"Remember This Night" - NBA slash
Pairing: Steve Nash/Tim Duncan
DISCLAIMER: Don't know, don't own, not making any money, etc.
Warnings/Notes: Language, explicit sex. Enormous thanks to shadow_shimmer for the beta and the encouragement. Without her, you can be assured that this would never, ever have happened ;)
Remember This Night
The knock on my door isn’t unexpected. But the person standing on the other side when I open the door is a surprise.
It could have been any number of people. Amare or Shawn, wanting to make their misery into a communal affair. Or D’Antoni, needing to discuss something that had slipped his mind after the game. Maybe even Dirk, showing up unannounced – but certainly not unwelcome.
But no. It’s Tim Duncan.
And yeah, I’m kind of shocked, but I’m far too tired to make a show of it. I doubt my expression changes much as I lean against the door a little.
“Hey, Nash. I just wanted to see how you’re doing. Tough game and all.” Simple. Concise. Fucking compassionate, even. I don’t know Tim that well, but I do know that if nothing else, he’s probably the most genuinely nice person I’ve come across in all my years in the NBA.
And he’s looking at me with that careful, modest expression that always makes me feel like he's somehow looking up at me, even though I know that that’s technically impossible.
“I’m alright,” I say automatically. It’s what I’ve always said, no matter what happens. Always positive, always optimistic. That’s the only way I know how to deal.
Tim’s gaze doesn’t waver as he nods slowly, and there’s an intensity in his eyes that makes me feel like he’s studying me, calculating me. And I suddenly realize that Tim’s still standing in the hall – somewhat awkwardly – and I’m being rude.
“Do you want to come in?” I ask, opening the door a bit wider.
“Yeah, sure,” he answers, in that quiet, gentle voice that sounds so strange coming out of his large body.
The chairs in the corner of my hotel room are piled high with bags and clothes, so we sit on the bed. Tim winces a little as he lowers himself onto the mattress.
“How’re the ankles?” I ask.
“They’ll be fine,” he replies, shifting a little. “How’s your back?”
“It’ll be fine,” I say, and a small smile creeps across my face for what feels like the first time in nearly four hours.
It’s quiet for a moment, then Tim speaks again.
“It was a decent game, you know.”
My smile fades.
“We looked like fucking amateurs out there, Duncan.”
“Well, yeah, you did, but only because we spanked you when it came to defense,” he replies. “There’s no way we were gonna let you run your game.”
Our game. The fast-paced, high-scoring style of play that the journalists and sportscasters had been lauding for months. The style of play that – until these past three games – had resulted in incredible achievements. And although I’ve made it a point to act as though I don’t play into all the hype, the truth is that all the titles and all the statistics mean something to me.
“It’s ridiculous, you know – the way we’ve been playing,” I say, and my frustration and disappointment over the outcome of this series so far makes my voice strained. “This season was it, man. We’ve got the fucking best record in the NBA, we’re the best road team, highest-scoring team, we’ve got Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year, former Rookie of the Year, MVP.” I recite the accolades easily, fighting the urge to tick them off on my fingers. “And we’re still down 3-0 in the Conference Finals. It’s fucking embarrassing.” I bite my lip the second the words are out of my mouth; it’s the first time I’ve ever admitted to anyone that I’m embarrassed by our performance in this series, and it’s to a member of the team that’s currently making us look like fools.
He puts an arm around my shoulders.
“Look, Steve. You’re still the MVP. No matter how this series turns out, no one can take that from you.”
The words strike a very sore spot with me; yes I’m the MVP, but what good is that title if I can’t deliver? I feel like I’ve lost my touch in this series, and consequently I’m letting everyone down. The team, the fans. Phoenix. Myself.
Not to mention what I gave up when I decided to come to Phoenix. I knew that Dirk – no matter how much he loved me – wasn’t going to put up with the secrecy and the geographical separation. So I made that choice, knowing that I was sacrificing my relationship with Dirk, but doing it anyway – and now it isn’t paying off like I thought it would. My chest tightens with bitterness.
“Hmm. Tell that to your fans,” I reply, making at attempt at humor that comes out with far less amusement than I had hoped.
Tim looks at me – looks down at me, this time – and I can tell he knows what I’m referring to. An arena full of fans, cheering for the Spurs, and chanting those three coveted letters at their MVP. The former titleholder who was doing a fucking better job out there than I was.
