Rating: I really have no idea, so let's just go with very light R, mkay? ^_^

Disclaimer: Fanfiction (as defined by Wikipedia) is a broadly-defined term used to describe stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator. Hence, not mine.

Summary: When what you want is impossible, a little imagination works wonders.

Word Count: ~2281

Chapter: 1/1

Pairings: One-sided Ian/John, one-sided Ash/John, and Ian/Ash.

Warnings: Slash, obviously.

A/N: Thank you to Arithilim for the beta!

“Took you long enough to get here!” John greeted his brother with a shout and a one-armed hug as Ian walked through the door into the restaurant. Ian would have preferred that the hug be a bit more intimate than that, but he had learned very early on in life that that wouldn’t go over very well.

“I’m early, John,” Ian pointed out with a grin.

John glanced down at his watch. “Only by five minutes. It’s your brotherly duty to arrive at least an hour before my rehearsal dinner!”

Ian rolled his eyes. “Maybe you should’ve informed me of that before now,” he grinned. The grin slipped a little as he looked past his brother and saw a man standing there, with dark hair and grey eyes. The man wasn’t exactly Ian’s type (he preferred men with fair hair and laughing brown eyes), but he found himself staring at him anyway. Of course, the staring might have been because of the way that the dark haired man was looking at his John.

It was, Ian imagined, the kind of look that he himself might send John’s way if he weren’t so good at hiding his feelings.

“Who’s that?” Ian asked quietly, nodding his head towards the dark haired man.

“Who?” John turned around to look where Ian was looking. “Oh. That’s Ash,” he said. He beckoned the dark haired man - Ash - over. “Ash, this is my brother Ian,” John introduced them.

Ian nodded curtly at Ash, and the other man’s friendly smile dimmed a little.

Ian turned to his brother. “Where’s Helen?” he asked.

“Back at the tables,” John said happily, leading Ian and Ash back to the rest of the group.

Ian’s stomach clenched almost painfully when they arrived at their destination, and John kissed Helen on the lips. He would never get used to that. It wasn’t that he had a vendetta against Helen or anything, it was just women in general. Or, really, women that dated John in general, and especially women that were engaged to John.

Glancing around the table, he realized that the only people that he recognized were his parents, neither of whom he was very pleased to see. One at a time, they were bearable, but when they were together, there was usually an explosion.

He was aiming for the empty seat next to John, but Ash got there first, and slipped into the chair, smirking smugly at Ian.

Ian clenched his teeth and altered his course to sit next to his mother.

---

Ash made it through only the appetizers before sitting next to John and his fiancé became unbearable. Sure, he had raced Ian for the prime seat next to John, but sitting next to the happily whispering and kissing couple wasn’t doing much for his stomach.

He stood up and excused himself, making a quick dash towards the bathroom.

He was leaning over the sink, splashing cold water on his face when he heard the door open behind him.

Turning around, he saw Ian standing there against the door, arms crossed over his chest and smirking.

“What do you want?” Ash asked brusquely. Smirking bastards weren’t his favorite thing in the world, especially not at a time like this.

“Interesting question,” Ian continued smirking and moved towards Ash. “Much the same as you, I’d say.”

Ash’s breath left him in a gasp as Ian shoved him against the wall.

“Get off me!” Ash hissed at the taller man.

“I’ve seen the way you look at him, you know,” Ian said conversationally, holding Ash against the wall with ease.

“Who?” Ash asked, struggling against Ian’s iron grip.

“John,” Ian said, as if it were obvious. “You’re always looking at him like you want to eat him.”

Ash froze. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he bit out harshly.

“You’re a horrible liar,” Ian commented.

“Fuck you,” Ash snarled, shoving fruitlessly at Ian’s muscled chest.

Ian didn’t even budge. “Please do,” he grinned, his eyes gleaming in a way that should have frightened Ash. But it didn’t. It thrilled him, and, if the tightening of his jeans was anything to go by, it was exciting him as well.

