Stuck in the Airport with You

Brats to the left of me, Santas to the right, here I am, stuck in the airport with you

"So how bored are you?" Sometimes, asking a stupid question helped.

"Fairly to pretty damn." Tony gave up. Spot was not the patient type to begin with, but with the added bonus of nonstop cheery Christmas music and smarmy crowds, he was getting downright surly. And a surly Spot was not someone Tony wanted to be sitting next to. Well, at least not while they were being watched by airport security cameras. Delayed flights sucked. Even if he was kind of thrilled it would be a white Christmas after all. Not that he was going to tell Spot that.

At the moment Spot was twisted in what had to be an uncomfortable position in his chair. He curled around his cappuccino like it was his last great hope, every muscle tensed, and he twitched any time someone who wasn't Tony came within three feet of him. If they were under fifteen he added a nasty glare. The twitches had been big enough during the last few minutes to draw Tony's attention away from Douglas Adams, and he was starting to worry. Especially when the Transiberian Orchestra came on over the speakers and Spot actually began grinding his teeth.

The Starbucks a few hundred feet away had kept Spot from igniting an incident, or any fellow travelers, so far. Which was good, because Tony didn't particularly want to slug him in the jaw in order to stay out of jail. Being locked up was not an acceptable excuse to miss Mrs. Higgins' annual Christmas extravaganza. Just ask his cousin Freddy.

In three to five years.

Of course, the caffeine had also made Spot jittery and dehydrated, so Tony was considering crossing that coping mechanism off the list. He had spent half the day being grateful he was doing this with Spot rather than Morrie, who would have blown their cover instantly upon arrival and found ways to blame every inconvenience on Tony. The other half of the day he spent seriously considering the virtues of the devil you knew.

A three and a half month relationship gave you a certain knowledge and comfort level that really came in handy when dealing with the perfidies of airline travel. Especially when said travel involved two layovers and, yes, a propeller plane. Even if the other half of said relationship was a megalomaniac with no sense of personal responsibility, a fuzzy idea of his own sexual preferences, and a severe tendency to narcissism. Morrie had been a business major, charming and articulate, from what his mother would call a "good" family. Mrs. Higgins and the rest of the Higgins would have loved him.

Well, aside from the part where he very likely would have gotten Tony disinherited.

But two weeks ago, Morrie, in what Tony thought was just another tantrum, had stormed out. And two hours later had stormed back in, this time with a redhead in tow. Tony might have stuck around and tried to fix it if she hadn't been two inches taller than him. As it was, he was never going to see his good copy of Dune again.

So he left. And, figuring that it was his right as a college student to try the cliches so he could have stories later, he went to the local bar-that-didn't-card to get drunk. He was somewhere between two-tequila and three-tequila before he ran across Spot.

Spot, the uncontested campus badass. Rumor was he had been thrown out of two schools already for assault arrests, no convictions. Common knowledge said he had only been accepted at Tony's because of his savant-like talent for bio, with a specialization in ornithology, of all things. All Tony knew for sure, having watched him around campus, was that he moved like a black belt and swore like a longshoreman. The bio profs were scared of him, the art profs wanted to paint him, and most of the students had bets on whether he had sold a kidney on the black market to pay tuition.

Tony hadn't bet. He had considered it, on a tip from a friend's friend who had seen Spot in the locker room, and said he didn't have the right kind of scars. But tips and gambling had never mixed well for Tony.

That night at the bar, Spot had been swirling a whiskey sour around in his glass, staring at it, for all appearances lost to the world. Finding any kind of inner peace was tough in a small, overcrowded student bar, especially when the drinks were that watered down. Spot had almost been there, though.

Until Tony had crashed into him. While attempting to demonstrate the impossibility of doing the Macarena, on one foot, while intoxicated, to a small crowd. Tony had succeeded, but at the price of spilling Spot's drink. Which had prompted the brilliant line, "Great. Delancey dumped me, and now I'm going to die."

Apparently that had sparked Spot's notice, because his immediate reaction was to mutter to himself and drag Tony out of the bar. Next thing Tony knew he was waking up on Spot's futon, the morning sunlight stabbing in through the blinds at a really unfortunate angle.

Spot, perched on his bed with head in hands, hadn't said a word to him. He just pointed at the door once Tony was up and dressed. But there had been a large glass of water and an opened bottle of Tylenol by his head when he woke up, and his wallet was untouched.

Tony almost left without asking, but couldn't leave it alone. He had just cracked open the door when he turned and asked why. Which was when Spot had backed him into the door, clicked it shut, and kissed him. Just once. Then he had backed off fast and said, "Delancey's a jackass." And things had gone on from there.

Spot was tense, angry and almost entirely self-contained, but he wasn't manipulative or sanctimonious. And he had very specific ideas about fidelity, gleaned from his parents' endless divorce trial. Tony still had no idea why Spot was interested in him, and hadn't quite worked up the nerve to ask yet. He was still firmly on the rebound, and enjoying himself while it lasted.

With Morrie out of the picture, the offer to Spot to join the Higgins' Christmas had strictly been an effort to use the extra nonrefundable plane tickets. And the offer of a week and a half of home cooked meals, even with the firm "no touching" caveat, had been enough to convince Spot to not spend his break house-sitting for his uncle. Being Tony's "friend" whose parents were "on a cruise" would at least give him something to do.

But the hell of tiny seats and airports with delusions of international grandeur was starting to wear, not to mention the inedible in-flight food and the constant buzz of the fluorescent lighting. Tony had been doing this for almost three years now, and was used to it, but Spot was not doing well. His temper was showing and he looked completely exhausted, despite the coffee. His eyes were closed and he had dropped his commentary on the relative intelligence of airline employees (the fools) and airline passengers (the fools who follow them) some minutes before.

Tony decided it was about time to grow a pair about the time that the speakers switched from the Transiberian Orchestra to Leann Rimes. "Spot, are you okay?"

Spot opened his eyes and stared into his coffee. "I'll be fine. I took Excedrin."

"Migraine?" Spot nodded. Well, that explained a lot. "Would less noise help?"

Spot looked at him like he was proposing to eat a three-week-dead lark, and made a tight gesture to the surrounding crowd. "How?"

The look on Spot's face when he dug his earplugs out of his bag was worth risking the in-flight screaming babies. Spot popped them in quickly and promptly resumed hunching himself over his coffee, facing completely away from Tony. A little of the tension in the line of his shoulders went out, though, so Tony went back to his book.

A few minutes later, he thought he saw Spot twitch again, and looked up. It took him a second to realize that Spot had started to lean against his shoulder, and then jerked forward again. He smirked, and gave a sharp tug to Spot's coat sleeve until he had his attention. After a few shared gestures, not all of which were family friendly, Spot finally relaxed a little against him, and Tony grinned to himself.

And then he glared like thunder at a whining ten year old on Spot's behalf.