It had been one of the most difficult experiences of my life. For weeks leading up to the vote, I’d been showered with the same chant in Phoenix. But now, I had the title, and I was failing. And granted, the fans had been cheering for Tim, but they had also been mocking me. And it had been so much worse than the boos I’d experienced during my first season in Dallas. It had been difficult to act calm and collected on the court.
I’m losing my composure now, too – and Tim can sense it. I allow myself to be pulled gently into his embrace.
Ironically, I feel even smaller sitting here on my bed, plastered against his side, than I ever have standing next to him on the court. He positively surrounds me, one arm circling my shoulders, the other buried in my hair.
I suddenly realize just how intimate this is – Tim cradling me as I cling to him, practically sitting in his lap now. It’s not a good idea, this intimacy – no matter how good it feels – and I begin to subtly shift my body away.
And that’s when I feel it.
I immediately stop moving, and I stop breathing for a moment until I realize that holding my breath is just as suspicious as the hardness I think I just felt in Tim’s pants.
I’m scared to move again; I don’t know if I want to be right – if I want Tim to be attracted to me – or if I want to have been mistaken.
But we can’t just sit here all night.
Breathing again, I tentatively move my thigh.
And it’s unmistakable then. Tim’s hard. And I’m…at a loss.
I can tell that Tim realizes that I’m aware of his condition by the way that the rest of his body stiffens.
“Shit, Steve. Look man, I’m sorry,” Tim mumbles, pulling away from me.
The loss of contact makes me feel a little bit desperate inside. Empty.
The logical part of my brain, however, breathes a sigh of relief. This is awkward, but we can both brush it off and go about our business and never talk about it again. That sounds like a good plan.
But as he continues to pull away from me, I start to panic. There’s a part of me that’s been left exposed and vulnerable after the events of the last series, and the ache of the separation from Dirk is still fresh. And my hand, in complete defiance of my logic, reaches out and grasps Tim by the back of the neck, pulling him towards me.
The kiss is strange at first; I guess that’s not exactly surprising, considering that I can’t quite believe it’s happening, and Tim seems completely shocked that I’m reciprocating his interest. It becomes real enough after a moment or two, once we start to figure each other out, and then it’s good, really good.
I know that Tim’s not Dirk – far from it. But Tim is strong and warm and stable against my body, and now, as everything around me crumbles to dust, I can’t stop myself from clinging to him. Even though he’s not Dirk, he still appeals to that part of me that wants to be overpowered and overwhelmed and pressed into the mattress by someone who’s bigger and stronger than I am.
I want to touch him, and so I do, sliding a hand down his chest to his lap, closing my fingers around his erection. I squeeze him through his sweatpants a couple of times before slipping my hand under the material.
He grunts against my mouth as I begin to stroke him, and the noises are pure validation for me. After everything that went wrong in the game, it feels good to do something right, even if it’s just this personal, private victory that no one else will know about.
Tim eases us back onto the bed until I’m flat on my back, his weight pressing me into the mattress. That’s what I’ve been waiting for, that feeling, but it doesn’t last long; he sits back up and begins undressing, then he reaches for me and strips off my clothes.
When we’re both naked, he slides his body back on top of mine. I nearly panic for a moment; it’s real now, what we’re about to do – there’s no mistaking it when there’s hot skin pressed along the entire length of my body. I’m more than a little anxious, but I part my lips submissively when Tim leans down to kiss me.
Despite my reservations, this still feels good. I’m harder than I’ve been in a while, and that’s good, and I can feel Tim’s erection pressing into my hip, and that’s good too. My hands are rubbing up and down the length of his back, tracing his muscles, and he’s so much larger than me that it’s almost overwhelming. But it’s nice at the same time. It gives me a sense of stability.
I can’t really move, but that’s okay because I don’t want to.
Tim pulls away from the kiss with exquisite slowness, and I can’t suppress the shiver that runs up the length of my spine.
“Have you got anything?” he murmurs, gently rubbing one of my arms.
“My bag, in the bathroom,” I answer, and Tim smiles as he gets up. I stare at the ceiling, dragging a hand lightly up and down my stomach as I recall exactly why there’s lube in my travel bag. Memories creep into my consciousness, even though I know that now isn’t necessarily the best time – memories of Dirk, his body pressed against me – inside me – for six precious nights…
The bed dips as Tim returns. He leans over the side of the bed and grabs his pants, pulling a condom from one of the pockets.
