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Author: Indy Baggins
Title: If Roses are meant to be red…
Pairing: Greg/Ryan
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Sixteen years after they met, Greg realizes he’s never let himself want anything quite as much as he wanted Ryan.
Author’s comments: This was my NaNoWriMo novel for 2006. The story of Greg and Ryan has for me, at its core, always been a love story. Needy, fucked up love, sure, but love none the less. And this is my attempt at telling their story, from the moment Greg met Ryan until the moment he let him go.

Beta-duty is done by Clay, for which she deserves many roses *smiles*

Chapter One
Chapter Two

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

He got his answer later that night when he was in costuming, chatting away with one of the make-up girls, and was suddenly approached by a man in his middle-thirties with a sweet and timid look to him.

“Hello,” Greg had said questioningly, letting the question of “who the fuck are you and why are you bothering me” lustily shine through. “Hi,” the man had replied, and then, non-phased, walked up closer, extended his hand and said “I’m Colin, and we’re eh… performing together later?”

And at that, Greg smiled. He had been mulling over the idea of Colin, the man who apparently meant so much to Ryan he’d ditch all of them for him, in his head all day and to have the guy right there, introducing himself so politely (‘must be a Canadian thing,’ he thought) was both nice and intriguing.

“So, Colin…” (Greg looked him over, all the way from his tan shoes to the slightly-balding head) “you’re a friend of Ryan’s?” He hadn’t meant anything more with that question, since that was about everything he knew about the guy, but Colin seemed to take it defensively, his expression hardening, and readily gave a slightly-too-fast reply about how he had been with Second City as well, had done a couple shows before and now was signed on for most of the week of tapings. Greg wondered about that, sensing some kind of contradiction there, but never got his chance to ask anything more as the man in question, Ryan, stepped in the room and everything else seemed just that less important.

If at all possible, Ryan looked even better and more inviting now than he had a year ago. His hair was shorter, no longer curly and long in the back but more like Greg’s, trimmed and spiky. His sense of fashion was still plain awful, he wore a shirt and tie combination that made him look like a woodsman, but his smile was radiant and real, and Greg couldn’t help but return it.

Right when he wondered if they had time for a cigarette, the producer entered and ushered them all out to the stage. He could tell by the way Ryan looked at him and momentarily touched his upper arm when passing by he must have been thinking something along the same lines, which made him instantly feel better. At least nothing seemed to be changed between them.

But, as the show started, he immediately sensed a difference in Ryan. Instead of sitting back, relaxed, Ryan’s leg was now bopping up and down in a nervous pattern that he would grow to be very familiar with, but right then it was an anomaly. Why was he nervous now when he so obviously hadn’t been with any of the previous shows? He also seemed a lot more engaged in what was going on on stage when he wasn’t on it. Greg tried to catch his eye a couple times, but they seemed glued to what Colin was doing on there, a serious, studious expression on his face. Was he worried for him?

He knew that Colin was good friend of Ryan’s (courtesy of Brad, who had apparently been Ryan’s stand-in at some point, and surprisingly forthcoming when treated to a couple beers in the hotel lounge); were they just good friends or more maybe?

As he looked at Colin, he deemed it improbable; he looked very kind, but not in the slightest bit attractive. Still, Ryan seemed to act as if he owed Colin something, his attention when needed, his unfaltering support, and it kind of bugged Greg.

As soon as he started playing scenes with Colin, though, his respect for the man grew. He might not have showed much of a personality, but he certainly was a great improv talent. Where Ryan tended to be in control of the scene for you, ready to steer away from everything unwanted and towards everything unexpected, Colin seemed to prefer to let him lead. But when he did go somewhere with an idea, it was usually utterly insane and with an intelligent, abstract kind of humor that left Greg (and the audience) baffled at several occasions.

When Ryan and Colin did a couple scenes together, he watched them closely and what he saw there made him feel more at ease in a way. It was painfully obvious they had played together many, many times, seamlessly taking over each other’s rhythms and lines of thought, but, where Colin seemed to be the one initiating some sexual innuendo or touching, Ryan kept a respectful, even guarded distance. ‘Ryan did something to him… something that he’s trying to make up for,’ Greg intuitively decided, determined to, at some point, find out what.

