“Hi there! This is Danielle, with Price Alarms. Are you in need of assistance?”
The woman’s voice that comes out of the intercom after James punches his index finger against the Emergency Call button is altogether too chirpy. It bounces an echo around the elevator’s confined space, tinny and hollow, setting James’ teeth on edge. His arms are folded tight over his chest and he’s already sweating a fine sheen on his forehead, and he knows that if he tries to answer it’s just going to come out in a blue streak of cursing and vitriol. Luckily, Bruce has already stepped up to the elevator’s service panel and angled his mouth towards the little speaker/microphone combo.
“Yeah, hey? We’re stuck between the fourth and fifth floors, I think.” Bruce’s gaze flits up to the numbers above the elevator’s door, but the indicator light’s gone out, so he’s just going off his best guess. It sounds right. Their office is on the sixth floor, and James thinks he definitely heard at least one ding before the metal coffin shuddered to a sudden halt and doomed them both to death in a fiery wreckage at the bottom of a fucking elevator shaft.
James feels the air in his lungs hitch as he pictures it. His heartbeat jumps, stuttering beneath his ribcage as he uncrosses his arms and shoves both hands deep in the pockets of his jeans so that he isn’t tempted to gnaw at his fingernails.
Bruce shoots him a knowing look. “Yeah, so if you could get someone over here to get us out, that’d be great.” He says it so easily, like he’s not trapped in a box with a severe claustrophobe who tends to lash out when he’s under duress.
“Of course, sir. We’ll have someone en route to service your location as soon as possible!”
There’s a soft click as the woman’s connection cuts out, like that’s all there is to it.
“Is it just me, or does Danielle sound like a fucking cunt?”
It makes James laugh even despite the anxiety that’s busy fraying at him like a live wire. Bruce is waggling his eyebrows, talking from behind the shield of his hand as if Danielle is actually in the elevator with them and he’s trying to make sure she can’t hear him talking shit. It’s a tightly-coiled laugh, one that comes out more like a hoarse bark because his throat feels like a vice, but it’s still technically a laugh.
But once it’s past his lips, James is back to sweating. His upper lip feels slick against the back of his hand as he wipes over his mouth, huffing out a breath.
“This isn’t happening. You said this wouldn’t happen when we moved into a building with a fucking elevator.” He jabs an accusatory finger in Bruce’s direction, eyebrows drawing down into a slant.
“And you said that you would always take the stairs so that every day would be leg day, remember?” The words are gentle enough, because for once Bruce isn’t trying to be a dick.
He’s also right, which is the worst part. James had been so fucking adamant about not being a slave to the damned elevator’s convenient wiles when they’d moved offices the last time, and still he’d caved after a week.
“It’s not my fault! You assholes always play the make-out game in the elevator! What was I supposed to do, just miss out?”
James knows that he’s whining, but he still thinks it’s a fair argument. The rest of the guys had come up with some bullshit game designed purely to taunt James, where they’d spend the ride down from the sixth floor making out, pinning one another up against the mirrored walls of the elevator, breaking apart only seconds before the door slid open at ground level. Then they’d wait for James to make it down the stairs and spend the entire walk to lunch or the parking lot or wherever just bugging him, demanding that he guess who had been macking on whom.
Bruce snorts, arching one eyebrow at him.
“Don’t get pissy just because you suck at the game, Willems.”
He takes a step closer, reaching out to flick an index finger against James’ stomach. James makes a face, is about to swat at Bruce’s hand in irritation, but something in the other man’s expression stops him. His heart is still pounding hard and harried in his chest, but there’s an edge of something else pushing its way into his head - curiosity, or interest, as he wonders about Bruce’s angle as he takes another step closer.
“What the fuck ever,” James mutters under his breath, swallowing against the metallic taste of panic on the back of his tongue.
The barest hint of a smirk is twitching at the corner of Bruce’s mouth as he tracks the movement of James’ throat when it bobs. His hand moves up to cup against one side of James’ face and James can’t help but close his eyes for a moment, leaning into the calloused touch of his palm.
He takes a deep breath.
