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FIC: Reunion - Hotitudinosity
fiction by jalabert
jalabert
jalabert
FIC: Reunion
Title: Reunion
Author: Jalabert
Rating: Everyone
Summary: On the night of Ryan's greatest triumph, he learns that some things are bigger than his name in lights on Broadway. (Post-college, obviously)

Dedicated to elvensorceress; Happy Birthday!

"You were wonderful!" Kelsi gushed, throwing her arms around Ryan's neck and hugging him to her chest.

"You say that every time you see the show," he replied modestly. It was opening night of the revival of "Damn Yankees" and Ryan's portrayal of Joe Hardy was so brilliant he was guaranteed a Tony nomination, according to Kelsi--and every theatre critic who'd seen the show in previews. "Where's that party?" They left his dressing room together, headed for the exit.

"Mr. Evans?" the security guard called as they passed. "Someone left this for you," he said, handing Ryan a white plastic bag. Ryan opened it and peered inside, then looked up at Kelsi.

"What is it?" she asked. Ryan pulled a red baseball cap emblazoned with an "E" out of the bag.

"Did he leave any message?" Ryan asked the guard, who shook his head.

"Here," Kelsi said, bending to pick up the business card that fell out of the hat. She handed it to Ryan, who read it and blanched.

"You go on ahead without me," he said. "I've got to make a call."

"Chad?" she asked softly. Ryan nodded and stuffed the hat back into the bag. She squeezed his arm and he smiled wanly before heading back to his dressing room. He changed direction, however, when he turned the card over and saw what had been written on the back. He ducked out of the theatre through a side exit to avoid the crowd outside and hailed a cab.

**

Chad was surprised when he opened the door and saw Ryan standing there. He smiled and stepped back to allow him into his hotel room.

"I thought you'd just call. Shouldn't you be at a cast party?"

"I wanted to see you," Ryan answered bluntly, turning to look Chad over head to toe. He'd apparently just gotten back to his hotel room. His jacket was thrown on the bed and his shirt was unbuttoned. Ryan's eyes lingered on his chest for a moment before returning to Chad's face. He looked good. He looked so damned good that Ryan was tempted to reach out to him immediately, but something in Chad's demeanor stopped him. "How long will you be in town?"

"With any luck, permanently," Chad replied, reaching for the jacket to hang it up. "I'm looking at a place tomorrow. If it's as good as advertised, I'll sign a lease. If not, I guess I'll be living here a while longer."

"You're moving east? To New York?" Ryan sputtered. That was the last thing he expected to hear. "I thought your company--."

"I've changed jobs. My new company has its headquarters here in the city," he replied. "More importantly, you said that if I ever wanted to be anything more to you than a pleasant memory I'd have to man up and--."

"I said that over three years ago."

"I know. I was twenty and confused about what I'd gotten myself into," Chad replied, recalling the brief but intense affair they had over winter break. They'd seen each other three or four times since then, inevitably falling into bed--and for each other--again. They'd lied to themselves every time, insisting it was just sex, but they both knew better. Ryan's ultimatum had never been an impediment; they were inexorably drawn to each other, two irresistible forces destined to meet.

"I never thought you'd taken any of that seriously."

"So you're withdrawing your offer?"

"The offer's still good," Ryan said, suddenly feeling lightheaded. But his curiosity was piqued and he needed answers. He sat on one of the chairs and looked up at Chad. "Why now?"

Chad walked over to the small refrigerator and pulled out a couple of beers. He twisted off the cap of the first one and handed it to Ryan before opening the second one for himself.

"I don't have a ready answer for that, other than to say that it's been on my mind from the moment you said it," he confessed, after taking a long swig and sitting down on the edge of the bed. "I just woke up one day ready to step up to the plate. I was ready to own up to who and what I am. So I went home to Albuquerque and came out to my parents and the few friends that mattered. Two weeks later I got the job offer and decided to come east. Hopefully to be with you, but with or without you, I'm here to stay."

"I'm with someone," Ryan said bluntly, averting his eyes to the untouched bottle in his hand. "I--."

"I never expected you to wait forever," Chad replied, nodding slowly. "Hence the hat," he added, gesturing toward the cap Ryan had dropped onto the table when he sat down. "Consider it tossed into the ring. I'm declaring my bid. No pressure; but if things should change…" Chad rose to his feet. "He's probably expecting you to show up at that party."

"Actually, he's in Hong Kong on business."

"Then he's probably expecting a call," Chad suggested. It was clear that he wanted Ryan to leave. Ryan reluctantly rose to his feet and picked up the hat.

