it, too."
"Um, what's next?" Howard looked a little lost and confused.
Peter gently pulled back from the other man and lay back on the bed. "Next, you explore."
"Explore?" Howard stared at him, his eyes focused on his face. "I don't understand."
He took the other man's hand and placed it on his chest, directly over one nipple. "I think you understand more than you let on."
"I think you're right." Howard offered a hesitant smile, absently teasing Peter's nipple.
For the time being, he was content to lay back and let Howard take the lead. They had plenty of time. The night was just beginning.