Recognition

~4400 words :: Jude Law/Ewan McGregor :: 10/26/04
Ewan props his chin up in one hand and drums his fingers on the bar, and it’s only when something moving catches his eye – the bloke next to him shifting – that Ewan focuses on the mirrored tiles behind the bar. He’s appreciating the package – artfully mussed hair, mouth to die for, long, blunt fingers wrapped around his glass – when the bloke looks up, meeting Ewan’s eyes, and oh fuck, it’s him. (Note: This is a sequel to Anonimity. Co-written with Dee.)


It’s not his usual bar. Certainly not the traditional local he might visit after work, with its wood panelling and Victorian wallpaper, and not his usual drinking hole before he hits the clubs, either. It’s just…he felt like a change, that’s all.

Jude sighs and slides his glass in little circles on the top of the wooden bar, watching the condensation form little patterns of moisture on the varnished wood. It’s not just change…he’s been feeling a growing sense of dissatisfaction lately, like a tension between his shoulderblades or a tightening in his belly, a hunger for something. It’s not as if there’s anything wrong. Quite the contrary. Life is wonderful, everything from his work to his active and varied sex-life is wonderful. Everything’s fine. Better than fine.

Jude takes a sip of his Bailey’s and cradles the glass in his fingers, looking down at the liquid pattern on the bar. It’s just that lately he’s been beginning to feel like he’s going round in circles. Tipping a small cube of ice into his mouth, Jude crunches it between his teeth, wondering if he should have another drink here. It’s too early for the club and not too late for find another bar and have…what, another drink? Might as well stay here. Jude sighs and reaches for his cigarettes instead.

The door swinging shut behind him, Ewan runs his fingers through his hair and makes his way over towards the bar. It’s been a long day and he’s word out and just wants to have a drink and relax. He doesn’t come here often, but it’s just what he needs today. Not as noisy and frenetic as going clubbing, but not as pathetic as sitting home drinking by himself, either.

“Pint of Guinness,” he says, nodding to the barman.

He props his chin up in one hand and drums his fingers on the bar, and it’s only when something moving catches his eye – the bloke next to him shifting – that Ewan focuses on the mirrored tiles behind the bar. He’s appreciating the package – artfully mussed hair, mouth to die for, long, blunt fingers wrapped around his glass – when the bloke looks up, meeting Ewan’s eyes, and oh fuck, it’s him. Jude, Ewan’s brain provides helpfully, and he’s about to say something when the barman turns back to him with his beer.

Recognition hits like a sudden jolt of energy. In fact, Jude could swear his heart is beating faster, his face flushing from the sudden feeling of awkwardness, embarrassment and — how odd — excitement. He looks away, pretending he hasn’t noticed, although surely the suddenly rigid set of his shoulders must give him away. Consciously trying to relax, Jude motions the bartender over again and orders another drink, a pint of lager this time. He might as well stay here and hang out until it’s a more fashionable hour to go clubbing.

Maybe he should say something to… Ewan. Jude frowns. He thinks the guy’s name was Ewan. It could have been Ian and the fact that he’s Scottish has made Jude think his name was Ewan. Or it could have been something entirely different and he’s misremembering the hurried encounter of a few months ago. No, it’s definitely Ewan. Or maybe Ian. Sighing, Jude slides the unlit cigarette between his lips and starts to pat down his pockets for a lighter. Got to be here somewhere.

Ewan’s quicker, digging in his pocket and fishing out his fags. He shakes the lighter out of the packet and holds it out to Jude. “Here.” Fuck if he’s going to be ignored, not by someone who gives head that good.

“Oh, uh…thanks.” Jude smiles and concentrates on his cigarette, pursing it between his lips and leaning forward for a light.

Taking a step closer, Ewan flicks the lighter, watching as Jude’s cheeks hollow just a bit as he sucks and feeling a surge of warmth in his groin in response. Fucking gorgeous. Sliding his glass down, he takes a seat next to Jude, lights a cigarette for himself. “So…” he grins, “wasn’t expecting to see you again.”

