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Friday, July 23rd, 2010 11:47 am
Title: Make it Work
Author: [livejournal.com profile] loveslashangst
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] ophymirage
Fandoms: RPF “Project Runway”
Pairings: Tim Gunn/high fashion, Tim Gunn/Seth Aaron Henderson
Kinks: Written for the kink_bingo prompt “cross-dressing”. Rated R for mature content, language, sexually-suggestive behaviour, slashy moments, and general UST. This one’s more nice than naughty.
Summary: Tim Gunn loves fashion. I mean REALLY loves fashion. Seth Aaron finds out and proposes a fashion challenge of his own. Can Tim walk the walk?

Author Notes: I usually don’t write RPFs, but my beloved Tim Gunn is so deliciously larger than life, and I love just about everything Seth Aaron makes. This is a pure crack!fic, and I would never intend any insult to the men themselves, both of whom I adore. Inspired in part by this suit, which is my favourite of Seth Aaron’s collection: http://images.nymag.com/fashion/fashionshows/2010/fall/main/newyork/womenrunway/projectrunwaysethaaron/images/2.jpg
Beta Notes: Project Runway and especially Tim Gunn make little red hearts pop out of my head, like a Tex Avery cartoon. While the Kitty and I have had discussions about the Seth Aaron collection's merits :D, there's no denying he has a marked and very individual design style, and the designer himself is CUTE as the DICKENS. And oh lord, don't they look elegant and sexy and HOT together...

Victory has mellowed from the flood of emotion earlier this evening to a quiet pulse of elation in the back of Seth Aaron’s mind. He’s already sent his wife and kids home ahead of him. Though it’s been incredible to have his son and daughter present for what is arguably one of the greatest nights of his life, the kids need to get some sleep before “late tonight” becomes “early tomorrow.”

At least, that’s what he tells himself. He tells his wife that he wants to be sure every item in the collection is packed away just right, which is true. He tells the other designers he’ll be along to the after-party in a minute, which is a lie.

Pacing himself is something Seth Aaron’s very good at. Half his victory came from just being able to out-plan and outwork everyone else. He’s been working his ass off for months to make clothes he loves. It’s been crazy and stressful and more than a little insane. But now he can let some of that energy burn down. Now is the time for silence. For reflection. For solitude.

…For finding Tim Gunn himself, fondling the houndstooth suit in an equally private moment. Tim has the garment half-peeled out of its protective garment bag, and strokes it with the guilty pleasure of a man copping a feel.

He watches Tim’s sensitive fingers drift. Play along the seams. Tease the leather facings. Tim is murmuring something under his breath, a man intent and enraptured.

He smiles. Clears his throat softly. “Wanna try it on?”

Tim freezes, too much the gentleman to jerk his hands away. Instead, he leisurely tucks the suit back into its bag and zips it closed with the air of a man securing a treasure. “Seth Aaron,” he says, “even if I thought for a minute you were serious, this suit is cut for a five-foot ten woman who wears a size two.” Tim glares affectionately over the rims of his glasses. “I am not splitting every seam of this gorgeous piece on a whim.”

“I know.” He holds a hand out for the garment bag. “I’ll tailor it for you.”

Tim looks as horrified as if he’d suggested re-tailoring Marilyn Monroe’s white halter dress. “You’ll ruin it.”

“I’ll tailor it,” he corrects.

“It’s part of your collection.” But Tim’s fidgeting with the upper corner of the garment bag.

He taps his own head. “I have it all up here. I’ll make a new one tomorrow.” He holds out his hand again. “I’ll tailor it. For you, this time.”

With equal parts reluctance and anticipation, Tim surrenders the garment bag.

Grinning, he gets to work. The trousers are a piece of cake -- just rip a few seams and they’ll be ready for modifications. His brain has already begun the task of re-configuring the pieces. “This was my favourite one.”

“Of the collection, you mean?” Tim, nods, trying not to hover. “The lines on it are just stunning.”

“Thanks.” He drapes the stripped-open trousers over a handy dummy. Digs in his supplies for a tape measure.

Tim bites his lower lip, a slight flush on his elegant cheeks. Strips off his jacket, preparing to be measured.

