Fandom: MLB - Giants
Rating: R, non-graphic sex
Characters: Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito.
Dedication: lastcatastrophe, for her, umm, encouragement. I would have been upset writing this, except that once you've written Derian Hatcher pr0n, pretty much nothing else upsets you ever again.
Disclaimer: It's all lies!
Summary: Tim Lincecum adjusts to life in San Francisco, and other things.
Author's Notes: Teatro is Italian for theatre.
Lincecum was on his hands and knees staring at Zito's beige carpet when he decided that he didn't quite like what was happening.
It wasn't the pain that bothered him. Zito was obviously used to being slow and gentle, like he'd done this a million times before. Tim bit his lip and kept quiet, looking down, his fingertips pressing dents into the boring carpet, blandly tasteful just like everything else in Zito's house. He'd signed away surfing in his contract, and maybe he'd signed away other parts of himself to go along with it.
Zito was moving more quickly now, hot sharp breaths exhaled against the nape of Tim's neck. He tensed his back, turning himself into a statue, going into stasis so he could feel like he wasn't really there. He hated this; he hated giving pleasure without taking any himself, and he vowed he would never do it again; not for Zito, not for anyone.
Thankfully, it didn't take all that long, and he let Zito roll him over slowly onto his back afterwards, lying on him face to face and kissing him. Tim was in game mode, calm and stone-faced, thinking about his command and his delivery and his stuff between kisses, and his palms were still pressed against the carpet because he couldn't bear to touch Zito.
"Was this your first time?" he whispered into his ear, as if he didn't already know the answer.
"Yes," Tim said softly, and it felt like Zito was smiling into his shoulder.
"You did good," he murmured, and Tim could almost hear the echoes of all the times Zito had said that before to all the other boys who had been lying in his position.
Zito was warm and heavy on him, skin damp with sweat and it started to feel like he was crushing him, like he was getting denser and Tim would slowly suffocate, his lungs no longer able to expand. The taste in his mouth told him he was going to throw up, and he pushed Zito off him, hands burning at the touch.
"I have to go." He gathered his clothes, feeling Zito's eyes burning into his back as he got dressed. How many times had this scene played out for him? Tim wondered, imagining that Zito was smirking, smug about how easy it had been, how easy it would be.
Tim finished buckling his belt and started to walk out of the room, but when he reached the doorway, Zito called his name. He turned around and he faced Zito, eyes shining in the shadows. Tim thought he saw his lips curl into a smile, but the dark tricks your eyes and makes you think that everything is moving.
"What?" he asked, his voice sounding a little older than it was before.
"Welcome to San Francisco."
"Hey, can I call you when I get back to my hotel? I'm driving right now." Tim was going slow, unnerved by the hills he was navigating through; the slopes were another variable, dipping and rising like low-thrill roller coasters. Once he'd driven up to what seemed like the edge of a cliff, and the yellow and black sign that declared HILL didn't do much to counteract the sensation that he was about to plummet to his death. His stomach lurched as he eased his car down the hill, braking past the concrete steps that were there in place of the sidewalk, telling himself it isn't as bad as it looks.
"Oh, uhh, I was just about to go to sleep. It's pretty late and I have to get up early for work."
"Right," he said distractedly, wondering about the stubbornness of the people who built the city, that they would lay their roads where they pleased, hills be damned.
"I called you earlier, left a couple of messages." Unspoken questions and accusations were concealed in his voice, and this wasn't what Tim needed, feeling filthy in his clothes and fleeing from Zito's house to the safety of his hotel room.
"Sorry, my phone was off. I was at a bar with some of the guys."
"I miss you, it's still tough to fall asleep sometimes, you know? Sleeping alone."
Tim eased into an intersection and almost got broadsided by a furiously honking yellow taxi, braking just in time for it to swerve and avoid him. He had yet to learn that some intersections were two-way intersections disguised as four-way intersections, and that signs were often hidden by overhanging branches, so you couldn't depend on those. You had to learn from experience, and remember that the shiny metal cable car tracks were king.
"So don't," Tim said, heart in his throat.
"Don't joke about that, Timmy. It's not funny."
"It'll become funny if I say it more. Repetition leads to humour." The streets were level now, and there was more traffic. He'd joined the herd of migrating cars and he felt safe.
