Hope Over Experience

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by templemarker

Notes: I’ll be honest, a lot of this was spawned from thoughts I had after reading sparky77’s fantastic story, Rudy’s Guide to Auras and Fair Game Play and talking with marcolette about what, exactly, non-platonic Rudy/Pappy would look like. For the GK Porn Skirmish prompt “noble intentions.”


“I don’t know about all this gay shit, Rudy,” Pappy said without certainty, sitting on the patio of Rudy’s house in Los Angeles, a cigarette half-burned in his tanned hand. The sound of kids playing down the street mixed with the weird ambient shit Rudy liked to listen to, but it wasn’t bad noise all put together.

Pappy watched Rudy cut tomatoes and peppers and garlic through the glass of the sliding door. Rudy was wearing sweatpants that pooled around his bare feet and a white a-shirt that didn’t do much to hide all the shit he was packing. Not that he had ever much been interested in hiding it. “If I can be more in my body, I can be more in my life,” was his saying, and Pappy had the damn thing memorized backwards and forwards.

“What do you mean, brother?” Rudy asked as he sliced a yellow pepper, throwing the stems and seeds into the sink.

“Like, you know. The sex and stuff. I’m not too sure I can do all that business with the dicks, the gay shit.” Pappy took a sip off his drink, vodka and some organic kool-aid bullshit that was all Rudy had in the house. He tapped off his cigarette before taking a good drag off it. Rudy hated that he smoked; he never asked Pappy to stop, but his mouth always did this tightening thing when Pappy lit up. It looked strange on him, the displeasure around his eyes out of place.

Rudy put down the knife and grabbed a kitchen towel, wiping his hands off on it as he walked out to the patio. “We don’t have to do all the gay shit, Pappy,” Rudy said in his incredibly sensible voice. “No more than what we already do, anyway.”

Pappy frowned. “Whaddaya mean, what we already do?”

Rudy smiled, and stretched a hand out to touch Pappy’s face. Pappy stilled, feeling Rudy’s fingers run over his jaw, feeling the places he’d missed when he was shaving that morning, moving lightly over his mouth, up against the ridge of his nose. Rudy rested two fingers briefly on Pappy’s forehead, and Pappy felt something thrum through him for a second before Rudy pulled them back. He smelled like bell peppers and faded sweat.

“Oh,” Pappy said, letting his cigarette rest in the ashtray he’d bought that afternoon when they walked down by Venice Beach, smoldering slightly. “Well. I mean, that stuff’s okay.”

Rudy walked back into the kitchen, but he said over his shoulder, “I should hope so.”

Pappy wanted to say something about brotherhood, and sniper partners, and whatever else came to mind, but instead he just took another sip, another drag, and reconsidered the situation. “Have you ever fucked a guy?” he asked, cautious but genuine.

“Nope,” said Rudy, dumping the food into his skillet and pushing it around with gusto.

“Really? You’ve never fucked a guy, not even once?” Pappy flicked ash towards the bushes and leaned forward so he could see Rudy better.

“Just because I love my fellow man doesn’t mean I want to fondle their anatomy,” Rudy pointed out reasonably. “Penises are beautiful creations of the divine, brother, but they look kind of funny hanging down between your legs.”

Pappy snorted, debated lighting up another cigarette, but decided not to. He went inside, and washed his hands in the sink using that environmentally friendly bio-degradable stuff Rudy always insisted on buying, so he wouldn’t have nicotine smell on his fingers. If he were back home in North Carolina no one would give a good god-damn, but here in LA with Rudy, he washed his fucking hands like a boy scout.

After he’d dried them, he went to hang the towel back on the hook next to the stove, where Rudy was still stirring vegetables and humming some folksy shit to himself. Pappy stared at his hands for a second, still a little damp, and then at Rudy, who had always taken care of him even when Pappy hadn’t asked for it, or hadn’t needed it. He hesitated for only a second, but put his hands on Rudy’s waist, where his shirt met his sweatpants.

Rudy’s eyes met his, and Pappy’s fingers clenched a little. “Is this okay?” he asked doubtfully.

“Yes, Pappy,” Rudy said, like Pappy had asked for the salt instead of making gay-ass overtures in a California bungalow kitchen.