It’s an odd moment, made odder when he notices he’s on one knee before the older man. Neither of them is crass enough to make the obvious Freudian comment. Tim touches Seth’s shoulder gently. “When you’re ready.”

Tim stands very still as Seth loops the tape around his waist. Pulls it taut. Memorizes the figure. Slides the tape down, loosening it enough to accommodate Tim’s slender hips. Another figure. Outside of hip to floor, first on the left, then the right. Knee. Ankle. Thigh, and now both of them are blushing a little, though Tim seems as determined as he to keep this strictly professional.

“You usually go for darker suits,” Seth says, bracing himself for the inseam measure.

Tim is of course courteous enough to stand with legs slightly spread to allow him easy access. The measurement, right and left, has to be exact -- the whole design of the suit hinges on form-fitting tailoring, and the lines won’t work unless he can give Tim the illusion of feminine curves. He commits the final figure to memory and returns to his kit.

“Well,” Tim says. It takes Seth a minute to realize this is in answer to his comment. “I’m so pale,” Tim continues, “that I didn’t figure this one would suit my coloring, but I just couldn’t resist the fit, and the material you chose is simply marvelous.”

He retrieves the remnants from his kit. Tosses the remaining fabric so it unfolds onto the table. “I was hoping you’d like it.” He begins to match grain and pattern. The calculations for the new panels come easily to mind. He’ll want to preserve the flare at the feet, along with the rounded shapes and bias-cut styling of the jacket.

Tim stares at the yardage, surprised and pleased. “Tell me you do not have enough to re-size.”

He slices neatly to produce the right shapes. “I always overbuy.”

Tim, one arm folded, flutters the other hand. If Seth didn’t know him better, he’d swear the other man was slightly aroused. “You think of everything.”

He smiles, warming at the praise. A quick trip to the sewing machines and the newly-retailored trousers are ready. He hands them to Tim, who takes them carefully, inspecting the edits to their design.

Now for the jacket. Seth snatches up his tape measure again:

Chest. (Puts him nose to nose with Tim. Both of them avoid each other’s eyes.)

Shoulders. (Smooth muscle beneath that crisp linen shirt.)

Shoulder to wrist. (He has to resist the urge to stroke Tim’s hand.)

Armscye. (Careful not to tickle beneath his arm. Tim is smiling and so is he.)

Biceps. (He’s close enough to scent the light mix of cologne, personal care products, and the undertones of Tim’s natural scent. Masculine, but not overwhelming.)

Elbow. (He looks away to resist the urge to nuzzle Tim’s ear.)

Wrist. (Tim’s pulse point beats a swift but steady rhythm. He presses his fingers there, savoring it for a moment.)

Tim’s smile is slightly self-conscious, slightly knowing.

He wonders if Tim’s done this before, and finds the thought intriguing.

“Do you have what you need?” Tim asks.

He nods, not trusting his voice in that moment. He tries for a lighter tone. “Cravat or no cravat?”

Tim smirks, fingering the silky fabric in its bold red and black. “Do you even need to ask?”

“It will frame your face nicely,” he agrees. His hands are shaking a little as he turns back to his remnants. Two side panels should do nicely; his model was strong-shouldered and not overly busty. A bit of subtle padding and the illusion of feminine curves will be complete.

Tim is still hovering, though less agitated. He seems more expectant now and less uneasy. Both of them are smiling, and though he usually works alone, tonight Seth’s glad for the company. It’s a rare joy to be able to build something for someone who truly appreciates it on its own merits.

Pieces cut, he returns to the sewing room. Within minutes, the seams are restored, the jacket is re-assembled, and the whole suit is ready to try on.

He does one last measure, around Tim’s throat. His fingertips rasp against the grain of Tim’s neck. Tim looks at him, eyes deep. At a loss for words, he gazes back.

“By the way,” says Tim softly. “Where is your wife? And your family?”

Reluctantly, very reluctantly, he withdraws his fingers and the tape. Turns back to the cravat, which will fit beautifully with minimal adjustments. “At home,” he says. “Waiting for me.”

Tim nods. “You’re a lucky man.” He caresses the fabric of the suit again, withdrawing for a moment into his own thoughts. Then he sets the coat and trousers down carefully on the worktable, mindful not to crease or fold. Tim strips down to boxers and socks.