He drops the little packet onto the bed next to my thigh, and my gaze fixates on it. Just beyond, I can see Tim unscrewing the top off the lube and coating his fingers, and I’m gripped by a renewed bout of nervousness. I realize that as much as I’ve played with Tim on the court, I don’t really know him off of it, aside from a few conversations here and there and some brief encounters during the All-Star break. And the lack of familiarity is unnerving, especially considering that for so long I’ve only been touched by lovers I know intimately, inside and out.
I hide my anxiety by fighting it. I open my legs wider and force myself not to tense up when Tim’s fingers make contact with my skin.
It’s nerve-wracking to have someone go feeling around inside you when you have no fucking idea if they know what they’re doing or not.
Luckily, Tim knows.
After only a couple of seconds of careful exploration, he’s found that spot inside me that makes my breath hitch. And he rubs it over and over until I’m gasping and moaning and pushing my hips up into his touch.
He smoothes the hair away from my neck and leans down to kiss the skin.
“God, Steve…look at you,” he mumbles, his fingers still moving inside me.
I let my eyes slide closed in an attempt to hide the expression on my face – part embarrassment at the display I’m putting on, and part cynicism at Tim’s words. Because I have looked at myself, many times, and the truth is that I don’t understand what it is that he sees. My body is alright, I guess, but my face is nothing special. I…look old. And not just that – I look weary, too, and that’s probably even worse than the effects of age. And my hair…I know that my current style isn’t exactly flattering, but I’ve always looked awkward, no matter what I do with it. At least the length gave Dirk something to hold on to.
It gives Tim something to hold on to, too. His fingers close around a handful of my hair, but he doesn’t pull; he just sort of coaxes my head up off of the pillow and presses his lips against mine.
I’m starting the get used to the way Tim kisses – firm and purposeful, yet still gentle. This knowledge – this tiny bit of familiarity – relaxes me enough to grab the condom packet and unwrap it.
I roll it onto Tim’s cock with surprisingly steady fingers, listening to – and liking – the way his breath catches when I touch him.
My own breath is coming in desperate pants. Tim still has his fingers – three of them now – inside me, and the relentless pressure is making my dick weep, leaving wet smears across my stomach.
His fingers slip out of me and then he’s guiding himself inside. Slowly. Carefully. Just like everything else he’s done to me tonight. He pauses once he’s entered me fully, but that makes me impatient because there’s no need for him to coddle me – after this last series with the Mavs – with Dirk – I’m hardly out of practice.
I push my hips against his as firmly as I can, though it’s hard to do much when I’m forced to work against his considerable weight. Tim understands, though, and I have to bite my lip to stifle the whimper that rises up in my throat as he begins moving.
His hand trails down my body and grabs one of my legs under the knee, lifting it up to give himself better access. His mouth is on mine again, his tongue invading, and I wrap an arm around his neck to pull him closer.
After a while, I raise my other leg, and Tim, taking the hint, releases his grip on my knee. I squeeze my thighs around his hips, opening myself completely.
Then Tim’s hand is at my mouth, pushing two fingers past my lips. I accept them without hesitation, sucking them all the way down, exploring the length of them with my tongue and nipping at the tips.
My hands rub up his back, and I can feel the muscles flexing beneath the layer of skin and sweat. Fingers travel further, over his neck to his hair. And it feels different – so different from any hair I’ve touched like this lately – so different from Dirk’s…
I force Dirk out of my mind; that’s over now, a shambles, a mockery of anything it used to be. Luckily it’s not hard to forget him because Tim is brushing a kiss across my cheek before nuzzling into my neck, and then he’s pulling his fingers out of my mouth and wrapping them around my cock.
I clutch at his shoulders, then his back, moaning as I get close.
When I come – digging my fingers into his back hard enough that I wonder if I’ve left bruises – Tim seems to lose a bit of his control. He increases the pace and force of his thrusts until I feel the first unfurling of pain inside.
He gasps my name into my neck as he comes, and that makes me feel slightly uncomfortable because it’s somehow very intimate, doing that, and I’d studiously avoided using Tim’s name while we were actually fucking. I realize that it all comes down to the fact that Tim – nice and likable and sexy as he is – is just a substitute for the lover that I can’t have.
Tim rolls away for a minute, but then he’s back, easing me onto my side and spooning up behind me. And I realize that substitute or not, it still feels good when he touches me. We lay like that, silently, for a long time. Long enough that I start to wonder if Tim’s leaving, or if he plans to stay here all night.