“That’s it,” Bruce hums in soft approval, dragging his thumb over the blade-edge of James’ jaw. “Just breathe. You’re okay.”
James takes another breath, then another, each growing a little more steady than the last. That hand against his face is like a balm, smoothing over the torn and ragged edges of his anxiety. He can smell Bruce’s soap on his skin, something clean and spicy that James gave him in a set with some cologne and a nice razor for his birthday last month (along with a Boba Fett action figure that raps ‘Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta’ when you press down on his helmet).
And there it is, the simplest of Bruce’s touches, so sweet and familiar and able to drag James back down from the height of his panic. Simple, yet powerful enough to bring his heart up into his throat where he almost feels like he might choke on the weight of it.
Of course he doesn’t resist when Bruce pulls him closer. There’s a heat already spreading in the pit of his stomach when their hips brush up against each other, and it unfurls into a flame as Bruce reaches down to unbutton James’ jeans with deft, manipulative fingers. When he slides the zipper down, it’s audible and slow. He leans in and drags the tip of his nose against James’ cheek, breath hot on his skin.
“Breathe for me, okay? You’re safe.”
James just shivers. Yeah, he wants to plead. Touch me. Instead he reaches up to steady himself with a hand on Bruce’s shoulder, turning his head just slightly so that he can steal a tentative kiss. Bruce catches the swell of his upper lip in his teeth and tugs, so gently, before his tongue bathes over the place he’s just bitten. James exhales into the kiss and makes a soft noise at the same time, asking for more, opening his mouth wider.
His body is already responding, flushed with hot blood along the places where Bruce’s fingers are skimming over his skin. He’s still strung tight with nerves, that hard-wired anxiety screaming in the fibres of his muscles because they’re suspended five stories above the ground in a metal box hanging on a string - but he doesn’t fight the distraction, either.
The skin around his mouth is warm under the soft scrape of beard and his eyes drift shut to slits, so that he can barely make out the shape of Bruce’s nose where it presses into his cheek. At the same time Bruce’s hand is slipping around his waist and down, until he spreads his fingers over the curve of James’ ass and squeezes. He’s gripping tight and forcing their hips even closer together so that James can feel the hard, hot line of Bruce’s dick pressing into his thigh, just like his own is rubbing against the waistband of Bruce’s shorts.
There’s a vibration between their mouths as Bruce chuckles and James drinks in the melody of it, reaching back to cover the hand that clutches at his ass. His fingers are desperate as they spread through Bruce’s and thread their fingers together, knuckles against knuckles. He shakes a little, letting out an anticipatory groan that feeds back into Bruce’s mouth.
Bruce is the one who finally breaks the kiss, parting with a lewd drip of saliva that he licks from his bottom lip.
“Look at me,” he demands, voice rough like sandpaper as his thumb scrapes over the underside of James’ wrist. His eyes look a little glazed when James obeys and opens his own, blinking at Bruce slowly. “I want you to be quiet. Can you do that for me?”
He’ll do anything that Bruce asks, so he nods, sucking in a breath through his nose as both of Bruce’s hands go back to the belt loops of his jeans and drags them down and over his hips. Bruce’s mouth brushes against the column of his neck, then along his collarbone, grazing kisses along the way against his skin as he slowly, deliberately, sinks to his knees in the elevator.
He tugs up the hem of James’ t-shirt and kisses a bit of exposed hipbone while he hooks his thumbs in the elastic of his briefs, tugging them down his thighs. All the while, he’s gazing up at James with open desire in his eyes, hot breath caressing his cock.
“Oh…” The word comes out as a gentle sigh as James stares down at the man on his knees, shivering as the soft curl of his beard drags against the flat muscles of James’ stomach, then down and along the intimate crease of his inner thigh, trailing goosebumps over pale skin. James barely has time to remember that Bruce told him to be quiet before his dick is enveloped in wetness and warmth, wrapped in the careful swirl of Bruce’s tongue.
