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Hi, Society: Wishing on a Star
by Riley Cannon
Kind of a long drabble, and inspired by the HT100 Jealous challenge, and working from an idea of of Maverick's, with much more helpful input from her. This one's for you, Mav. *mwah*
"Hi, Society: Wishing on a Star"
Chris took the stairs, checking the note he'd scribbled to make sure he had the right courtroom, and paused for a moment, content to simply stand there and watch Toby. He smiled and shook his head as Toby checked his brief case for probably the hundredth time this morning, as if there was any real chance of him turning up for the trial unprepared. Half the excitement of watching Toby in court, operating in his element, was because of the aura of confidence he projected, completely in command of the proceedings and owning every moment. The other half was watching *him* enjoy that and knowing his lover would still be riding the crest of that satisfaction when they were home alone, later.
He started to go over, wish him luck, when Katherine McClain appeared, high heels clacking across the linoleum as she made a beeline for Toby, handing him a file folder. Toby nodded his thanks to her and opened his brief case again to put it away, saying something to her that brought a smile to her face.
Chris tried not to mind that, tried not to resent her standing close to Toby, reaching out to touch him - smooth an imaginary wrinkle from his suit, pluck an equally non-existent bit of lint from the gray cloth. Maybe there was a wrinkle and a piece of lint. It could happen. Nothing wrong with Katherine wanting to make sure Toby looked his very best in front of the judge, right? She was taking long enough, though, smiling at him, talking softly as she lingered over straightening his tie, running her hand along the length of blue silk
Chris fought against the resentment bubbling up. It wasn't Toby's fault. He knew his lover wasn't encouraging the stupid bitch. He could even see Toby was trying to dodge her, get her to stop. No one else passing by even noticed them, or if they did, they glanced their way with amused approval. And why not? That was the ideal, wasn't it, a handsome young man being fussed over by a lovely young woman. They probably looked like the perfect couple. Chris was the one who wouldn't fit the picture.
And that should be him over there, claiming his right to be the only one who touched Toby like that, with the intimacy of a lover - but it never could be, not with the whole wide world looking on. He'd never be able to stand here or on the street, fixing Toby's tie, giving that world any reason to suspect they might be more than friends.
He sighed and looked away, turned away to leave - but not before Toby had spotted him. Fuck. He didn't want this, didn't want to burden Toby with things even he couldn't fix.
Toby tried to elude Katherine as she moved in on him again, reaching to adjust his tie. "Yeah, thanks," he muttered, wishing she would quit fussing.
"We want you to look your best," she told him with a smile, moving to brush away another non-existent wrinkle in his suit coat. "This is a big case, Tobias."
"That hadn't actually escaped my attention." Neither had something else: Chris standing across the hall leading to the courtroom, watching them - and that hadn't been a flash of joy in his eyes. "Excuse me," he said to Katherine, dodging her as she reached for his arm, and hurrying after Chris just disappearing down the stairs.
"Chris! Chris," he caught up with him on the landing, "what's wrong?"
Refusing to meet his eyes, Chris shrugged. "Nothing. Just ... wanted to wish you luck."
"So why didn't you?" Toby said, dipping his head down to catch his lover's gaze.
Still trying to elude that, Chris shrugged again. "Looked like you were kinda preoccupied."
"Chris," he let out a frustrated huff, "you cannot think I was enjoying that."
"Toby..." He looked at him then, a glint of sadness in his eyes that seemed vastly out of proportion to the situation. He started to reach out as if to touch his face but faltered. "It isn't her, it's ...." He sighed, shook his head. "It's that she can do that, she can touch you right in front of everyone - and I can't, I never will." He looked away then, a muscle in his jaw working. "I'm jealous of that, okay? That's all."
He sighed and nodded, feeling the same sadness. "You could, Chris. I wouldn't mind."
His lover's smile was wistful and sweet. "I know." Chris did touch his arm, that gentle touch so much more meaningful than Katherine's intrusive fussing. "It's just the way it has to be."
"Doesn't mean we have to like it." Toby looked at him thoughtfully, rubbing a hand along his arm, clasping his hand and rubbing a thumb across the wedding band he wore. "Remember this, Chris?"
"Yeah, I do." He squeezed Toby's hand, ran his fingers over the matching ring.
"You're with me all the time, Chris."
He nodded, warm nostalgia in his smile now, remembering that snowy New Years' Eve, the vows they had exchanged standing there in the cold. "Always and forever."
Toby nodded back. "Never forget that. Never forget how much we *do* have."
Chris pulled in a deep breath, the last traces of tension leaving him. "I know. More than some people ever get."
"Damn right." Toby smiled, ached to lean in and kiss him. It helped that they were together in this. "And think about this, Chris: think about how I'll touch you tonight, how I'll kiss you, and how any of these poor bastards would give their right arms to know our kind of love." There, that got him the wide, bright smile he wanted.
"I will, Toby. I do." Chris did touch him then, hand resting light against his neck for a second. "Love you."
"Love you. Don't be late coming home."
The smile got even wider and Chris tugged at his lapels. "You, either."
"Count on it."
"Go knock `em dead."
He laughed. "I'll do my best. You are my lucky charm, you know."
Chris gave him a dubious look at that, but he was still smiling, and that was all Toby needed.
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