"I'm not in love with him," he said after a minute of tense silence. He fingered the embroidery on the hat as he spoke. "He knows that. He just doesn't know why." He raised his eyes to meet Chad's. "I don't even think I knew myself until I walked in here tonight. I'm in love with you, Chad. I think I've always been in love with you."

"Then you've got some unfinished business to attend to," Chad replied. "When you've dealt with that, you'll know where to find me." Ryan looked slightly crestfallen. Chad sighed and reached out to caress his cheek. "Don't make me say it. Not until--."

"I've been waiting for three years to hear you say it."

Chad smiled and pulled Ryan into his arms. They held each other for a long time, conveying in shared heartbeats what they weren't ready to say out loud. Until Chad pulled away, that is, and looked into Ryan's eyes. He smiled and shook his head.

"All right. I love you, Ryan Evans."

Ryan grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him into a searing kiss before Chad had a chance to protest. Not that Chad was a bit interested in resisting. But he did break off the kiss long before either man wanted it to end. They pressed their foreheads together and held each other.

"I can't believe that all my dreams are coming true on one night," Ryan said.

"Just you wait," Chad promised, lifting his head to wink at Ryan.

"Give me a week. I don't want to have that discussion over the phone."

Chad nodded.

"I'm willing to wait, Ryan," he said, taking hold of Ryan's hands. "I didn't come here to overturn your life. I just want--you."

"I'm yours." Ryan picked up his fedora, which had fallen off when he kissed Chad. He tossed it onto the bed with a flourish. "Save me that spot."

"You're leaving your hat?" Chad laughed. "Is that even legal?"

"It's okay," Ryan said, reaching for the baseball cap. "I've got a spare." He winked at Chad. "I'll call you soon."

With that, he strode to door and turned back before executing a little dance combination. He doffed his cap and bowed. For the second time that night Ryan Evans left the stage to a standing ovation.


The End

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25 comments or leave a comment
Comments
legal_prose From: legal_prose Date: February 4th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant! Oh how I've missed you! Spectacular. I loved it!!
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 5th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee! You say that as though I haven't posted five stories in the past week!


I'm glad you enjoyed this. It's been on the back burner while I was writing boy smut. ;)
(Deleted comment)
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 5th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
roseclaw From: roseclaw Date: February 4th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cute!

"You're leaving your hat?" Chad laughed. "Is that even legal?"

Never change, Chad.
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 5th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that's our dear boy.

Thanks!
christig428 From: christig428 Date: February 4th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I'm yours." Ryan picked up his fedora, which had fallen off when he kissed Chad. He tossed it onto the bed with a flourish. "Save me that spot."

I love that part. Saving his spot. *sigh*

This was wonderful.
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 5th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
*experiences deep icon envy*

Thank you!
lil_1337 From: lil_1337 Date: February 4th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was so much fun. I loved the banter and the sense of history between the two of them. Yay for Chad deciding to man up and kudos to Ryan for handling ending the other relationship in a mature and compassionate fashion.
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 5th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

I thought it was important to convey their commitment in a subtle way. I felt that showing that each of them was willing to confront difficult obstacles to their relationship accomplished that, and Ryan is too classy to just dump his old lover and run off with Chad.
darkhawkhealer From: darkhawkhealer Date: February 4th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Meep! So perfect!
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 5th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 6th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I'm glad it left you smiling. It was meant to be a feel good piece--without porn. (Trying to kick the habit...)

;)
(Deleted comment)
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 6th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
You didn't buy that either, eh? It didn't even look convincing when I typed it. ;)

Hilarious icon!
diosalicious From: diosalicious Date: February 5th, 2009 05:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't tell you how excited I got when I saw you had posted a new story. Just the perfect reward for finishing a paper. Thank you! That was a little slice of perfection. How about a three layered cake next? Just a suggestion ;)
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 6th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
It's paper season for both of us. My reward for finishing this is grading a stack of papers. That doesn't seem fair, somehow.

I'm glad you enjoyed it!
few From: few Date: February 5th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Since no one else has mentioned it: I love your choice of what show Ryan's in, given the importance of baseball to the whole foundation of this ship. :)
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 6th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I purposely chose Damn Yankees for its baseball theme! But given the average age of the Chyan fan base, it's not surprising that no one noticed.
lemon31 From: lemon31 Date: February 5th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
How very lovely indeed!
I love the little touch you added about the hat at the end.
<3
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 6th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

The hat was integral to the story, because I wanted to convey the notion that it all began with that baseball game. Ryan ended up with Chad's hat, just as he did way back before senior year.
elvensorceress From: elvensorceress Date: February 6th, 2009 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)
!!!!!!!!!!! jalabert FIC FOR MY BIRTHDAY! \o/ You are so sweet and I love you so much. Thank you, bb.

