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Author's Note: This is an AU scene from the extended edition of Partnership.

Partnership, extended edition: Scene 1

by shalott

Exley reads a while longer, turning the pages with one hand, and then he turns out the light and puts his book down, glasses clicking as he folds them shut. He slides down under the covers and pulls his pillow flat. There's a little light coming in through the venetian blinds, reflecting off his eyes. He puts his hand back on Bud's shoulder. Bud turns his head and they stare at each other in the dark, not falling asleep, and finally Bud reaches out with his good hand and pulls him the rest of the way in. Even through the cigarette smoke in Bud's mouth, Exley still tastes like the fortune cookies, warm and vanilla-sweet, and his dick gets hard fast, rubbing up against Bud's hip.

Bud wonders if Exley's even taken a shower since he fucked Lynn. "This what you were after?" he says, rolling them over and getting on top of Exley, letting the guy take all his weight. His shoulder hurts, his dick's hard. "This what you wanted?"

"Oh, Christ," Exley says, voice cracking, going crazy under him, lean coltish legs tangling with Bud's and hands everywhere, pulling him closer like Exley wants them to just melt into each other, no separation left at all.

And fuck, Bud shouldn't have started this. It's a whole lot better than it ought to be, like everything about working with Exley, and he's already thinking about how good it'll be when his arm's okay again and they've had some sleep and they can really go at it; how Exley's mouth is going to feel wrapped around his dick, what kind of noise Exley's going to make while he's getting fucked. For about thirty seconds he tries to pretend he's not thinking about it the other way around too, but that's just bullshit.

Exley's working on his pants, getting their dicks out. Then they're moving, not exactly in rhythm but something better, bumping up against each other, leaking. It's enough Bud can forget about Lynn, about the feel of her flesh giving way to his fists. He kisses Exley hard, tastes the dried blood on his lip, stubble on his bruised cheeks, and Exley gives it right back to him, hands gripping his close-cropped head. He's not sure which of them comes first, it's just this one long moment where everything's fucking perfect, and then he's sliding off Exley with his dick softening and his belly wet.

A car goes by while he's catching his breath, headlights sending crazy long angles of light through the blinds against the ceiling. "Yeah," Exley says after a while, lying next to him in the dark. "I guess this is what I wanted." He sounds naked, and it makes Bud feel the same fucking way, raw and stripped bare.

"Yeah," Bud says; his voice comes out raspy. Maybe this is what Exley wanted all along or not; it's sure as hell not what Bud was looking for. Doesn't matter now: cutting loose from Exley stopped being an option the minute Bud decided to listen to him instead of kill him, went out the fucking window along with the chair and left them with nowhere to end up but here. They could've died in the Victory Motel, one or both of them; that's pretty much the only alternative Bud can imagine right now.

They don't say anything else. Exley's breath evens out after a little while. Bud looks over at him: his lips are pressed together even sleeping, jaw clenched. He reaches out and runs the back of his knuckles along Exley's cheek, and Exley sighs a little and eases up without waking. It's a lot like falling asleep next to Lynn: different-shaped puzzle piece, still fits, and morning's not looking too bad from here.

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