Ash shook his head. “No,” he said, deciding that he wasn’t going to be ruled by his downstairs brain today. That had gotten him into trouble far too often. “You’re the wrong Rider.”

Ian rolled his eyes. “I would rather that you were John, too, but let’s face it. Neither of us are ever going to have him.”

“Speak for yourself,” Ash muttered, hurt by Ian’s words, but refusing to show it. “He’s not my brother.” He paused. “You realize that that’s fucked up, don’t you?” he asked.

“Some would argue that anybody being attracted to the same sex is fucked up,” Ian shrugged. “The only reason that it bothers you at all is because it’s your precious John. And, y’know, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you’re not a nurse.” Ian smirked yet again and leaned in to bite at Ash’s neck.

“He won’t be happy with Helen forever,” Ash said, trying desperately to ignore the attention that Ian was paying to his neck. “When he needs someone who understands him, I’ll be waiting.”

“You need to stop grasping at straws,” Ian whispered against Ash’s skin. “John is decidedly straight, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.”

Ash opened his mouth to answer Ian, insist that if he gave him some time, John would realize what was right in front of him, but Ian cut him off with his lips, slipping his tongue into Ash’s mouth and kissing him roughly.

Ash kissed him back before he even fully comprehended what was happening. Then it was too late, he didn’t want to pull back. He stopped seeing Ian, and started seeing John. Kissing him. No way in hell he was stopping now.

When Ian finally pulled back, both of them were breathing hard. One of Ian’s hands slipped from Ash’s shoulders, down over his chest, his stomach, until it came to rest on the zipper of Ash’s jeans. Ian slowly pulled the zipper down, one millimeter at a time. Ash moaned at the sensations it was causing on his almost painfully hard cock.

“I’ll be yours if you’ll be mine,” Ian whispered against Ash’s mouth.

Ash hesitated, and was about to refuse. How could he do this with Ian? That would be unfair to John. Then, once he thought about it, he knew that this would never happen with John. So why not? It might be Ian, but Ash had a fairly good imagination.

Ian slipped his hands into Ash’s pants, sliding past his boxers to brush his fingers against Ash’s skin. And Ash nodded quickly, his own hands slipping down to Ian’s belt.

---

The next time Ian and Ash saw each other, Ash was up at the altar, standing next to John, and waiting for Helen to make her slow way down the aisle.

Ash looked like he was barely restraining himself from knocking out the priest, grabbing John, and running.

Ian felt like doing the same thing, plus knocking out Helen on his way to the altar.

Both of them managed to restrain themselves, just barely, though. Both spent the entire ceremony with white knuckles and glued on smiles.

At the reception, Ian caught Ash’s eye and jerked his head toward the door. Ash sent one last inconspicuous look towards John that managed to be mournful, lusty, and loving all at once.

Ash waited for a few minutes, then followed Ian out of the door.

He found the other man leaning against Ash’s car. His arms were crossed, and Ash could tell from a fair distance back that Ian was very, very tense.

Ash smirked slightly. He could definitely help him loosen up some.

Ash reached Ian and opened the back door of the car, wordlessly gesturing for Ian to climb in.

He followed Ian into the car, unbuttoning his shirt as he went, and reflecting on his brilliant foresight in choosing a nice, large car over a small one.

Both of them imagined that it was John that they were kissing, touching, caressing. And both imagined that it was John kissing them, that it was John’s hands running all over each other’s bodies.

And when they came, it was with John’s name on both of their lips. For a little while, John was theirs, not Helen’s, or anybody else’s.

Eventually, though, they had to return to reality. With just the two of them, they could pretend all they wanted, but seeing John happily making the rounds, greeting the guests with his new wife at his side was too real to imagine away.

---

They didn’t see each other for a long time after the wedding.

The next time, Ash showed up at Ian’s apartment. Ian opened his mouth to ask how Ash had gotten the address, but the other man cut him off with a gruff, “He’s going deep-cover.”