“Aren’t you going home?” I mumble at last, cringing a little as I realize how dismissive that sounds. I don’t want him to go, necessarily.
“Not right away. There’s…no one waiting up for me.”
I vaguely recall hearing about Tim getting married a few years back, and his statement makes me wonder if things are okay in his marriage. But I don’t like wondering about things like that, because it only reminds me of my own shaky relationships.
It’s too late, though, and thinking of Alejandra makes my chest tighten uncomfortably. It’s not that I don’t love her, because I do – and as the mother of my children, she and I share a connection I’ve never had with any other person. But as much as I love her – and the twins – I feel trapped. I let things get out of hand with her – in a way I never did in any other relationship – and now I’m stuck in a situation I never wanted to be in, with someone I don’t think I want to spend the rest of my life with. Even though I love her, she can’t give me everything I need.
Which is why, after only dating Alejandra for six months, I began turning to Dirk.
Because unlike Alejandra, he can give me what I need. And sometimes I need someone who’s bigger and stronger and male.
The situation with Dirk has never been ideal, though. Even though I love him – even though I need him – I’ve never been willing to give up Alejandra. I’m comfortable with her; it’s convenient – and she also would provide damn good cover in the event that someone tried to out me. Back when I was still with the Mavs, and Dirk and I were becoming noticeably more inseparable, that cover was something I desperately wanted.
Dirk never liked it, though. I’m not sure why he put up with it for as long as he did; did he love me so much that he was willing to be with me in spite of my bullshit? I’m not sure I deserve that kind of love. Whatever – the double life with Dirk didn’t last. When I decided to come to Phoenix, that was the last straw for him. It was difficult enough having to constantly hide what we were doing when we lived in the same city – the idea of attempting to maintain a long-distance affair was too much even for him. We remained friends, but the sex stopped cold. At the time, I tried to look at it positively – it was, after all, one less thing to worry about. And by that time, I was preoccupied enough with Alejandra’s pregnancy.
But of course, that wasn’t the end. By the time the Suns and the Mavs met in the playoffs, the separation had made me acutely aware of how much I needed Dirk. And I’m not sure if Dirk needed me or if he needed the ego boost of knowing that I still needed him, but either way we ended up in his hotel room after game one. That was a pattern that continued throughout the series, but there was never any doubt that this wasn’t about love – it was about sex. We never spent the night together – I’d leave Dirk’s hotel room after we were done, or he’d leave mine, to go back where we belonged. And I tolerated the detachment and the casual nature of it all, because that was what Dirk apparently needed to maintain his pride.
But it left me feeling cold and empty inside.
Tim shifts, his chest pressing gently into my back, and the motion brings me back to the present and reminds me that no matter how active and troubled my mind might be, my body is exhausted. It doesn’t take long for the soft, steady sound of Tim’s breathing to lull me to sleep.
I wake some time later to the sounds of rustling fabric and shuffling feet.
I open my eyes to see Tim getting dressed. I watch him quietly, eyeing the handful of faint oval-shaped marks on his back. So I did bruise him after all. He notices that I’m awake and there’s a guilty expression on his face as he pulls his shirt over his head.
I know what that look means. He does have someone waiting at home after all.
I’m not bothered, though. It’s better this way. Easier. No false promises, no pretending…
He comes over and lays a hand on my arm where it’s peeking out of the sheets.
“Good luck in game four,” he says quietly.
I nod and manage a tired smile. “Yeah. You too.”
There’s a smile on his face as well when he turns to leave the room.
I wait until the door shuts firmly before I roll over to look at the bedside clock. Midnight. Not too late…
Impulsively, I grab my cell phone off the nightstand, intent on calling Dirk. If nothing else, this night with Tim has reminded me just how much I need him. But I pause before I even push the first button.
What would it accomplish? Calling Dirk in the middle of the night to talk about – what? I can’t offer Dirk anything more than I have all season – a few clandestine fucks here and there when we happen to be in the same city. Nothing else – not now, at least. No matter how much I need Dirk, I feel a sense of responsibility to Alejandra and to the twins. And despite the panicky, utterly trapped feeling I get when I think about my family, I’m not going to abandon them.
My thumb traces over the keypad of my phone.
Maybe the situation with Dirk is better this way, too.
I place my phone back on the nightstand and turn out the light.