“Uh, no, me neither.” Well, that answers any questions about whether the guy recognised him in return. Jude takes a drag of his cigarette, trying to buy time while his brain flounders, obviously distracted by all the blood rushing to his cock. What should he say next? Do you come here often? God, how lame.

Picking up his pint, Jude gestures casually around the bar. “So, is this your local, then?”

“Yeah…yeah, don’t usually come here, that often, though.” Ewan doesn’t know why he’s so relieved Jude remembers him. Well, Jude is drop dead gorgeous and has an incredibly talented mouth, definitely, and Ewan can’t imagine anyone not wanting a repeat of that experience. “Been a long day and I figured I’d stop in and get a drink before going home and crashing.” Though he’s not feeling nearly so worn out now. Grinning, he adds, “Glad I did.”

“Oh, yeah?” Jude says non-committally. He stiffens a little, not pleased by the guy’s assumption that, what? They have some kind of connection? That they’re going to shag in the bathroom later? He doesn’t do repeats. Still, he thinks, glancing back at Ewan, he can still have a beer with the guy. Kill a bit of time and then let him down gently. Or not so gently if he gets irritating. “So, you work round here then?”

“Yeah, d’you see that little music shop down the corner? Guitars and such in the front window? That’s it.” Taking a long drag on his cigarette, Ewan shrugs. “Nothing really exciting.”

He gets the feeling this bloke isn’t nearly as keen as he himself is, and it’s more than a little galling. He was plenty keen when I had my hand on his dick and my fingers up his arse. Determined not to let it show, he pulls an ashtray over and taps his fag over it. “You work around here, too?”

“No, no, I don’t. I was just, uh…” Jude shrugs, reaching for his pint, “heading into the West End, gonna meet up with some mates at a club.” Well, maybe, if anyone’s around. At least the guy knows he isn’t a sure thing now. That he’s got a life, people to see, places to go. Shame really… Jude’s eyes stray to the guy’s hands, watching the way he plays with the cigarette. Good hands. Knows how to use them, too. “Thought I’d get off the Tube a stop early and take a walk, get a drink, check out some of the pubs along the way.”

Lucky me, Ewan thinks, though he knows better to say it out loud. “Clubbing, eh?” He can’t very well say he was planning on going, too, not after having said he was worn out. Fuck, fuck, fucking fuck. Small talk, then, and hope Jude warms to him a bit. He’s talking about music, then, and clubs and which one plays better mixes, and what he’s thinking about is having Jude’s mouth on his cock again and how good he looked on his knees.

“‘nother Guinness, ta,” he says, grinning at the bartender – who’s not bad himself, though not really Ewan’s type – and pushing his empty glass aside. “I mean, I’m generally of the opinion that you can never have too much Madonna, but even I think the DJ there’s a bit obsessed.”

“Oh, God, perish the thought… Getting sick of Madonna.” Jude laughs and motions for another beer as well. He pulls out his wallet and pushes a note over the bar. “I’ll get this one. But…you know, Madonna, it’s such a gay stereotype, I… I kinda like to get away from that sometimes, you know what I mean?”

He’s enjoying himself, having fun. Ewan is a good conversationalist with a seemingly never-ending supply of amusing anecdotes, and has even managed to draw him into telling some of his own. Of course, he’s not quite so good at stringing together a yarn and he’s worried that some of his jokes are falling flat, but Ewan seems to be going along with him. Mostly he’s just watching Ewan’s hands, restlessly in motion, gesturing, scratching his head, sometimes rubbing the front of his jeans – oh yes, Jude’s noticed that all right – but always, always moving. What would it be like to have a lover who was so tactile?

Jude pulls the fresh beer towards him and pockets the change. “So, I mean, you’re a musician, right? Is that why you came to London? For the music?”