Ian felt his entire world shake. He’d known that John did high-risk missions, but deep-cover was deep-cover, and it was the worst thing that he could imagine his brother doing.

Ian stepped back and wordlessly let Ash in.

---

After John went deep-cover, neither Ian nor Ash saw him except for maybe an hour or two sometimes when he got leave to visit home and Helen.

Ian and Ash saw each other often, though. One of them would go to the other’s apartment at least once or twice a month, sometimes more.

It was the only time that they could see John, so neither of them protested or called it quits.

---

It had been a few years since John had begun with Scorpia. Ian went to see Ash for their monthly rendezvous. When Ash answered the door, he was walking awkwardly, and Ian could see the outline of the thick bandages through his shirt.

“What happened?” he asked quietly.

Ash shrugged, then winced slightly at the movement. “I was assigned to get John out of Scorpia.”

“He’s out?” Ian asked intently. “I haven’t seen him yet.”

“He’s technically dead, so he can’t exactly be seen strutting around London,” Ash replied.

“‘Technically dead’?” Ian repeated, more than a little surprised.

Ash explained about the bridge exchange, and the double-cross.

When he finished, there was a rather tense silence. Finally, Ash broke the silence. “I can’t do anything tonight,” he said awkwardly, gesturing towards his stomach and the bandages.

“I guessed as much,” Ian replied neutrally.

Ash nodded. He’d expected for Ian to just walk out of the door, but he didn’t. He just stood there and continued to stare at Ash.

Eventually, Ash just shuffled awkwardly off into his den and flicked on the telly. He jumped with surprise when he felt the sofa dip next to him. He hadn’t even heard Ian approaching.

There was a careful distance between them, because, honestly, what were they supposed to do? It was purely physical between them, and they even replaced each other’s faces with that of another man’s.

So what were they supposed to do when one of them was too incapacitated for sex?

That question was answered a few hours of bad television later, as the two men relaxed and curled up against each other, watching the telly with their own private Johns.

---

Ian had heard that Ash wasn’t taking his demotion well, but he was more than a little surprised to open the door of his apartment and find as standing there with a look on his face that was somewhere between shock, anger, and anguish.

“Did you hear yet?” Ash gasped out, pushing his way past Ian into the small apartment.

“Hear what?” Ian asked warily.

“About John,” Ash replied shakily. “He’s dead.”

“How?” Ian whispered after a few moments.

“Bomb. He and Helen both.”

“Oh, god,” Ian felt the anguish welling up inside of him, but he couldn’t yet quite grasp exactly what Ash was saying. “Who was it?” Ian demanded, pacing. “What bastard killed my John?”

Ash didn’t reply.

Ian turned to look at him. The agony on the other man’s face was acute. So was the guilt.

“You killed him,” Ian said slowly, quietly. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. But Ash answered anyway with a nod and a choked sob.

Ian slowly and very deliberately walked over to the small desk next to the door. He pulled a gun out of the drawer, and leveled it at Ash.

Ash didn’t move or even try to stop Ian in any way.

“You killed John,” Ian said quietly, his finger tightening on the trigger. He was going to kill the bastard who had killed his John. He was going to kill the fucking bastard.

But then Ash’s dark, dark eyes lightened to a perfect, warm, laughing brown. His curly black hair straightened and became very fair.

Ian lowered his gun slowly. He had been pretending that Ash was John for so long that he could hardly discern between the two now.

Ian turned away angrily. “Get out of here,” he ground out tightly.

“What - ” Ash began, but Ian spun around again. His eyes were blazing with anger, both at Ash and at himself for failing to kill the man who had killed John.

“Get out of here before I fucking kill you!” he yelled at Ash.

Ash stared for a few moments before nodding once and swiftly leaving the apartment.

Ian tried to deny it, for a while, but they never saw each other again, and he knew that John was truly dead.
 
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