While that last thought might have served as a bit of a warning, it really accomplished the opposite. Greg quite simply wanted Ryan, right that evening if at all possible, and felt no hesitation about making that fact quite clear. When there was a joke about something swallowing something other, he turned to Ryan and whispered a comment in his ear that made him crack up and Colin throw a curious look in their direction. During breaks, as Ryan sipped his water glass or seemed lost in thought, he reached out and tapped his arm with the back of his hand, making a snide, crude or sexual comment that had Ryan laughing heartily and his eyes shining.

All underlying currents aside, they were good that evening, and they all knew it. The audience was crazy, Clive threw them little glances littered with pride and amusement, and they themselves were quick on their feet, fast and witty, urged on by what Greg hoped wasn’t too obviously sexual energy.

After the show he immediately went for his dressing room and felt both pleased and anxious when Ryan, without even a second glance to Colin, followed him. He felt hot, radiating body heat from performing under the warm stage lights, and still buzzing with the pleasant tension performing always gave him. He reached for the bottle of scotch he had left in his dressing room (not that he had ever really liked scotch, but that was beside the point) and poured two glasses while he heard Ryan close the door behind them.

He handed one glass to Ryan, who seemed to be over-heated as well, a slight blush to his otherwise unreadable face. Greg raised his glass in the air in a silent toast, and then drank, thinking he might need the courage. Ryan, however, just laughed, put the glass aside and grabbed Greg’s tie, giving it an experimental pull, lights in his eyes. Greg snorted then too, laughing at the mere absurdity of it, and then Ryan’s mouth met his in a hard and fast kiss.

Breaking apart, Greg snickered and commented “missed me much?” Ryan laughed but didn’t reply as he pulled him into another kiss, softer this time.

When it dwindled to just the two of them standing close, Ryan took a step away, and Greg, eager not to let him get away, suggested “why don’t we skip the bar tonight?” Ryan seemed torn for a moment but then agreed and, after a brief stop at his own dressing room, followed Greg into the night air.

Where the London studios gave away to nothing but a quiet parking lot, the New York ones were situated right on a busy boulevard, and they had to navigate red lights, boardwalks and hoards of people before finally getting to a quieter side street, one where they could talk.

They caught up quickly, Ryan telling him with obvious pride about his daughter and how she had recently taken her first steps until Greg uncomfortably changed the subject. Greg was in the middle of his retelling the fabulous tale of how Clive had gotten high on the plane with him, knowing that Ryan could keep a secret, when they entered the hotel lobby.

Walking through the revolving doors, Ryan accidentally triggered some mechanism that stopped the thing and nearly fell face-first into the glass wall, causing Greg to snort. Playfully hurt, Ryan pushed Greg to his own side of the glass, which caused it to stop moving again, only this time there was a small opening into the lobby where Ryan slipped through, already five steps away before Greg realised he was being invited to chase him.

As soon as he did, Ryan looked back, laughed, and started running, his long legs carrying him through the lobby in fast strides. Greg tried to follow, but already a couple paces behind and just not as an athletic runner as Ryan was, he made it to the door reading “stairs” just in time to hear Ryan’s footsteps echoing on the stairway, undoubtedly well on their way to the third floor. Mentally cursing his “all smoke no exercise” life-style, Greg cracked it up a notch and started running up the stairs, taking three at once, and when Ryan briefly stumbled in between floors he gained on him significantly, almost able to grab Ryan’s leg before he was scrambling up and running up again.

At the third floor, Ryan swung the door open and then shut behind him, nearly hitting Greg in the face. He blocked the impact with his hands and thundered through, confusedly looking left and right for where Ryan had gone, not seeing him anywhere. Suddenly, he was being banged against the door by the strength of Ryan’s full body, who breathlessly exclaimed “Got you,” before leaning in and locking him into a fast, dire kiss with lots of tongue, Greg still gasping for breath and seeing spots in between.

The kiss, although doing nothing to calm his breathing or the insistent thumping of his heart, made him forget all about the fact that he was supposed to be pissed at Ryan for making him sprint up all those stairs, or for pouncing on him in the hallway like a horny teenager… Hazily thinking of nothing else but the feeling of Ryan’s lips on his, he looked up, and, suddenly noticing that the hallway was not exactly empty, gave Ryan a panicked push, who didn’t get the clue right away.