A pause and then a sigh. "I gotta go to sleep now, just wanted to hear your voice tonight. I love you."
"I love you too," Tim said without hesitation, disappearing into the stream of headlights that flowed through the city, trying to find home.
Zito was lying naked on his side, one arm curled over his pillow, regarding Tim with the lazy watchfulness of a cat.
"You don't have to go, you know?" he said languidly, slowing Tim down with his voice.
"You want me to stay? Feed you some grapes?" He turned away and pulled his shirt over his head.
"Something like that." Zito yawned. "I'm thirsty. Get me a beer, and get one for yourself."
Tim scowled, but he went down to the kitchen anyway and grabbed a couple of Sierra Nevadas from the fridge. He was used to broken promises - both promises made to him and promises made by him - but he was sure he'd never broken a promise to himself before. The fridge was covered in shiny chrome and the face of a liar stared back at him when he closed the door.
But I have a reason, he argued, pointlessly.
Zito was in the same pose when Tim returned to the bedroom. The only illumination in the room came from streetlights glowing softly through the window and faint light from the hallway. Zito liked fucking in the dark, maybe the better to blur everyone together so he didn't have to know who they were.
Tim offered a bottle to him and he snaked his fingers around the neck, tilting some beer into his mouth. He grabbed Tim's wrist with his other hand and pulled him down for a kiss to accompany the beer.
"Now, how about those grapes?" he asked with mock seriousness, and Tim thought that perhaps he'd stab him in the back instead.
"Hey Timmy, it's me. Got some cherry lemonade at the coffee shop today and I thought of you. It was really good--you're missing out. Guess I'll talk to you later."
"Hey Timmy, did you get my message yesterday? You never seem to pick up anymore. Is everything okay? Call me back. Please."
"Timmy, I'm getting a little worried about you. I just want to know if you're okay. If something's wrong, you know you can tell me. Please, just... just call. I love you."
Tim erased all of his messages.
"Leave them on," Tim said, swatting Zito's arm away from the light switch and giving him a shove towards the bed. Annoyed, Zito reached for the switch again but Tim had already moved his body to block the way. He stood there defiantly as Zito's eyes narrowed and grew flinty.
"Leave them on," he repeated. "I want to see you." I want you to see me.
Zito grabbed Tim by the shoulders and pushed him aside, but instead of turning the lights off, he steered him to the bed, and Tim's pulse raced. Zito was out of the shadows now, out of his element, and that meant he was different now, malleable, the Zito who could be, not the Zito who was. He shoved Tim hard onto the bed and Tim undid his pants hurriedly, kicking them off, but Zito didn't follow suit; he just stayed still, his face hovering a few inches above Tim's, watching him lick his lips nervously.
"Have you seen enough?" he asked, sounding impatient, and Tim mouthed "no", cupping the back of his head and pulling him down for a deep kiss. Zito was still fully clothed, and he wasn't making any move to change that. Tim could feel Zito tense above him, wary and skittish even though he was the one on top, the one in control. He slipped his hand into Zito's pants and that broke the spell; he lost his clothes in a hurry, and then he was hungrier than he'd ever been before, and Tim had to bite back screams, grabbing handfuls of the sheets so tightly he thought his fingers might rip holes in them.
He stared up at Zito, watching his expression change, hearing his voice change, feeling everything change.
Tim opened the email and skimmed its contents, his expression blank. The phone calls had stopped by this point, and he knew that concern for him hadn't been the true motivation for them. He was there in the dugout every night in the presence of tens of thousands of people, and visible to yet more on television, all of whom could see that he was fine. No, asking if you're okay really meant are we okay and that question was certainly elaborated on at length in the message.
He kept scrolling down, reading parts of sentences here and there, isolated patches of anger, frustration, hurt and confusion. He stopped there, at confusion, reading the questions that he didn't have answers for and he closed his eyes briefly, thinking about home and the mountains and kisses sprinkled with rain. He hadn't meant to reply to the email, but now he thought he should explain. His fingertips were light on the keyboard as he typed his response:
Tim sent the email, closed his laptop, and went to bed.