“Okay,” Pappy said, because he’d already made some kind of decision when he came out here for his leave instead of going to visit his momma. All this negotiation about what they would and wouldn’t be doing was afterthought.

Pappy watched Rudy cook from his close vantage point, reeling himself in closer as he got slightly more comfortable with the idea of touching Rudy. Or really, touching Rudy more. Touching Rudy in the privacy of his house. The stir-fry smelled good, soy sauce and garlic and some kind of fake chicken all mixing together under Rudy’s patient hand.

When Rudy reached back to check on the rice, Pappy moved with him; it was kind of weird, being this close on purpose, but when Pappy’s hand moved up Rudy’s chest he felt it twitch under his fingers. He was a little surprised at how much he wanted to see if he could make it twitch again.

“Dinner,” Rudy said, and they parted, Pappy grabbing the plates and Rudy dishing the food out. The music switched to something else, Portishead or whatever, a slightly darker edge to the sound. Pappy busied himself with his fake meat, feeling Rudy’s eyes on him.

“Hey Pappy,” Rudy said, playing with the fork in his hand, “why’d you come out here to see me? I mean, I love that you’re here, I’m happy that your path came into my life, but I thought you’d go back home when you had time off. You said your dad wasn’t doing so well.”

“Well, I’m goin’ there,” Pappy said, spearing a pepper and pushing it into his mouth. “I just came out here first.”

“But why?” Rudy said in that careful way he got when he was asking questions. He didn’t ask them all that often.

“I wanted to see you,” Pappy said, shrugging, playing it off. “I missed you, Rudy. It’s different not having you around. ”

Pappy would listen to a million jokes about taking it up the ass if it meant seeing that smile on Rudy’s face. Hell, at this point those jokes were maybe a little bit of truth, too. But that was kinda fucked to think about, so he had more food instead, letting Rudy’s foot brush against his own under the table.

They had agreed to watch the game after dinner, and Rudy had this big-ass flat screen tv with a little water feature beneath it. The Buddha ran a stream through his fingers. Rudy said it was to give the television some harmony.

Pappy sprawled out lazily, letting his toes wiggle against the bamboo flooring Rudy’d put in last year, and didn’t tense at all when Rudy sat beside him, arms and legs and all things touching, like there wasn’t enough room on his ten-foot couch. Rudy’s hand fell to his arm, and when Pappy looked up from a pretty good long-side pass, Rudy said, “Is this okay, Pappy?”

“Yeah, Rudy,” he said, shrugging off Rudy’s hand and throwing an arm around his shoulders to tug him close. Rudy slouched beside him, then reached over to grab a pillow and put it in Pappy’s lap, laying his head down. His crazy, dark hair stuck up everywhere, and Pappy only hesitated for a second before putting his hand in it, even though there was so much junk put in that his hand got kinda sticky.

“This okay?” he asked, though the way Rudy’s eyes were half-closed told him it was just fine. He felt Rudy nod, a yes, and just kept scratching at his head until half-time was called.

Pappy muted the commercials and rested his hand on Rudy’s shoulder. Rudy’s skin was warm under his shirt, under Pappy’s hand. Pappy had been touching that same skin for years and it never felt much like this.

“You ever kissed a guy, Pappy?” Rudy asked quietly.

“Nope,” Pappy said, watching someone dance in a dog suit advertising pet food, “but I think I’m gonna.”

Rudy pushed himself up and didn’t even wait, just reached out and pulled Pappy close to him like they did this all the time. It wasn’t all that different, kissing a guy; it was still a set of lips, a warm pressing tongue, hot breath and funny little sounds. It’s wasn’t all that different kissing Rudy, a thousand casual touches, a thousand more with some indefinable intent behind them, a grounding touch after a shot was fired, another when they went too long without seeing each other.

Pappy’s thumbs pressed into Rudy’s strong jawline, tilting his head just a little, kissing him harder when Rudy went where Pappy wanted him to go. Just like he always did. They parted, for breath, and Rudy’s hands were clenched in Pappy’s plaid shirt to keep from falling off the couch.

“That wasn’t so bad,” Rudy said, his secret little smile clear in his voice.

“I still don’t know about all this business with the dicks and stuff,” Pappy admitted, “but we can work on that. C’mere, let’s do that kissing thing again.”

“Of course, brother,” Rudy said, and leaned closer still.

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