'Poolside' - a story based on 'Mad Dogs' starring John Simm, Philip Glenister, Marc Warren, Max Beesley and Ben Chaplin.
Title: Poolside (1/?)
Author: Edzel2 (with grateful thanks to my Beta Jinxed)
Genre: ‘Mad Dogs’
Summary: Baxter and Quinn by the pool...
This Chapter - spoilers for Episode One Set during the scene where Rick is ‘entertaining’ in his room following the trip to the nightclub; Woody has gone to bed in disgust, leaving Baxter and Quinn alone by the pool. Bax and Quinn both have failed marriages, neither has a partner at the moment. Baxter has issues he can’t or won’t confront and is becoming aroused by the sounds coming from Rick’s window. In frustration and embarrassment he strips to his underwear and dives into the pool. Quinn, knowing Baxter to be very drunk, dives in after him when he takes a while to surface....
‘What’s wrong, Bax?’ Quinn asks quietly when Baxter finally breaks the surface, gasping.
‘It’s nothing. I can’t.... nothing, Quinn. Just needed to cool off, that’s all.’
Quinn huffs a laugh. ‘Yeah. Me too.’ He jerks a nod towards the house and the sounds coming from Rick's open window. 'Difficult staying cool with that going on...'
‘yeah.... randy lil' bugger!’ Baxter laughs but it has a desperate sound to it which the psychologist in Quinn recognizes immediately. He wades through the water to place one hand on the back of Baxter’s shoulder.
‘My god, Bax – you’re as tight as a bloody wire! How can you drink so much and still be tense? You should be comatose!’ He knows, of course (or thinks he does) – but he wants to hear it from Baxter’s lips.
‘M’ not tense...’ Baxter mumbles thickly. He doesn’t turn around.
‘You are. Hold on...’ Quinn steps closer, keeping the one hand on the other man’s shoulder, not willing to give him the chance to move away. But Baxter stands quietly, his head hanging forward. He sways gently, kept upright only by the water it seems. Christ, the man is drunk, Quinn realises. The toke hadn’t helped – he’d had a good few more puffs than Quinn and the mix of alcohol and cannabis is finally taking its toll.
Quinn places the other hand on Baxter’s shoulders and begins to massage and squeeze the rock hard muscles. Bax jerks at the touch and Quinn realises that he’d been dozing. Bloody hell. All they need is to find the silly sod dead in the pool come morning.... how the hell Quinn is going to get him out on to dry land is a problem he’ll have to deal with later; right now he’s focused on getting those knotted muscles to relax.
‘Ow...’ Baxter says in the tone of a petulant child.
‘Don’t be daft, that didn’t hurt and you know it.’ Quinn kneads and presses and pummels for a minute or two. ‘So come on, Bax – what’s bothering you. Out with it.’
‘Don’.... don’t fucking... psycho-analyse me, Quinn....m’not one of your… bloody patients…’
‘I don’t have patients - I’m a lecturer, not a Doctor. I have students.’
‘Well... don’t fucking ... lecture me, then.’
Quinn sighs quietly. Baxter always had been a surly drunk, he remembers. Unlike Rick, who became over-familiar and wanted to fuck everything in sight; or Woody, who became ever quieter and more morose... and himself, what is he like as a drunk? He’s rather startled to realise that he doesn’t actually know. ‘Physician, heal thyself...’ he mutters. ‘Or something like that...’ he’s still very drunk himself, he realises. Probably shouldn’t be in the pool either. Maybe there’ll be two bodies in the pool come morning... he realises that Baxter is talking again and tunes back in.
‘....not getting any, and it’s bloody difficult, you know?’ There’s a sound like a half-strangled sob before Baxter continues, seemingly not having noticed the lack of response from Quinn. ‘I bury m’self... in the fuckin’ work... and that’s all falling apart... and you know the funny...the funny thing? I don’t even care anymore. Don’ care. And I don’t want her back, Quinn; I don’t... but just sometimes... I want someone to... to come home to... ah fuck...’