Zito stood on the deck, staring out over the houses and trees to the ocean, cold and dark in the distance. Tim came up behind him and wrapped his arms around his waist from behind, brushing his lips across his shoulder. It was cold and windy, and they were both naked aside from the towels wrapped around their waists, but they stayed out there like that, neither willing to admit defeat to the elements.
"Good waves in Pacifica tomorrow," Zito said, and Tim felt him slump a little, his back pressing harder against Tim's chest for a moment.
He turned around, reluctantly letting their pocket of heat escape and quickly pulling Tim into a tight hug, their faces so close together their noses were almost touching. Zito kissed him slowly, and a gust of wind made Tim shiver involuntarily because he was still young and skinny and he wasn't ready for a San Francisco summer night. Zito knew this, and he opened the sliding door, leading him back inside.
"I didn't think it would be this hard," he said, sitting down on the couch with a sigh. Tim wasn't sure if he was talking about surfing, or going to a new team, or about the season, or maybe even just being there, in that moment. He dropped his towel on the floor and tugged Zito's open, straddling him slowly and deliberately, encouraged by Zito's gasps and moans.
"Do I make things easier?" Tim asked, smoothing Zito's hair back, running the back of his hand along his cheek gently. He could feel his pulse throb along his throat, and Zito reached between his legs almost absently, like it was a ritual he'd performed hundreds of times before.
"No," came the answer, then "yes" as Tim pushed down, and both answers were right.
Tim didn't get a reply to his email, but he didn't expect one. He hadn't received any phone calls either, and that was fine too.
He'd found an apartment in the city, now that it was clear he was there to stay, and after seeing a few places, he picked the one on the hill. It wasn't even the one that he liked the best--that was the one in the sunny neighbourhood (Zito had told him all about the sunny neighbourhoods and the foggy neighbourhoods) with the small garden in the back and wild parakeets in the trees. There were good restaurants and a supermarket nearby, and beautiful people out walking their dogs or babies.
But it was the apartment in the shaded building on the hill that attracted him the most, with the ivy climbing up the walls, the wizened apple tree in the back, and the quiet view of the city below. Try as he might, Tim just couldn't explain why that was the one he wanted.
Zito had given up four runs in the first inning that day, but that was okay because Tim had been hammered for six in the first two innings the day before. He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling of his hotel room as Tim took care of him, mostly eager, not quite skilled. This was a change for him; usually Zito was instructing him somehow, either telling him what to do, or guiding him with his hands, his hips. Tonight he was just lying there, though, silent except for the occasional sharp breath, hands resting by his side.
They were both drunk, but usually that made Zito talk even more. About his sister, his guitar playing and his godawful songs, his grandfather, a general under Mussolini and all of his war stories, filtered by Zito's memory and imagination and whatever he'd had to drink that night, the girl who broke his heart when he was 12, the boy who broke his heart (and his stereo) when he was 16, the way watching shooting stars sometimes made you feel less like a human and more like a part of the universe, how you can never ever take a first time back, and that giving someone your trust is just giving them more to betray you with.
Tim wasn't quite sure what to make of this, Zito not being himself, so he just used what he'd learned, what Zito liked, lessons burned into his brain, and he crawled up when he was done to lie by his side. He was a little scared, thinking about his mechanics, and how they had failed him. Nothing to panic about, he knew, he just had to focus and everything would come back. He'd always been able to succeed in the end. Always.
Zito kissed him, no smile, no honeyed words, and Tim felt like they were finally being left alone, ghosts from the past moving on, fading away, dissolving into nothing.
"Hey, Tim. I'm calling to tell you that I'm coming to San Francisco to see you. I don't know what happened, if I did anything to upset you, or... or if you found someone else. But I want another chance, I want to see if we have anything worth saving. I know that you--we'll talk when I get there, okay? I'll be there in a couple of days."
Tim listened to the message, looking out the window of his new apartment, watching the twinkling lights of the homes across the water go out, one by one.
"I didn't think you'd come back," Zito confessed, sipping coffee from a black mug, bathed in the harsh light of the morning sun.
"When?" Tim wriggled a little in his bathrobe, waiting for his coffee to cool down enough to drink. He wondered if Zito had a tongue made of asbestos.
"After that first time." Zito sipped some more from his mug and Tim thought that he must have burned his tongue over and over again, slowly building up an immunity to heat, or perhaps just burned all his taste buds off, and simply didn't feel anything anymore.
