Title: Now and Again
Rating: PG-13/R, will be NC-17 eventually.
Characters/Pairings: Luke/Reid, Noah, other Oakdale characters and an OC here or there.
Category: Fix it-fic, AU
Summary: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”- W.I. Thomas
Warnings: Angsty Angst, some mindfuckery
Disclaimer: Do not own. Wish I did, though. I could make them do all sorts of kinky stuff.
A/N: Keywords for this fic are ‘patience’ and ‘payoff’. Title credit goes to my epically awesome beta alissablue, who deserves a round of applause for sitting through my long rants, freak outs, smut-related giggles and posting hesitation.
A/N: Me + comments is like... Reid + Sandwiches<3.
Prologue / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 29 / 30 / 31 / 32 / 33 / 34 / 35 / 36 / 37 / 38 /
Chapter 39: A rabbi and a priest walk into a bar
Reid was determined not to let it get to him.
So what if Luke was funding his new neuro wing? So what if Bob had decided to take matters into his own hands, after Reid’s search for an investor had proven to be fruitless? In the grand scheme of things, on that list of things Reid deemed worthy of getting worked up about, this didn’t matter. This wasn’t even a faded ink stain or a blob on his list.
Yet somehow, even if Luke funding the neuro wing didn’t faze Reid at all, even if it didn’t matter, Reid found himself in Katie’s car, on his way to getting answers from Luke himself. He had a clear-cut plan, as if he was about to perform surgery. It was going to be sterile, clinical and accurate. He’d go in, cut out the needed tissue and get out, no questions asked, no faltering moments. Talking to Luke would serve a purpose, would be to-the-point and absent of nonsense.
Except that it was Luke. Nothing about Luke was nonsense. Everything Luke did, each move he made, seemed to be after a thought process of careful consideration. The way he deliberately licked his lips, how his fingertips pressed into Reid’s back whenever they kissed or the way he could look at Reid through his eyelashes as if he had no idea whatsoever of the effect he had on Reid.
And then there was the way Luke pushed and wormed and weaseled his way into Reid’s life so much, Reid felt he couldn’t breathe. Not that he didn’t like that, somewhere deep down, disturbingly so. There was something about Luke’s pushy behavior, the way he’d imprinted on Reid and forced his way into Reid’s orbit, that made Reid want things he hadn’t wanted before. Those lips, that mouth. As much as Luke’s incessant pushing pushed Reid’s buttons, each push also sent a shiver straight down to his cock.
But Luke’s effect on him didn’t explain why he was shaken by this, by finding out Luke was funding the neuro wing. The neuro wing was his, built and created for him. It had been the one part in his life that was truly for him and him alone and it made him feel like a child in a candy store or as if he was Gepetto, the puppet master, with the neuro wing as his crafted, gifted son. He had been completely in control of every drop of blood, sweat and tear that went into it, of every scalpel and brick used to lay the foundation of what was to become his precious wing.
Until now, until this. Until Bob had decided Reid’s efforts weren’t good enough and Luke had decided to agree. They’d teamed up together to show him this part of his life also wasn’t working and that he might as well give in. He’d only gained back his control over his profession a few months ago, and here Luke and Bob were, asking him to give up what miniscule piece of control he still had. Asking him to give Luke even more of himself.
Luke held all the cards, apparently.
Luke was the one who’d pushed Reid until he’d cracked, the one who was considering to start something with Reid, and Luke was now tightening Reid’s puppet strings and pants at the same time. Not that Reid was completely opposed to said tightening, but it represented a loss of control, and losing control was something to get worked up about. That very much created a stain or a blob on the list of things Reid Oliver deemed worthy of his attention.
Luke arrived home shortly after leaving the hospital. On his way home, he’d compiled a list of ideas to improve the wing, and ways to not only focus on the patient itself, but also on the patient’s direct environment and loved ones. After all the time he’d spent at Memorial as a patient or loved one, which occurred on a weekly basis in a town like Oakdale, he knew exactly how it felt to stand around helplessly, going out of your mind with worry and fear.
Working on this new project felt so right, so much like something he was supposed to do. He couldn’t wait to share his ideas with Dr. Hughes. And Reid, eventually. He knew there would come a point, where Reid would have to find out about everything. But Luke wasn’t sure if he was ready for Reid to know just yet. Not when it still wasn’t a sure thing, when the hospital board hadn’t agreed to it yet and there was a chance Reid would get his hopes up for nothing.
And not when Luke didn’t know where they were headed.
