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James is listening to music when his phone buzzes. He’s been reverting to listening to lots of music to get him through the lockdown, staying away from the heavier end of his music collection because it reminds him too much of Ed, and sometimes thinking about Ed makes his chest ache in a way that should be concerning. It’s been months since they saw each other in person, and while their relationship had definitely got closer, James had never felt so far apart from anyone in his whole life. 

He picks up his phone to see a text from Ed. It just reads ‘Turn on the news.’ 

James frowns but pauses his music and turns on the TV. On the screen, the Prime Minister is talking. James only hears the first few words before his mind goes blank. He frantically texts Ed back. ‘Does that mean...’ 

He gets a reply in seconds. ‘I’ll be at yours first thing on Monday.’ James stares at the text again, brain exploding with the possibilities as the news continues to report on the end of the full lockdown in the background. 

On Monday morning, James is pacing around his flat. He spent most of the day before cleaning the flat from top to bottom, as well as making sure he had a decent supply of lube, purchased over the internet. He knows he shouldn’t be this nervous, it’s only Ed and they had more or less obliterated any barriers between them, aside from the obvious one. He still can’t help anxiously pacing, shifting things around the kitchen counter, fiddling with his phone. 

The sound of the buzzer startles him, and he races for it and answers with sweaty palms. ‘Hello?’ 

‘James?’ Eds voice through the entry phone makes James's heart leap in his chest. He fumbles for the button to let Ed into the building. ‘Come on up.’ He puts the phone down and rests his head against the wall, taking a deep, fortifying breath. So close now. 

There’s a knock at the door, and James is across the hallway and wrenching the door open before he realises that he’s moving. He stops, frozen at the sight in front of him. Ed is stood there, hands tucked around the straps of his rucksack, knuckles white. He’s breathing hard, he must have taken the stairs two at a time to get up them so fast and he’s as scruffy as he was when they last spoke over Skype, but somehow seeing him in the flesh takes James's breath away. He shifts in the doorway, looking as disbelieving as James feels. ‘Hey James. Can I come in?’ 

James nods and steps to one side to let Ed into the flat automatically, his brain still cataloguing every little detail. Eds voice sounds different without the distortion of the computer or phone line, and he gets a hit of his scent as he inhales, shower gel and moisturiser and a hint of pure Ed underneath it all. 

Ed slips his shoes off and drops his rucksack on the floor. James can see him fiddling with the insulin pen in his pocket, and he’s suddenly hit with a wave of affection. Ed is just as nervous about this as he is, and that comforts him in a strange way, that he’s not alone in this. He takes half a step forward, his hand coming up to reach for Eds face. Ed just stands there, eyes wide, fists clenched like he’s holding himself back from just grabbing at James. 

James's fingers pause, barely an inch away from Eds cheek. He feels like he’s in a dream, like he'll close the last bit of distance and Ed will just vanish, an illusion shimmering apart like smoke. He’s had this dream enough times, but something about the look in Eds eyes, the clench of his jaw convinces him that this is real. Eds lips part, his tongue swiping out to wet his lips and James swears he can feel the warmth of his breath on his fingertips. He closes the final bit of distance between them, his fingers skating along Eds cheek before cupping his jaw, his thumb brushing along his cheekbone like a caress. The warmth and roughness beneath his palm sends a shiver of sensation through him, and he exhales shakily. Ed closes his eyes and swallows, looking so overwhelmed that James's heart leaps, full to bursting. 

‘I love you.’

James doesn’t remember deciding to speak, the words just falling into the silent tension between them, a low murmur. Eds eyes fly open, and James finds himself totally captivated. He could be in the middle of Times Square in New York, or on stage at the biggest gig of his life, or in front of all his friends and family and every hero he’s ever had and he simply would not give anyone else a second thought. His whole world has narrowed down to him and Ed and the way Ed is looking at him, love and lust and awe all mingled together, like he can’t believe that this is really happening after being so long without it. 

James knows the feeling.