Christ. The story is so familiar that for one crazy moment Quinn suspects Baxter of taking the piss – reciting his own sad story back at him. But as he feels Bax’s shoulders shake with barely suppressed grief, he knows that the poor sod is telling the truth. It’s probably the first honest thing Baxter has said to any of them about his life for more than a few years, Quinn thinks, recognising long pent-up feelings.
‘It’s the same for me, Bax,’ he says, and something twists then, something buried deep in his stomach. He feels the heady rush of a step about to be taken which might change everything irrevocably and hesitates.
‘Nah... Don’t be fucking daft, man.’ Baxter tries to turn but Quinn refuses to yield, keeping even pressure on his shoulders.
‘It’s true. I’m too used to my own company – but sometimes I just want... need...’ you, his mind finishes for him; and for one terrifying moment Quinn believes that he’d spoken that last word out loud and his heart thumps painfully in his chest.
‘What?’ Quinn has lost the plot, is panic-stricken even as he feels the sudden heat of arousal in his loins.
‘What d’you want... need....?’ Baxter’s voice is very soft now and Quinn’s breathing hitches in his throat. Is he coming onto me? What Quinn chooses to do –or not do- next could alter his world – their worlds- forever. Bugger it. They’re none of them getting any younger, are they?
‘I need you... to shut up and let me finish this. Then we’re getting out of this pool.’ Quinn steps forward until he’s almost touching Baxter, his arms sticking out at right angles as he struggles to maintain the pretence of continuing the massage and summoning the courage to take one more step.
‘Told you.... I’m not tense.... just... just...’ Baxter groans. ‘Christ, I feel sick...’ he stumbles backwards in the water, against Quinn – and freezes as he feels Quinn’s arousal against his back. Quinn’s face burns hot with embarrassment and terror but it’s too late now. The scene will have to play out, for better or worse. Baxter sways and almost loses his footing again and when he finally steadies himself, he’s no longer leaning against Quinn, but close enough to make hardly any difference. Quinn swallows.
‘It’s the cannabis. It’ll pass,’ he says quietly. ‘Just relax.’
‘Since when have you been such a fucking expert on drug use?’ Baxter says, his voice almost a full octave higher – but he doesn’t move further away. ‘The Mighty Quinn...’
‘I’m not. Stands to reason. Unless you’re sickening for something.’
Baxter is quiet for a moment, and Quinn holds his breath. His erection aches – he longs to touch it, to push forward and rub it against the warm flesh he can still feel like a magnet through the water; he wonders how much longer he’ll have to wait for Baxter to either acknowledge the situation or punch him out.
‘I’m not. But I think you may be.’ Baxter suddenly sounds stone cold sober, even though it would be impossible for him to shake off the effects of so much alcohol so quickly.
‘No, I’m fine.’ Come on you moron... say something. ‘Bax...’
‘For fuck’s sake, Quinn – for a psychologist you’re bloody piss-poor at this, aren’t you?!’ Baxter reaches up and grabs Quinn’s hands, turning and yanking him around so that Quinn staggers slightly, the tip of his arousal brushing the other man’s stomach. They stare at each other for what feels like a full minute but is probably only seconds. Quinn feels what little remains of his resolve to keep his problems to himself crumble and dissolve in the glare of Baxter’s gaze, dimly recognising the unmistakable signals but hardly daring to believe them; the blown pupils, the partly open mouth, the rapid but shallow breaths the other man is taking. Something snaps and he lunges forward, bending slightly to clamp his mouth over Baxter’s. As their bodies meet, he feels the warm length of Baxter’s own arousal against his stomach and groans into the kiss.
‘About bloody time!’ Baxter finally gasps when they surface for air. ‘I’ve been walking around with a stiffy the size of the bloody Eifel tower since we got here....’ he reaches underwater to tug his underpants down. Quinn looks down, fascinated, but the churned up water obscures his view.