He had to yelp “Ryan!” to get him to stop and look up to see the elderly couple standing near the elevator doors, the husband pointedly looking away, repeatedly pressing on the “up” button, while the wife had flushed a faint scarlet and was staring at them open-mouthedly. Greg, not daring to look at Ryan, moved away from the door and started walking towards his own room; when Ryan caught up with him, giving him a grin that confirmed he wasn’t embarrassed in the least, and as Greg turned around and yelled “Sorry!” while the couple was disappearing into the elevator, Ryan laughed loudly.

They stumbled into Greg’s hotel room, not completely recovered yet from what had just happened, Ryan laughing, Greg quietly snickering, sweating and out of breath from the running, cracking up over the thought of having shown two people something they probably had never seen before. When they fell onto the bed together it was almost out of habit, back from the days in London where they spent endless hours watching TV together, commenting on the games and getting drunk on Guinness with Tony.

As Greg lay on his back on the bed, recounting “…and she was looking at us so completely clueless…” Ryan suddenly lurched over him, eyeing him with what he supposed was lust or expectation and he stopped mid-sentence, instantly forgetting what he had been saying.

Instead of Ryan kissing him again, however, Ryan’s hands were at the side of Greg’s face, gently lifting his glasses off. He stopped Ryan’s movement with his hand, suddenly feeling uncharacteristically vulnerable, and quipped. “I tend to need those” In reply Ryan shook his head, smiled and said “no you don’t,” before placing them on the nightstand.

When he let Ryan do so without protesting about it further, he should have known he was in over his head. Instead he unexpectedly noticed how there were little flecks of green in Ryan’s eyes up close, and how luscious his hair felt to rake his fingers through. How bony Ryan’s shoulders felt to touch, and how he could feel the outline of his spine when his hands traveled over his back, on to cup his ass...

And then Ryan’s teeth nipped his neck, and he was focused in the moment again, suddenly concerned with undoing Ryan’s tie tossing it beside the bed and unbuttoning his shirt, so it hung open over him, revealing a lean torso, countable ribs but a surprisingly soft stomach, where, when he ran his fingers across it, Ryan seemed to be ticklish, squirming a little. He smiled, and Ryan grinned back and sat up, shrugging off his shirt and stepping out of his pants and shoes. He seemed to be aware of Greg watching him, but little concerned with the fact, instead patiently waiting until Greg did the same.

Greg, a firm and cheeky believer in first (second?) impressions, made more of a show of it though, carefully revealing inch by inch of his thigh, taking off his shirt with a swoosh, leaving nothing on but the ragged little bracelets on his arm. He could see Ryan had appreciated it, sitting on the edge of the bed, vaguely touching himself with his eyes trained on Greg, intense and hungry.

Fully naked now, Greg moved on the bed to sit behind Ryan and to swat his hand away and run his warm fingers across the soft skin of Ryan’s dick (Ryan sucked in a sharp breath), to feel Ryan’s back against his chest, breathe in his scent. They stayed that way for a while, Greg slowly fisting Ryan’s dick while rubbing himself against Ryan’s lower back, building up friction. He was breathing hot breaths into Ryan’s neck, listening to all the breathy sounds Ryan made that he had missed the first time. He whispered with a deep delight “you like that” into Ryan’s ear, and felt him tense up in return. He had known Ryan was getting close, and he had no problem with bringing him off like that; the night was still young after all, but then Ryan suddenly pushed his hands off and got up, looking flushed and aroused, and went through his pants on the floor, returning with a condom and some lube.

Greg smiled. He had been secretly wishing for something better from Ryan, the feeling of being surrounded, overwhelmed, one that he sought for in every one-night stand, the feeling of a strong, straining man pinning him down, forcing him to take it, sweat building up between them… He grabbed Ryan and pulled him on top of him, and he appreciated it when Ryan, looking determined now, immediately went lower, a second later slowly pressing a lubed finger into him, and he tensed up, swallowing and then instructing “fuck, Ryan… hurry up”. Ryan laughed and obliged, adding a second finger and, as soon as he could, a third.

Greg moaned as Ryan entered him, something about “god…” and “fuck…” and multiple times “Ryan!” and then Ryan moved and he saw stars behind his eyelids, after a few thrusts violently coming over the both of them, Ryan pounding away in him, Greg meeting every thrust, and then Ryan yelled out too, coming in suppressed shudders.

They stayed together for a while, and then each rolled onto their backs, Ryan flinging the condom to the floor.