He can see the moment something in Ed snaps, has a moment to appreciate the determination that forms there before Ed reaches out and manhandles James backwards until he’s pressed up against the wall of his own hallway. Ed follows him, pressing his full body length against him, pinning James in place. One broad hand spans James's waist, edging down towards his hip. The other forearm is on the wall next to his head, caging him in, not that James had any intention of being anywhere other than right here. James's hand has migrated to the back of Eds neck, his fingers tangling in his hair and his other hand is broad across his back, revelling in just being able to touch. Eds mouth hovers over James's, the air between them growing damp with their breath. James makes a desperate sound in the back of throat, and Ed groans in return. ‘Fuck, you... James, I...’ James shifts, restless, and abruptly realises that he’s already hard, cock straining in his trousers, pressed against Ed so firmly that there’s no way he could miss it. Ed groans again, pressing harder to try and keep James still, his own cock a hard line against James's hip. His forehead presses against James's, and they both still, breathing heavy. 

Ed sighs against James's mouth. ‘If you stop distracting me for two seconds, I can tell you that I love you too.’ 

James feels his knees go weak, glad for the warm pressure of Ed keeping him pinned to the wall behind him to stop him from falling. Its one thing to know that Ed loves him, they’ve implied it enough that James knows it to be true, but actually hearing Ed say the words out loud settles something deep down, that final piece of doubt erased. James does the only thing he can think of. The hand in Eds hair tightens as he presses their mouths together, finally. 

Ed groans as James kisses him, the slight sting of James's grip in his hair a counterpoint to the sheer pleasure of having him pressed up against the wall. The kiss turns open mouthed and wild almost immediately, the desperation that Ed feels mirrored in the way James practically writhes against him, his free hand pressing firm between Eds shoulder blades before sweeping down to grab his ass, pulling him firmly. Ed sticks his tongue down James's throat in response, feeling his control slipping away as James just moans and sags against him. He rolls his hips hard as James spreads his legs wider, fitting them impossibly closer. 

The hand on James's waist slips down and under the hem of his shirt, sliding back up to finally find bare skin. James jolts like he’s been electrocuted, and Ed has to break the kiss to gasp for air. The warmth of James's skin sears into his palm and he abruptly needs them both to be naked, wants, no needs to touch and kiss all that skin that he’s been denied for so long. He tries to pull away but James makes a frustrated sound in the back of his throat, strong hands pulling Ed tight against him. He buries his face in the crook of Eds neck and starts pressing kisses there with the occasional sting of teeth. Ed feels his eyes roll back as he shifts, giving James better access to his neck. His hips have started rolling in a slow rhythm that he can’t quite control, and Ed can feel James's erection throb even through the layers of clothing between them. He groans as James finds a sensitive spot just under the hinge of his jaw and worries it with lips and tongue, tries to gain enough composure to string together a sentence. ‘James... Naked. Now.’

It’s not his best work, but it does the trick. James sucks in a shuddery breath against the damp skin of Eds neck, sending shivers through him. Ed takes a step back, and the sight that greets him takes his breath away. James looks totally ravished already, flushed and breathing hard, his trousers tenting obscenely as he leans heavily against the wall, one big hand splayed flat to try and hold himself up. Ed feels a magnetic pull to just return to where he was, press and rub himself against James until they both collapse into bliss. He resists it, knowing that the naked version of that would be infinitely more satisfying. He pulls his t-shirt off over his head, hoping that it will spur James into doing the same. 

James gets with the programme pretty quickly once Eds t-shirt hits the floor. He fumbles his shirt off and nearly breaks the zip on his trousers in his hurry. Ed is much the same, forcing himself to be careful with his own zip over his straining erection. James gets his trousers and underwear off, kicking his pants off one long leg with a flourish. Abruptly Ed finds himself laughing, both at the silliness of the action and the joy that they can finally do this, they can touch and kiss and everything in between, no distance between them. 

James looks put out at the laughter. ‘Oh that’s great for my self confidence.’ The petulant tone was ruined by an edge of breathlessness. Ed manages to swallow his laughter, but he’s still grinning widely as he gets his thumbs in his underwear and pushes both them and his trousers down and off. ‘Don’t be silly, you know I think you’re hot as fuck.’ James swallows hard but there’s a grin pulling up at the corner of his mouth. Ed reaches out for James, grabbing his hand and pulling him away from the wall and into his arms. ‘I’m just happy that we get to do this, that I can actually touch you.’ He runs a hand across James's chest and up to his neck, feeling James shiver at his touch and he shifts so they are pressed together. 