‘Come on – let’s get out of the water while we still can,’ he grunts, grabbing Baxter’s arm and hauling him along to the edge of the pool. ‘Grab that bloody ladder, for Christ’s sake.’
‘Yep...’ Baxter is quietly submissive and Quinn shivers; there’s no way this won’t be resolved now and suddenly he feels like a randy teenager again. But Baxter appears to be really feeling the effects of too much sun and way too much alcohol now –not to mention the cannabis, which was high grade stuff if Quinn’s any judge- and he falls back against Quinn before he can haul himself out onto the tiles. Quinn curses and makes a grab for the other man as he slips under the water.
‘Bax!’ he shouts, even though he knows the other man probably can’t hear him underwater. He ducks down, following, and manages to get Baxter under both armpits. He hauls him back to the surface, noting with concern that the other man’s eyes are glazed and he hardly seems to know where he is. Shit. This is not good.
‘Bax, you’ve got to wake up, come on! Wake up!’
But it’s no use – Baxter is well and truly out for the count. What the bloody hell is he going to do now? One thing is certain – Quinn can’t leave him, not even to get help. He’ll have to try and pull him out somehow. If only Baxter hadn’t stripped off – the clothes would have enabled him to get a hold. But wet skin is notoriously slippery. Maybe if he gets him up on the ladder and hooks his arms through the rungs.... that doesn’t work either and by this time Quinn is feeling desperately tired himself, any feelings of well-being induced by the drink and Baxter’s arousal long gone.
‘Come on, you daft git...’ He manages to haul Baxter half-way up the ladder but he slips back again. Okay, time for something a little more invasive then... puffing and cursing, Quinn manages to get them to the shallow end –why didn’t he think of that before?- but even there it’s a struggle to get him in a position where he can get enough leverage to push him up onto dry land.
Just as he’s on the verge of weeping with sheer frustration and weariness, he hears the unmistakable slap of bare feet on tile, and looks up to see a bleary-eyed Rick staring down at him.
‘What the fuck are you doing, Quinn?’
‘Baxter’s passed out – give me a hand...’
Together they manage to haul Baxter’s dead weight out of the pool. ‘Lay him on his stomach,’ Rick pants, ‘’case he throws up.’ He straitens up with a groan, and looks Quinn up and down. ‘Bloody ‘ell – private party, was it?’
Quinn follows Rick’s gaze; Baxter’s underpants are hooked around one ankle.
‘He’s as pissed as a newt, Rick – probably meant to take a leak before he keeled over.’ Quinn feels no shame in dissembling; anything he and Baxter might have been going to share is no-one’s business but their own. And given the way Alvo’s been needling them all night the less anyone else knows about this the better.
‘’old up... he’s comin’ round...’
Baxter groans and coughs before throwing up.
‘Bloody ‘ell – I’m off. You’re on your own, mate.’ Rick saunters away, back to his own devices, leaving Quinn to face the music.
‘Better now?’ he asks when Baxter is done retching – it’s mostly booze and bile anyway, no need to get the mops out, thank God.
‘Depends on what you mean by ‘better’...’ Baxter mumbles. ‘Where are my bloody clothes?’
‘Well your strides are round your ankles... the rest of it’s up here somewhere. We should both down a pint of water and get to bed,’ Quinn replies, all thoughts of carnal activities overwhelmed by weariness.
‘Yours or mine?’ Baxter asks quietly as he looks at the soaking boxers and kicks them off. He rolls unsteadily onto his knees and then to his feet, looking about for the rest of his clothes.
‘Here.’ Quinn comes up behind him and hands him the pale cotton shirt and the chinos.
‘Thanks.’ Baxter clumsily dresses himself and Quinn tries to ignore the pull of disappointment in his chest as the other man’s tackle is tucked away and the zipper pulled.
‘I meant what I said, y’know,’ Baxter tells Quinn as they head unsteadily across the courtyard to the silent house.
‘I know you did. And I’ll take you up on it another night, when you’re not so rat-arsed.’
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