"I didn't think I would either," he said, pausing to choose his words. "I couldn't keep away."
Zito was halfway through his coffee and Tim was starting to brave small sips. The bitter taste woke him up, shocked him, made him aware that he still wasn't quite comfortable in his own skin when he was around Zito, and perhaps would never be. There were parts of Zito that could hide in broad daylight, that could make their own shadows, and you never knew what they were going to do.
"I lied," Tim said, offering up his confession in return.
Zito raised an eyebrow and asked, "You lied? About what?"
But Tim didn't answer, the words trapped by his mind before they could reach his mouth, and he took Zito's hand in his own, rubbing his thumb over Zito's knuckles like they were rosary beads. Tim knew that this was the closest he would ever get to him, this uneasy truce, that this was the least deceptive he could be. He knew that too much had built up around Zito's heart, rubble and debris from broken promises and too many goodbyes, and this was all it could muster.
"What did you lie about?" Zito asked again, eyes narrowing, suspicion taking hold.
Tim smiled sweetly, leaned forward, kissed him and whispered, "Everything."
He was sitting on the front steps when Tim came home. No suitcase, no overnight bag, nothing; it didn't speak to his optimism being high, and neither did the expression on his face. Tim stopped his car in the driveway and got out, unsure of what to do, knowing that a hug was out of the question. He reeked of that airplane smell, the stench that lodges itself in every fibre of clothing and settles in your hair and skin, and he looked profoundly tired, dark circles under his eyes, cheeks pale and sickly.
Tim let him in, went back out to park his car in the garage and came up to the living room, where he found him sitting in the bay window, staring out across the water. Tim pulled up a chair and sat by him, looking down at his hands, cataloguing every speck of dirt under his fingernails.
"You were my first everything, you know? Before you, I thought... I thought nobody would ever want me. Not anybody I liked, anyway. You changed all of that."
"I didn't know," Tim mumbled. "I didn't know until after, when you told me."
"You said you loved me--why did that change?" He looked right at Tim, and he knew then that he hadn't come to try to save their relationship, he had come for some kind of closure, a post-mortem of sorts, a forensic investigation to retrace the steps that led to the end.
"You changed," Tim said, his tone devoid of accusation.
He denied that hotly, and that opened the floodgates; accusations, confessions, frustrations, couldn't sleep for days, didn't eat, couldn't stop thinking about why, broke things, burned things, listened to the same song until it drove his mother crazy, missed classes, failed tests, and the list went on, but Tim barely responded, and eventually he wore down, couldn't break anymore.
"You shattered who I am," he said finally, and when he saw that Tim didn't react, didn't care, that was all he needed to know.
Tim liked driving in San Francisco now. He liked coasting down the hills, especially down Franklin because the lights were timed, and you could cover the stretch in one continuous sweep of green. He liked going down steeper sections too, like the slope where his apartment was. It was all about getting comfortable, he learned, and you could grow to be comfortable with just about anything.
He had gotten over his struggles, just like he knew he could, and being called "Franchise" fit well, even though hearing it always brought an aw shucks expression to his face. Zito hadn't quite bounced back the way Tim did, but he thought too much, was distracted by the things that he couldn't control.
Tim checked his messages and there was one from Zito, asking him to come over, but he didn't really see the point in doing it anymore. He had been in Zito's life long enough to become part of it; priest to listen to his confessions that could never be shared with anyone else, healer who built up his strength when he was weak, whore when it wasn't words that he needed.
There was nothing Tim couldn't do, couldn't get, once he decided he wanted it, and that had been proved again and again over the years. And then it was on to the next challenge, to bigger and better things to keep himself sharp, making sure that he was always hungry for more.
He took his clothes off, getting ready for bed, but walked over to the bedroom window instead, the one that overlooked the city. He opened the window, standing strong against the chill that rushed in, and took in a deep breath of crisp air. It filled his lungs, invigorating him, and the next day couldn't come soon enough; there were so many new things to learn and improve on and master. The only thing he'd ever been afraid of losing was time, and luckily, he still had quite a bit of that ahead of him.
Lincecum closed his eyes for a moment, listening to the quiet hum of traffic in the distance, then he opened them, and looked down upon the city that was now his.