Goodness, this was lovely. There's so much story in this one little fic. I adore things like that.

Ryan opened it and peered inside, then looked up at Kelsi.
"What is it?" she asked. Ryan pulled a red baseball cap emblazoned with an "E" out of the bag.

*clutches heart* Yes, I get ridiculously happy over silly things.

His jacket was thrown on the bed and his shirt was unbuttoned. Ryan's eyes lingered on his chest for a moment before returning to Chad's face.
Heh. Yeah, Ry, I really don't blame you...

"I know. I was twenty and confused about what I'd gotten myself into," Chad replied, recalling the brief but intense affair they had over winter break. They'd seen each other three or four times since then, inevitably falling into bed--and for each other--again. They'd lied to themselves every time, insisting it was just sex, but they both knew better. Ryan's ultimatum had never been an impediment; they were inexorably drawn to each other, two irresistible forces destined to meet.
Long quote, but that's actually my favorite part of the whole piece. It's so intense and full of emotion and I really, really believe they have that kind of chemistry and would never be able to stay away from each other permanently. And you wrote it so beautifully! ♥

Oh, and also?
"More importantly, you said that if I ever wanted to be anything more to you than a pleasant memory I'd have to man up and--."
"I said that over three years ago."

*giggles* Oh, BOYS.

"I don't have a ready answer for that, other than to say that it's been on my mind from the moment you said it,"
*clutches heart again!*

"I never expected you to wait forever," Chad replied, nodding slowly. "Hence the hat," he added, gesturing toward the cap Ryan had dropped onto the table when he sat down. "Consider it tossed into the ring. I'm declaring my bid. No pressure; but if things should change…"
!!! OH, CHAD.

"I'm not in love with him," he said after a minute of tense silence. He fingered the embroidery on the hat as he spoke. "He knows that. He just doesn't know why." He raised his eyes to meet Chad's. "I don't even think I knew myself until I walked in here tonight. I'm in love with you, Chad. I think I've always been in love with you."
!!!!!!!!! AND RYAN.

"Don't make me say it. Not until--."
"I've been waiting for three years to hear you say it."
Chad smiled and pulled Ryan into his arms. They held each other for a long time, conveying in shared heartbeats what they weren't ready to say out loud. Until Chad pulled away, that is, and looked into Ryan's eyes. He smiled and shook his head.
"All right. I love you, Ryan Evans."

*FLAILS* BOYS.

"I'm yours." Ryan picked up his fedora, which had fallen off when he kissed Chad. He tossed it onto the bed with a flourish. "Save me that spot."
SO PRECIOUS.

Kay. I don't think I can do much more than continue to flail and squee at you. But really. Thank you so much. This is so, so gorgeous and just perfect. I love it to bits. Really, really love it. It's a wonderful story but it's an especially wonderful story for them (and because it was you doing the telling.)

*happysigh*

I adore you! Thank you thank you thank you!
*SMOOOSHES*
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 6th, 2009 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
So...

You liked it?

(Sorry, but I've always wanted to say that after long, gushy comment.)

I'm really glad you did! I'm frankly blown away by everyone's reaction to this story. I meant it to be a quiet little fic with an underlying emotional current. I thought it was a little too quiet, but apparently I was mistaken. I'm delighted by the response to it and most of all by your response, because I really wanted your gift to be something you'd enjoy.

Hope your birthday was fabulous.

*jazz hands*
elvensorceress From: elvensorceress Date: February 6th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
LOL. Goober. *smushes*

Loved it. :) Stories that are quiet and simple but with this undercurrent of emotional depth and intensity are probably my absolute favorites. :-D And of course I can never get enough of your Chad and Ryan.

Thank you so much for thinking about me. *gets all misty*
♥♥♥

Yay jazzhands! *shakes pompoms*
silver_fic From: silver_fic Date: February 8th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Awwwww!!! *squeak* Yay for Chad tossing his hat into the ring, with a literal hat, made just for Ryan ^__^
jalabert From: jalabert Date: February 8th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
It wasn't exactly made for Ryan. It's supposed to be Chad's East High cap, although I didn't bother to look at it to make sure my description was accurate. Whatever... I'm glad you enjoyed it. Who could resist an offer like that? ;)
silver_fic From: silver_fic Date: February 8th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, well, that was also a possibility, and makes more sense for the whole tossing His hat into the rings, I just saw the E and assumed,
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