Greg, not wanting to keep his mouth shut, remarked to the ceiling “Well, I suppose that was…” “Yeah,” Ryan replied from next to him, a sated smile in his voice. They looked at each other for a long moment, not quite smiling but their eyes glittering, until Greg averted his eyes to the nightstand, his voice only slightly unsteady when he asked “cigarette?”

They had sex once more that night, afterwards lying sleepily moulded together on the edge of the bed, Greg on his side and Ryan half-over him, legs tangled together and with the sheets, Ryan absently playing with the bracelets of Greg’s arm. Greg, his face in the pillows, stretched his fingers to graze over Ryan’s mouth, blindly tracing it’s contours, until Ryan slowly opened his mouth and sucked his fingers in, lazily lapping them with his tongue before letting go, softly smiling into the dark.

They fell asleep like that, Greg uncomfortably squashed, and he should have moved, he thought, but he didn’t quite have the heart, and as he listened to Ryan’s steady, calming breathing, eventually he fell asleep too.


As Josie’s electronic voice nasally sounds through the speaker; he starts, she sounds so achingly familiar right then, so much like a far-away home that he has to do a double take on the fact that he’s actually in London. He doesn’t know what to say, so he just says “Josie,” a one-word confirmation of what she is to him, where she is, that he needs her, all of the above. He can hear her gasp through the static, and when she tells him to stay put it doesn’t occur to him to reply.

When she throws open the door, he can tell she must have hurried; her breathing is fast, her hair messy and untied. She’s still in her pyjama’s, and that’s when he realises it’s too early still to wake somebody, that he shouldn’t have, really, but as he notes her red-rimmed eyes he knows she must not have been sleeping either.

They stand in the doorway for a startlingly long moment. He can tell she wants to reach out, hug him, but there must be something in his face that tells her not to because after a second’s hesitation she steps back and lets him pass by.

He follows her up to her apartment, and she makes him tea, gives him dry clothes and then prepares some sort of sandwich that Greg eats without tasting. Somehow they manage to do all that without really looking at each other, without either of them acknowledging the abstract quality of the day, the surreal feeling of sudden and sharp instants of hurt, buried between thousands of seconds when there just seems to be nothing, no color, no taste, no use for the moment, just time passing by. When Greg gets ready to leave, they haven’t spoken about it, yet, but they both seem somewhat better for it.

“Where will you go?” she asks, her eyes deep brown and compassionate, and he shakes his head, eyes on the floor when he lies “No fucking clue.”

“Oh,” she says, and he knows that she wants to ask him to stay, to sleep on her sofa or maybe in her bed with her until they can both figure this out, until their world goes back to being one where there’s never silence, one where they love to bicker and fight together, never shutting up even when Ryan asked them to.

Ryan… Greg hisses in a breath trough his teeth, and is back on his feet before she can ask anything else. “Thanks Josie,” he says, and this time he means it. She bites back some tears, and then his arms are around her and she is crying into his jacket, with short, hitching movements. He doesn’t say anything to comfort her, and when she lets go he turns around and leaves, knowing she doesn’t mind that he does.


He was woken up immediately when Ryan left the bed, but pretended to sleep on. He knew from experience there was nothing he could have said that wouldn’t have been awkward anyway. He could hear Ryan scramble to find his clothes and put them back on in the semi-dark, but didn’t offer to turn on the light, and he didn’t open his eyes until he heard the quiet click of the door being closed.

He blinked a couple times and then reached for the nightstand, flicking on the light and, with the memory of Ryan taking them away from him, put his glasses back on. After a minute, he got up and turned on the TV, and he spent the next hour staring at the flickering, bluish light of a repeat newscast with the sound on low, drinking some whiskey from the mini-bar, smoking cigarette after cigarette although it was technically a non-smoking room.

When he went back to sleep he felt conflicted, his sleep light and fitful, only getting deep towards the morning. It was almost nine when he was woken by a phone call from Clive, (who had a strange sense of politeness that included never banging on his door before noon, although Greg suspected he must have been tempted at least a couple times) and asked him if he wanted to come along to some art festival during the day.

Eyeing the condoms on the floor while tuning out Clive’s voice, he absently agreed to whatever it was he wanted to do and put the phone back in the receiver. He felt strangely drained and elated at the prospect of another day. He took a long, hot shower (not thinking of Ryan, not at all), and then went to join the others for a late breakfast of some toast and black coffee.

When he claimed “hang-over” nobody questioned him.

Chapter Four...

mood: tired
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