“Yeah, well, it was Edinburgh for a while, but then the band I was with broke up and some friends down here were looking for a vocalist.” Ewan tilts his head, cracking his neck. “That didn’t last long, either, but I ended up staying. Better opportunities,” he says, grinning. And not just for music, either. A bit of wriggling in his seat and he manages to tuck one leg underneath him. He tilts his head the other way, but it doesn’t crack this time. “What about you, then?”

Jude shrugs. “I’m an architect. Junior. Very junior. I get to do the kitchen extensions and loft renovations while the partners do the big projects and prestige apartments. And…yeah, I know…” he shrugs again, a little ruefully, “it’s all a bit boring. Not very glamorous at all. But, I mean… I’m working up to the bigger projects. Everyone needs a house, a home to live in right? And I get to be both practical and creative so it’s quite satisfying in a way.” He hopes he doesn’t sound too defensive. “Not quite as exciting as music…”

“I don’t think it’s boring,” Ewan says, lighting up another cigarette. “I mean, the whole sitting in an office part, yeah, but it’s still…creative and all, yeah? Drawing buildings. I couldn’t sit in an office all day, though. The shop’s bad enough, but playing in a band’s not exactly something you can live off of, you know?”

“Suppose not. Well…it could be. Bit like anything artistic, really. Art, music…acting. Most people just scrape by and only a lucky few get any kind of, uh, success…” Jude trails off, staring at his beer. He’s beginning to sound like his father. And this is all getting far too cosy. Dammit, he likes the guy and that, to him, means it’s probably time to pull away. He checks his watch. Still a bit early. “I couldn’t live like that. No security…” Never really got the chance to find out. Jude takes another sip of his beer and then looks sidelong at Ewan, almost despite himself. “Sounds kinda…exciting though. I suppose.”

“Well, if I ever make it big, you’ll be able to say you blew me when,” Ewan says, managing a straight face barely long enough to get the words out before sniggering.

“Yeah, I’m just a groupie.” Jude doesn’t know whether to be offended or amused but Ewan’s throaty laugh is infectious. He starts to smile. “Well, when you do get to be a megastar, give me a call and I’ll design you a mansion. Something outrageous and, uh…rock starry.” Grinning, Jude lifts his pint in salute. “Of course, by then, you won’t be able to afford my prices.”

“What, not even on my rock star income?” Ewan laughs.

“Well…I might give you a discount for old times’ sake.” Jude laughs, too. Waitaminute, now…what ‘old times’? He takes a sip of his beer and his smile slowly fades. This is all getting a little bit cosy. A bit friendly. Perhaps too friendly for his liking. Already he’s wondering if he’s given too much away, told this guy too much about his own life. And he’s usually so careful. Sobering a little, Jude glances at his watch, wondering if it is about time he should be going.

“It’s about two minutes later than it was last time you looked.” Stubbing out his fag, Ewan reaches for another, notices how few he’s got left, and thinks better of it. “You that eager to be shut of me?” he jokes.

“No, of course not,” Jude says automatically, mortified at having been caught out. “Just trying to figure out if I’ve got time for one more pint.” He wriggles uncomfortably. Perhaps it’s time to leave. If he has another drink he might not make it to the club at all. And would that be so bad? Glancing over at Ewan, he remembers his regret that he didn’t ask the guy to fuck him last time. “Then again…” Jude says slowly, “any more to drink and I might decide to give the club a miss.”

Ewan’s grin widens. “Oh yeah? Be a terrible shame, that.” Turning to the barman, he orders two more pints. “I’ll get this round,” he says, digging his wallet out from his back pocket and dropping a crumpled note on the bar. His last. Bugger. Well, he’ll get a bit of change from this, and he’s probably got a few pounds in his pockets. Enough for the Tube, anyway.