An irrepressible moan slides out of him, and he pays for it with a sharp dig of Bruce’s fingers into the backs of his thighs. His nails are short but they still make James hiss as Bruce drags them down, hard enough to raise red welts in their wake. For a half a second he thinks about apologizing, but that would be further violation of the instruction to be quiet, and then all he can think about is the way that Bruce is opening up this throat around the head of his cock and swallowing him down now.
It’s so perfect, the heat of Bruce’s mouth and the softness of his hair as James reaches down to pet at the curve of his skull, mouth hanging slack and open. He’s holding back from thrusting his hips, but then those fingers are pressing into his thighs again and urging him forward and Bruce is making sweet sounds of slick contentment as James’ tip grazes the back of his throat. So he jerks his hips, just a little, fingers twisting in Bruce’s hair so that the blunt edges of his fingernails are rubbing against his scalp.
And when Bruce starts moaning around him he thrusts more, sliding his cock in and out of Bruce’s acquiescent mouth so that the flat of his tongue rubs over the big vein along the underside of him. Bruce’s cheeks are hollowed with the tight seal of his suction, and James isn’t sure if he’s ever felt anything more perfect, and his eyes are starting to flutter with the weight of his pleasure as he puffs out a warm lungful of air. There’s a thick knot of heat slowly uncoiling in the very bottom of his stomach and spreading out under his skin, and his tongue feels thick in his mouth, and Bruce is taking him down so good and god he’s not going to last long if it keeps up like this —
“Bruce,” he breathes out in warning, barely audible because he wants to be good, wants to make sure Bruce knows that he’s always listening, that he wants to please, but he’s going to come soon and he wants to give some kind of warning at least. His hands fist in the short hair at the back of Bruce’s head but he’s not pushing, just clinging tight to something so that he doesn’t float up and away on the electric wave of warm and wet and Bruce, who’s just humming around him so that vibrations run up the length of his cock and take root deep inside of him.
One of Bruce’s hands drifts around his thighs now and comes up to cup at his balls, softly rolling them in his palm before he tugs on them, so gently, urging James on as he looks up at him from beneath lowered lids, coaxing the very life out of him.
Bruce moans contentedly as James tenses, shudders hard, and comes down his throat - he swallows down what he can before he comes up for air, looking absolutely wrecked. His mouth is a smear of saliva and swollen lips, and James reaches out to grab the front of his shirt and haul him up to his feet. There’s a wet slide of a kiss that tastes salty and bitter between them, and James is panting into Bruce’s mouth with his hands still marvelling over the fine baby hairs at the back of his neck, and Bruce is smirking like a cat that got the proverbial cream.
James is laughing breathlessly and tugging at Bruce’s hair, tilting his head back to expose the soft underside of his throat and closing his teeth over the hinge of his jaw, when the elevator comes to life around them with an unsettling sound of mechanical grinding.
“Thank fucking god,” he moans, shuffling back on legs that feel weak from the combination of anxiety and lingering orgasm. There’s just enough time to yank his briefs and his jeans back up his thighs, barely getting the zipper up before they come to a stop at the ground floor and the door slides open.
“Hello, boys! Have a good time in quarantine?” Joel’s there waiting for them in the lobby, expression tight with worry despite the levity of his words. Bruce smiles to let him know that it’s alright, one hand at the small of James’ back as he leads the way out of the elevator, and immediately some of the tension leaves Joel’s shoulders. His focus is all on James and he’s about to say something, before a crease appears on his brow and he glances between them. Takes in the beard burn around James’ mouth, and the angry red marks on Bruce’s knees beneath the hems of his shorts. He turns an accusatory look on them now, hand on hip.
“Seriously? We’re freaking out about James having a panic attack and you’re playing The Game? Spoole was just about ready to rappel down the elevator shaft before Adam sat on him.”
James is too wiped to defend himself, but his shoulders are shaking with silent laughter as he leans against Bruce, who is just shaking his head and grinning. Joel’s clearly pleased, but he dials up the disapproval a little for good measure, even throwing in a solitary finger-wag as he loops his arm around James from the other side.
“Just don’t expect me to save you from weepy-Sean-wrath. C’mon, we got you both burritos.”