Seth finds a boxered Tim adorable beyond words; it makes him look both older and younger at the same time. Vulnerable in a way that full nakedness wouldn’t.

The suit is intentionally tight. Fitted. Tailored. It’s intended to modify the silhouette. Advertise the female form, both by design and the illusion of the pattern, which tilts with the curves of the jacket to draw further attention to them.

Seth drops to his knees. Gathers the legs of the trousers at a comfortable height. Tim’s hand brushes his shoulder for balance as he steps into first one leg, then the other. And though he’s sure Tim could do it himself, he slowly slides the fabric up. Up. Over his knees. Over his thighs. Tucks in the boxers. Settles the waistband into place.

Both of them are too polite to acknowledge the fullness at the front of Tim’s boxers.

He doesn’t fight Tim when those elegant hands intervene to fasten his own fly. The trousers sit just right, adding the illusion of full hips where there are only trim ones. Tim slides his hands, palms flat, down the striking black and white of his houndstooth-clad thighs. The high flush is back on his cheeks.

“They look great on you,” he says, and isn’t lying. It’s a damn fine job, even if he does say so himself. He stands. Holds the jacket out for Tim.

The older man wastes no time. Turns. Slips his hands into the arms at a nearly fevered pace, as if he’s rushing for fear of being interrupted, or having this moment taken from him. Seth settles the jacket firmly onto Tim’s shoulders, a solid reassurance that this is happening. That he wants this to happen. That he wants to give Tim this gift while he still can.

Tim looks down. “Seth Aaron… how does one fasten this lovely thing?”

He gives in to temptation. Reaches around. Hooks the hidden zipper without needing to look. The first nuzzle of the back of Tim’s neck is an accident of proximity. But as he slides the zipper slowly up, the second nuzzle is intentional, as is the light sigh, which makes the silvered hairs at the base of Tim’s skull stand on end.

He reaches the top both too soon and at just the right moment. Wife. Kids. Waiting for him at home.

Tim, sensing the mood shift, turns too. And though he’s flushed and lovely, his professional façade slides smoothly back into place. “What’s next?”

He slips the cravat over Tim’s head. There is a bit of nervous chuckling as he moves it into place. It settles into the cleft of the jacket, suggesting a bust below, and frames Tim’s face beautifully. A pair of short leather gloves and the look is finished.

Tim examines himself in the mirror, flats of his hands rubbing the thighs of the trousers and the line of the coat. “I keep forgetting how quickly you work. This is gorgeous.”

His reflection smiles over Tim’s shoulder. “Part of my trade. But we’re not done yet.”

Tim arches an eyebrow at him. “We’re not?”

He takes Tim down to the makeup room. Makeup’s not his strong suit, but he knows enough to get by. To touch the elegant coif seems like sacrilege, but he wants to mute and tone the gorgeous silver into something a bit darker. A bit of gel to slick it down. Tim’s face has a gorgeous jawline, softened slightly by the cravat. A bit of smoke around the eyes. Stronger color on the lips to emphasize their shape and suggest more fullness. Extend the line of the lashes up and out, like a hipper, punker Egyptian kohl. Tim neither comments nor objects, instead relaxing into every stroke of brush or applicator. He can scent the heat of Tim’s skin, warming with the attention.

Tim is slightly breathless by the time he’s finished. “I have to give you credit, Seth Aaron. When you do something…”

He shrugs, putting the cosmetics back into their spots. “Halfway isn’t my thing.”

“And thank God for that,” says Tim with feeling.

He brings Tim back up to the work room. As soon as his “client” sees his finished reflection, he straightens unconsciously and is suddenly statuesque. The lips pout slightly. The eyes flash, sexy and strong. The hair, darkened to hematite by the gel, suggests a vigor that defies age or gender. The being in the mirror is sure of itself. Female. Male. Best of all possible worlds. Seth snatches a pair of heeled ankle-high boots from the wall. Helps Tim slip them on. (Good thing most models’ feet are comparable in size to men’s.)

“Fantastic,” he says. “Now. Make it work.”

A moment of vulnerability as Tim looks to him in confusion. “What?”