He didn’t want to push too much, cross the boundaries of their still fragile connection, or have Reid think he was trying to buy his way into Reid’s life. He’d been told in the past –accused of it, in fact- that he didn’t think things through, or that he took control without taking someone else’s –Well, Noah’s- needs into account, and he didn’t want to make those same mistakes again. Not with Reid, of all people. He felt as though this thing with Reid was like blowing up a balloon, with a limit before it would pop. It felt so encompassing and larger-than-life, yet so small, in a way, so very vulnerable and breakable.
He was just about to open the door to his home, when he heard a car pulling up into the driveway. His left hand hovered over the doorknob, so close, and he sensed him before he even turned around. Reid. The car door slamming shut and Reid’s determined steps until he was breaching the borders of Luke’s personal space, only confirmed what Luke already suspected. “Mr. Snyder.” Reid said as Luke turned to face him. Luke’s smile brightened, but faded just as quickly. Luke had found that there was something about Reid addressing him as Mr. Snyder, how Reid could say it unlike anyone ever had, with both a sense of wonder and longing and a teasing undertone. He could say it like that, so subtle, yet also as if Luke was a stranger on the street, so cold and distant. Luke hoped for the former, but heard the latter. He noticed Reid’s eyes were darker than earlier that day.
“Dr. Oliver,” Luke followed his lead. His tone mirrored Reid’s, equally as distant, as their eyes met. A feeling of anticipation washed over him, blending with the gut twisting feeling he already felt. He knew something was up, that Reid hadn’t come to his house for a social call, and something told him he knew exactly what Reid wanted to know. “Do you make house calls, too?”
“I’m only here because I heard a joke today. Reminded me of you, thought I’d share.”
“Oh, really?” Luke asked, both amused and curious at the same time. “What was it about?”
“It’s a good joke, very entertaining. I got it from Bob. Didn’t think the old man still had it in him.” And there it was, the change, hitting Luke like a sledgehammer. Bob. Reid had talked to Dr. Hughes. He wondered how much Dr. Hughes had let slip, when he’d made it so clear to him that Reid couldn’t find out his donation. “It started with ‘A rabbi and a priest walk into a bar’, and it ended with ‘why are you throwing money at my new wing’?”
“This, Mr. Snyder,” Reid put his hand in his pocket and it wasn’t long until he revealed it to Luke. He placed it palm flat on Luke’s chest, right over his beating heart, and he only removed his hand when Luke tried to cover it. Luke took the piece of paper, immediately recognizing it as one of his own sheets. “You left this behind.”
He’d expected Reid to sound angry, expected to hear disappointment seeping through Reid’s words, but all he heard was exhaustion. It was as though he saw it for the first time, as if Reid had kept that part of himself hidden up until that moment.
Luke took a deep breath. “Are you mad at me?” He grabbed Reid’s wrist, before Reid could pull back, encouraged when he didn’t flinch. The piece of paper fell to the ground right between them, but neither Luke nor Reid noticed. Reid’s eyes, which had seemed so open to Luke earlier that same day, now gave nothing away to him, and it struck Luke how hurt he felt by that, how deprived he felt of having access to Reid. “Please don’t be mad. I just didn’t want you to find out this way... I wanted to make sure it would work out first, that’s why I asked Bob not to tell you.”
“Why would I be mad at you? I’m not mad, I’m tired. You and Bob….” Reid paused, looking down at Luke’s fingers curled around his wrist and back up at Luke again. He’d been so sure he wasn’t going to crack, that he wouldn’t cave at the sight of him. But with Luke staring at him like he was currently doing, as if Reid for once held the cards, as if Reid could break him, keeping his hands clean without faltering in his resistance, wasn’t an option anymore. “I was mad at Bob, for not telling me the truth, but what’s done is done. What I just don’t get, is why you felt the need to keep me out of it. I get that these things don’t always work out, Luke.”
“I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry, you’re right, I should have told you right away. I… My grandmother has a seat on the hospital board and she told me about your financial problems, and I thought I could help. I just wanted to help you.”
“I know, but-”
“No, I should have thought things through, I know that. I know I shouldn’t have taken control like that.”
“Look- You’re not a child, you’re perfectly capable of making your own decisions. It’s not my job to discipline you or tell you what you can or can’t do with your own money. And while it’s rather generous, you don’t have to do this for me. It’s too much.”