“Thanks. Cheers.” Jude pulls his beer towards him and takes a sip, watching Ewan. Now what? He hasn’t been to the gents here yet but it’s an unfamiliar pub and he’s not about to suggest going in there together. Colour rises in his cheeks as he realises where his thoughts are heading. Assuming a lot, aren’t you, lad? Then again, as he looks at Ewan again, watching his fingers sliding restlessly up and down his glass, he knows, with a thrill of excitement, that he’s not assuming too much. He smiles. “So, you live nearby?”

“Not walking distance,” Ewan says, taking a drink. “Well, I suppose we could. I mean, it’s not impossible, just takes longer than I usually have time for.” He stops suddenly, realising what he’s just said, and chews his lip. “Assuming you didn’t just ask out of politeness, and I haven’t just gone and completely cocked it up, that is.”

“No.” Jude smiles into his beer. “No, you haven’t cocked it up. I just thought I might take you up on your offer. You did ask…last time, I mean.”

“Yeah? I mean, yeah. Yeah, brilliant.” Ewan grins. Now that that’s settled, he’s keen to be off, bouncing his knee as he finishes off his beer. “So…”

“Hang on, hang on…” Jude still has half a pint to finish. Watching Ewan over the rim, he tips the glass up and swallows most of it down. There’s still a couple of inches of beer left in the glass when he places it firmly on the counter and stands. “All right, then. Lead on. Let’s grab a cab.” And then, remembering that Ewan didn’t seem to have all that much money to throw around, he adds, “I’ll get it.”

“Yeah, all right.” Standing, Ewan grabs his wallet and fags and stuffs them back in his pockets as they head outside. It’s turned a bit chilly while they were inside and Ewan crosses his arms over his chest as they wait, bouncing on his heels.

The cab ride itself is unremarkable, filled with idle chatter, and Ewan’s glad when they reach his flat. “It’s just upstairs,” he says, fishing his keys out while Jude pays.

“Okay.” Jude shoves his wallet back in his pocket and looks up and down the street. A nice ordinary row of terrace houses, nothing too fancy and, thankfully, not too rough, either. And it’s not that far from the Tube, either, Jude thinks as Ewan fiddles with the lock. Last chance to back out. The door swings open and Jude takes a deep breath. “Don’t normally do this,” he mutters, and then wishes he hasn’t because it sounds a bit pathetic.

“Don’t normally do what?” Ewan asks, toeing out of his shoes as soon as he’s through the door.

“Go home with strange blokes.” Jude tries to make the best of it, grinning at Ewan even though his smile is a little nervous. “Then again, you don’t seem that strange.” Following Ewan’s lead, he pulls his shoes off, placing them side by side in the hallway.

“No?” Kicking the door shut, Ewan grins, reaches out and pulls Jude towards him. “You just shag ’em in the toilets, eh?”

“Yep. Blow ’em in back alleys…” It’s not strictly true but Jude smiles back, sliding his arms around Ewan to cup his arse. “A bed will be quite a novelty,” he adds, growing breathless as he feels the heat of Ewan’s erection pressed against his own through their jeans. “Where is it?”

“This way,” Ewan mumbles, trying to snog Jude and pull him in the right direction at the same time. By the time they stumble into his bedroom, he’s got Jude’s fly open and his hand around Jude’s dick. He manages to pull away long enough for a glance at the bed – clean enough, thank God, don’t have to waste time clearing it off – and then his mouth is on Jude’s again, sucking and biting at Jude’s lower lip.

“Yeah, oh yeah…” Jude groans, tugging roughly at Ewan’s jeans. He’s got them undone, halfway down his hips, and its just a matter of pushing and shoving until Ewan’s cock springs free, his arse laid bare. Just like last time, this guy isn’t wearing any underpants and that makes Jude smile as he finally gets to wrap his fingers around Ewan’s satisfyingly thick cock. Easy access. “Want this,” he murmurs, gliding his hand loosely over the head, feeling the silken skin slide under his fingers. “Want your cock. Fuck me?”