James gasps as their skin makes contact, broad chests and hard cocks brushing, and Ed wants to keep kissing him forever, but even as he tries his smile makes it impossible. His joy is infectious and James is soon laughing with him, both trying to kiss each other while beaming. 

Ed starts taking small steps back, shuffling them both towards the living room and the sofa that he knows is there. He can’t bear to make the long trip down the hallway to James's bedroom, not when he has everything he wants right there. James allows himself to be led, hands brushing every piece of skin he can reach. Ed shivers as James traces the tattoo on his upper arm, the joy turning to desire the longer they stand there. They’re properly kissing now, the desire building again as they touch and caress each other. 

Ed feels the back of his legs hit the sofa, and he breaks the kiss just long enough to sit down heavily, leaving James standing in front of him. James looks down at him with such a look of wonder that Ed feels himself blush. He reaches out for James to pull him on top of him, missing the touch of skin on skin already, but James just bats his hand away before sinking gracefully to his knees. 

Ed gasps as James settles himself between his spread thighs, James’s big hands splayed wide over his tattoos and he encourages Ed to slump down on the sofa, spread his legs wider so James can fit his broad shoulders between them. James looks absolutely enraptured, his tongue coming out to wet his lips in anticipation and Ed feels himself twitch under his heated gaze. ‘James...’ Ed is surprised by how pleading he sounds. 

James shakes his head. ‘Wanna taste you, been too long without it. Need to feel you on my tongue.’ One hand slides up Eds thigh to wrap around his cock, and he shifts so that the head just rests on his bottom lip. He looks up at Ed through his eyelashes, eyes wide and pleading. ‘Can I?’ His breath ghosts across the damp head. 

‘Fuck!’ Ed spits the word out, James’s touch and pleading and coy gaze sending a sharp bolt of lust through him. He tangles one hand in James's hair, watching as his eyes close in pleasure. ‘Yes,  fucking love you so much, can’t deny you anything.’ James's eyes pop open again, the joy and love shining there making something sing in Eds chest. Without further ado James opens his mouth wider and swallows half of Eds cock down in one go. Ed shouts at the sensation, and he swears he can feel James's mouth curve into a grin even as he starts to move. 

Ed loses himself for a moment, lost in the tight heat of James's mouth, the flicker of his tongue around the head as he pulls back, the sheer enthusiasm of the whole act. Ed has to remind himself that James had never given a blowjob before they had got together, as James shifts the hand around Eds cock and takes him deeper still, only gagging slightly as the head reaches the back of his throat. Eds grip on James’s hair tightens without meaning to, the sensations overwhelming, but it just makes James moan, the vibrations magnifying everything a thousand fold. Ed realises that his eyes have closed, his head lolling against the back of the sofa, and he forces his eyes open and looks down, not wanting to miss anything. The sight takes his breath away. James looks blissed out, eyes closed in rapture and slick, red mouth stretched obscenely around Eds cock. Ed watches his cock disappear into that mouth as James bobs his head, fascinated, and it takes him far too long to notice that James's other hand is busy on his own cock. Ed gasps, the thought of James being so turned on by sucking him that he had to touch himself sends him perilously close to the edge. 

He gasps out James's name and pulls him back with the hand in his hair, too far gone to be as gentle as he would have liked. James gives a disappointed whine which makes Eds cock twitch, but he sits back on his heels, hand still busy on his own cock. His eyes are glassy and damp when he opens them, and Ed has to stroke his own cock at the sight. He doesn’t know how many times he’s seen this on his laptop screen, but he realises now that it has never done it justice. James is flushed and panting, his hand furious on his weeping cock. The laptop never picked up the little gasps he makes with every breath, the heat in the air between them, the scent of sweat and sex heavy in the air. 

Ed forces himself to stop, grabbing at James to stop him as well. ‘C'mon, get up here. Need to touch you too.’ 

James moans but complies, unfolding himself from his knees with the sort of coordination that Ed could never manage if the tables were turned. He quickly straddles Ed, leaning down to kiss him as he settles his weight on Eds thighs. Ed groans as he tastes himself on James, his hands roaming on James’s back, one sweeping up to tangle in his hair again, causing James to shudder and twitch. His other hand finds James's ass and pulls him closer, pressing their cocks together and causing him to gasp into the kiss. James just rolls his hips, so clearly desperate that Ed feels it like a visceral, tangible thing. His hips start thrusting as well, and they soon fall into a shuddering rhythm. 