Luke abruptly let go of Reid’s wrist, saying, “I’m not,”, louder than he’d intended. He shoved his hands into his pockets, searching for strength, but finding none. “I’m not just doing this for you. I want to do this for you, obviously, but I’m also doing this for Memorial, for all the people you could help in the future and…”
“Me. I looked into it and I’m not only donating the money, but I also asked for a seat on the board and to be a part of the decision making process.”
“No- Reid- I’m going to do this, whether you want me to or not. I don’t want you to think I’m trying to buy my way into your life, but you know what- Maybe you should just give in! Give in and let me care about you. Let me help you, damnit!”
Reid let out a deep sigh, rubbing his temples as though he was getting a burden off his chest. “Okay.”, he answered, holding back a grin.
“Okay?! Just like that?! You’re not even going to try to stop me?”
“Just like that. Maybe I like it when you take control, ever think of that?” Taking Luke by surprise, Reid leaned in, caressing Luke’s jaw line with his right hand and brushing his lips against Luke’s. Before Reid could kiss him, though, Luke suddenly pulled back, placing one hand against Reid’s chest and the other on his shoulder.
“Wait- Wait, there’s more.” Luke said, licking his lips for the smidgen of Reid on them.
Reid smirked. “Did you bribe the hospital board, too?”
“Why would I…?” Luke’s nose scrunched up in confusion and the beginning of a pout became visible. “No. I don’t want to lie to you. I also did it, because I didn’t want you to leave town.”
“Wait- What does any of this have to do with me leaving Oakhell?”
Luke chewed on his bottom lip, hesitating before he spoke. “I’m… making you wait until I’ve figured everything out and I can’t do that with you back in Dallas. And we’re basically nothing- I mean, let’s be honest, we’re not together or anything, so why wouldn’t you? You don’t have much keeping you here without that wing.”
“You think I was just gonna cut my losses and leave if the wing fell through? Have you not been paying attention at all?” Reid shook his head, and then gently put his hands on the sides of Luke’s face, leaning in for a quick, chaste kiss. “Idiot.”, he murmured against Luke’s lips before softly slapping his cheek and pulling back.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m in this. All in. Balls deep too, hopefully sometime in the near, foreseeable future.” Luke’s mouth opened and closed a few times at that, in protest, but Reid quickly continued. “I want to be with you, so I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. Got it?”
“Reid… We don’t know each other that well. Or at all. Why would you want to stay for me?”
“It’s not enough that I told you I’m falling in love with you, despite that?” Reid sighed, tilting his head to the side a little as if he was trying to figure out whatever gibberish was coming out of Luke’s mouth.
It was as though they weren’t even speaking the same language, as though Luke was following a different path than Reid, one where Reid’s words and actions teased and taunted him, but didn’t give him the answers he needed. He could see the confusion etched across Luke’s face, and it frustrated him that they still weren’t on the same page. Luke made him want things, made Reid want to mean something to him, and the ache of wanting Luke himself made his fingertips itch. “For fuck’s sake, Snyder, I gave you my pager number. That’s pretty much the equivalent of me asking you to go steady.” Reid clasped his hand together. “Fine- Look- Here’s what we’re going to do. Pomp and circumstance, the whole works, whatever regular people do when they want to get to know each other. How’s that?”
Luke ducked his head, a blush furiously creeping up on his face, as he barely contained a smile. His left foot shuffled from one side to the other. “Is this your way of asking me out?” he asked, softly, still looking at anything but Reid. “Romance, Reid Oliver-style?”
“Romance? No. Just you, me and good food.”
“Like a date?”
“Is that what you kids are calling it these days?”
“Shut up.” Luke looked back up at him to see a smirk on his face, and it made Luke narrow his eyes at him. “So we’re really gonna do this? Work together and play together?”
“Come over Tuesday night. I’ll make you dinner.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Luke said, brightly smiling at Reid. He reached out, tracing Reid’s lips with his thumb. Reid looked down at his fingers, and back up at Luke again. “Now come inside.” Luke continued, using his other hand to intertwine their fingers in an attempt not to let him get away. “We could… talk?” Reid complied, rolling his eyes as if he couldn’t even believe he wasn’t putting up a fight, and followed Luke as he entered his home. It wasn’t until the door closed behind Reid that Luke let go of his hand.
“Are you any good at chess, by any chance?”
A/N: I know it's been a long time, but I had to take some time off from writing and fandom in general to focus on my finals etc. But I'm back now, with much more free time on my hands, and this fic and my upcoming Big Bang fic with alissablue as my top priorities. As always, thank you for reading, I appreciate it! =)