Ewan’s cock twitches in Jude’s hand. “Fuck yeah.”

They’re nearly to the bed now. Just a few more steps and – yes, there – he’s pushing Jude back, grabbing the waistbands of jeans and pants together and tugging them down as Jude scoots backwards. Ewan shoves his own jeans the rest of the way down and pulls his jumper and t-shirt off over his head, letting them drop to the ground. Jude’s managed to get the rest of his clothes off, too, and fucking hell, but he looks gorgeous. Ewan’s hand drops to his cock.

Sprawled on the bed, Jude tosses his shirt into the darkness, hoping it lands somewhere near the rest of his clothes. He looks up at Ewan, runs his hand invitingly up his thigh. “Cold… Come warm me up.”

“Yeah.” Crawling up between Jude’s legs, Ewan bends down, runs his tongue around the head of Jude’s cock, fingers slipping between his cheeks to tease his hole. “There’s johnnies and stuff in the drawer there,” he murmurs, letting his breath play over the tip, watching Jude’s dick jerk in response.

“Mmm…okay…” Jude reaches out, groping with his fingertips until he finds the wooden edge of the bedside table. Awkwardly he slides his fingers along, searching for the drawer handle. The last thing he wants to do is move away from those warm lips, the wet tongue just dipping into the slit at the end of his cock. With a grunt, Jude manages to hook his thumb in the handle and pull the drawer open, scrabbling inside for something that feels like condoms. There they are, several foil packets and right next to it a plastic tube. Could be hair gel for all he knows but Ewan’s blunt fingers are pushing at his hole now and he doesn’t really care. “Here,” Jude gasps, dropping the condoms and tube on his belly, “Here. Oh God…keep doing that.”

“What, this?” Ewan says, grinning up at him as he pushes his fingers in further. Jude squirms and whimpers in reply, so Ewan guesses that must be it.

He takes the lube, flipping the cap open with his thumb and squirting a bit onto his fingers. They slide in easily now, two of them up to the last knuckle, curling up to brush over Jude’s prostate.

“Ah! Ah! Yes…” Jude pulls his knees up, bearing down on Ewan’s fingers, trying to relax and open up for him. “Yes, that’s good.” Oh God, this is so much better than a hurried blow job in the bogs, a panicky, desperate fuck up against a wall. Worth it, even for the risk he’s taking, for the inevitable awkwardness afterwards. Ewan’s fingers plunge into him, fill him, and it’s only going to get better. “Oh God, fuck me…”

“‘m gonna.” One last hard shove, twist, and Ewan pulls his fingers out, hurriedly rips open one of the condoms and rolls it on. He lines himself up, pulls one leg over his shoulder and slides in slowly. It’s killing him; Jude’s so fucking hot and tight around his cock, and Ewan moans, licking his lips. “Fuck…”

Despite the fingers, despite the stretching, it still burns as Ewan pushes in. And then he’s there, so deep inside him Jude can only groan in pleasure. It’s been too long… Reaching out, Jude runs a hand down Ewan’s chest, thumb brushing over a broad nipple, reminding himself it’s real, that he’s really naked in another man’s bed, being fucked, harder and harder as Ewan picks up speed. He groans again, cupping Ewan’s chin in his hand and running his thumb over warm lips. “Oh God…”

Tongue flicking out over Jude’s thumb, Ewan moans. “God, you’re tight.” He draws Jude’s thumb into his mouth, sucking and biting as his hips slap against Jude’s arse. Fingers tightening on Jude’s thigh, he reaches for Jude’s cock with his free hand, rubbing his palm over the slick head before settling into a rhythm, stroking in time with his thrusts.

“Yeah,” Jude gasps, rocking up into Ewan’s thrusts. This is perfect The only thing Jude regrets is that, the way this is going, it’s not going to last very long. He can’t hold back now, though. Smiling blissfully up at Ewan, he lets his eyes roll closed. Close now. “Yeah, fuck me…”

Almost there, almost…there. With a long moan, Ewan comes, arching his back as his hips continue to pump, cock pulsing inside that tight heat. His grip slackens for a moment and then he’s pulling hard on Jude’s cock, gasping, “Come on….come on.”