Ed feels the pleasure building higher, can tell that James is as close as he is by the hitching of his breath and the constant stream of moans coming from him. He glances down and nearly comes at the sight of their cocks pressed up against each other. He reaches and grips both their cocks together tightly, the precome from both of them slicking the way. James gasps, bringing his own hand down to join Eds. Their fingers interlock and Ed rests his forehead on James's shoulder, unable to stop himself from watching. James does the same, and somehow that feels more intimate than anything else, this private little sanctuary they’ve built, James panting wordless noises directly in his ear. 

The moment can’t last forever, as much as Ed would like it to. All too soon he can feel his orgasm approaching, and with one slick twist from their joined hands he comes, coating their hands and stomachs. James gasps in his ear. ‘Fuck, Ed...’ He trails off into a deep groan as he comes too, the throb of his cock pressed next to Eds sending pulses of aftershocks through him. He has the presence of mind to keep his hand moving slowly, wringing every bit of sensation from both of their bodies until James collapses against him, totally spent. 

They both sit there for a moment, catching their breath. Ed can feel their mingled come on his hand, trapped between their bodies, but with James warm on top of him, he can’t bring himself to care. His other hand is soft in James's hair, gently petting him and causing James to let out a hum of satisfaction. Ed sighs, feeling a warm glow of contentment fill him. He nuzzles the side of James's face, getting a ‘Humph' in response that has him smiling. He shifts to move his trapped hand, but James tightens his grip, and Ed realises that they are still holding hands between their bodies. He pulls again and James lets out an annoyed noise. ‘C'mon, let’s get cleaned up.’ His voice is soft, not wanting to break the spell that had fallen over them. James grunts. ‘I’m comfy.’ 

Ed chuckles softly. ‘I know, but if you move we can get cleaned up and then cuddle as much as you want.’ James nods at this, and between them they carefully untangle their limbs. James stands on shaky legs, stumbling back into the hallway and returning with Eds discarded t-shirt. Ed rolls his eyes as James cleans their come off his stomach. ‘Thanks for that.’

James just grins. ‘Oh shut up. As if you don’t have a change of clothes in your bag.’ He throws the t-shirt at Eds head, which Ed manages to catch. Ed grins. ‘More than one change of clothes, as long as I’m allowed to stay.’ He focusses on wiping himself as clean as he can manage, suddenly nervous about assuming he could stay over as long as he wanted. He glances up as James crosses the room and takes the soiled t-shirt away from him, throwing it over his shoulder back towards the rest of their clothes in the hallway. He cradles Eds face in one big hand and forces Ed to look at him. Ed is relieved to see a fond smile on James's face. ‘You're welcome to stay as long as you want, I’m not going to kick you out.’ James kisses him softly, a gentle press of lips but conveying more than could be put into words. Ed is embarrassed to feel himself welling up, the intensity of the emotions inside of him taking him by surprise, now that the lust had been sated. James pulls back, but his smile turns into a frown as he sees how emotional Ed is. Before he can say anything Ed shakes his head. ‘I’m fine, just...’ He pauses, lost for words. James smiles again. ‘Yeah. I love you too.’

Ed smiles, before shifting until he’s laying along the sofa. ‘Come here.’ James climbs on top of him, carefully rearranging his gangly limbs until they’re both comfy, James's head resting on Eds chest and their legs tangled together. James is warm on top of him, but Ed manages to grab the soft blanket from the back of the sofa and drapes it over them, just in case James gets cold later. James just snuggles in closer, his fingers idly drawing patterns on Eds skin. It takes Ed a while to realise that James is tracing hearts over and over again, and he can’t suppress a chuckle. One of his own hands finds its way to James's hip, while the other digs gently into his hair, rubbing his scalp. He feels James melt against him, all tension draining out of him and he presses a soft kiss against the top of his head. He knows in the back of his mind that the world will be getting back to normal after the lockdown, and he has lots of people to visit and calls to make, but right now, as James shifts against him with a sigh, it all seems inconsequential. He has everything he needs right here in his arms, and there’s no place he would rather be. 

He barely notices as he drifts off to sleep, content.