“Ohh…!” A long, exquisite shudder of pleasure rolls through him and Jude is coming, Ewan’s hand pumping his cock until he flops backwards, drained and satisfied, a wide grin spread across his face. “Oh God,” Jude whispers and hooks his fingers over Ewan’s shoulder, pulling him up towards him. “C’mere…”

“Hang on…” With a grunt, Ewan pulls out, letting Jude’s legs flop down. Tugging the condom off, and dropping it off the side of the bed, he scoots up, sweaty and sticky and still a bit wobbly, and collapses next to Jude. “Brilliant,” he mumbles, throwing one arm over Jude’s waist and pulling him close.

Curling loosely against Ewan, Jude tries to recover his breath. “That was…the best…” he gasps. The best fuck ever. But that sounds a bit lame, a bit too bloody daft. Even if it’s true.

“Mmm…better’n a quickie inna bogs, yeah?” Ewan yawns. “Wore me out.”

“Yeah. Definitely.” Jude’s still mellow enough to agree but as he lies there, Ewan almost cuddling him, the familiar feeling of post coital awkwardness begins to steal over him. What now? Should he make his excuses and leave now? Wait until Ewan is asleep and then sneak off? Or perhaps — Jude closes his eyes, realising he’s tired and in no real shape to move immediately — perhaps he should just sleep, leave as quickly as possible in the morning. As long as the bloke doesn’t decide to get chatty. Jude makes a show of yawning to forestall any chance of conversation. “Me, too. Tired.”

Sitting up, Ewan grabs the covers from the foot of the bed and tugs them over himself and Jude. He scrubs a corner of the sheet over Jude’s belly, more smearing the come around than actually cleaning it up. He starts to lie down again and then stops, peering down at Jude in the dim light. “‘less you want a shower?”

“Um, no, I’m okay.” Jude lifts his head slightly, looking down at his sticky belly. Perhaps he should leave after all. Perhaps Ewan’s saying he should have a shower is his way of suggesting he should leave. Jude bites his lip and tries to read the other man’s face in the semi-darkness. He doesn’t want to out-stay his welcome. Sitting up, he manages to swing his legs out of the bed. “Maybe I should just use the bathroom.” Reaching down, he grabs his trousers off the floor. “Which way…?”

“‘s not so far you need trousers to get there,” Ewan says. “Right over there,” he waves his hand, indicating the wall behind Jude, “next to the cupboard.”

“Oh, right.” Embarrassed now, Jude drops his trousers on the floor again and turns around. “Thanks”. Stumbling into the bathroom he quickly splashes his face with cold water, waiting as the water warms before scrubbing at his belly with a handful of water. Good enough. The bathroom clearly shows Ewan lives here alone, towels and toiletries piled around somewhat haphazardly. Jude finds himself humming under his breath as he has a piss and then heads back into the bedroom.

“It’s that awkward post-shag shuffle.” Jude smiles ruefully down at the man in the bed. “You know, the Clash song?” He starts to sing. “Should I stay or should I go now? Should I stay or should I go now?”

“Stay,” Ewan says, laughing and patting the bed. “Though if you sing anymore, I might have to kick you out.”

“Duly noted.” Jude climbs in between the sheets and makes himself comfortable. “I’ll leave the music to you, then.” He’s tempted to lean over for a kiss but he can’t quite bring himself to be so familiar. A smile will have to do. “Night, then.”

“Night,” Ewan echoes, rolling onto his belly and sliding one leg over Jude’s. He can’t remember the last time anybody stayed over, and it feels good to have someone else in bed with him. He scoots a little closer and mumbles, “Don’t hog the blankets.”

“I won’t.” Jude snorts and closes his eyes.