“You heard me,” he says, jogging back to the other end of the work room. “Make it work.”

The puzzled frown melts into a smile. “You are bad,” say luscious red lips.

He’s pleasantly surprised at Tim’s balance. He’s not going to win any races, but after the first few tentative steps, he settles into a confident stride. Swings one gloved hand. Cocks the other on his hip. To his delight, Tim sashays right up to him. Nearly brushes Seth’s lips with his. Turns at the last moment. Affects an even more hip-swinging walk back to the mirror.

Seth covers how hot and bothered he is with applause and a raucous whistle.

Tim only breaks the sultry look when he reaches the mirror again. He steadies himself on the wall, grinning. “I’d completely forgotten how much fun this is.”

“It is.” A horrible, wonderful idea blooms in his brain. “Let’s have some real fun. Follow me.”

He snatches up the communal boom box and leaves the room, hoping that Tim’s curiosity will get the better of him. Sure enough, after a few minutes the measured steps that are Tim in ladies’ boots follow him.

He’s got the boom box set up at the end of the catwalk by the time Tim comes in. It’s so startling to see those calm eyes accentuated by smoky makeup and heavy eye-liner, but Seth decides that his uptown re-imagining of the Goth-punk look suits Tim.

Tim fists his hands on his hips. “And what are you up to now?”

Grinning, Seth jacks his iPod into the boom box and spins up the appropriate song. Hot Chocolate’s funky beat booms.

I believe in miracles” sings the lead. “ where you from?... You Sexy Thing!

Tim’s brows beetle in affectionate annoyance. “You know I adore you, Seth Aaron,” he says, “but I am not walking the runway to an utter cliché.”

Chuckling, he retreats to the same music he used for the runway show. “Better?”

“Much, thank you.” Tim listens for a few seconds, absorbing the beat. Puts one hand on his hip. Leaves the other free to swing. His first steps are a bit self-conscious until he finds his balance and his rhythm, then he gets into it. His stare intense, his cheeks slightly concave to make the harsh makeup all the hotter, he takes ownership of the walk and his own stride, selling the suit to the end of the runway. A pause. Twirl. Pose. Then he’s sashaying back up. They’re both laughing and relaxed by the time he reaches the stairs. Tim’s seriousness melts into self-parody, and he disappears behind the screen with the spin-flounce and heel-kick of a true drama queen.

Seth cheers and whistles for all he’s worth. Applauds as Tim pokes his head back out.

He jumps up on the catwalk. Meets Tim halfway. The hug is so natural he doesn’t think anything of it until they pull back. His hands are on Tim’s arms. Tim’s are on his. Those red-painted lips are so close he could almost…

Close. So close. He’s suddenly too hot in these clothes.

Tim’s hands tighten on his arms. His lips are parted, breathing lightly and quickly. Their hips are pressed together from the embrace. Neither of them wants to move. He can almost hear the man consider…

Please. Please. Please.

Tim moves first. Air-kisses both cheeks, breaking the tension. “I do love your work, Seth Aaron.”

“Thanks.” Suddenly, it’s him who’s self-conscious. Tim backs away, hands slowly slipping off his arms. Tim turns, walking with steady strides back to the workroom. Once Seth’s got his composure back, he follows him.

On the way, he remembers his wife and calls for a cab.

When he comes into the workroom, Tim is back in his usual masculine suit, the ghost of kohl and slightly redder than usual lips the only lingering traces of his transformation. As he pockets the phone, Tim holds out the garment bag.

He shakes his head no. “It’s yours.”

Tim’s eyes are veiled against emotion. “I couldn’t.”

He gently presses the garment bag to Tim’s chest. “You could.”

Tim shakes his head again, though his hands tighten beneath Seth’s. “I really couldn’t.”

He fixes Tim with a look, trying to communicate all his gratitude, respect, and appreciation, for this night and for all the others. “It’s mine to give.”

Tim snorts with his usual dry wit. “Well, technically it’s property of the show until you start your own line.”

He gives Tim an amused glare.

Tim sobers. “It’s too much.”

“Please.” His throat tightens a little at the thought of Tim owning something he designed. “It’s made to fit you now.”

Tim relaxes, accepting the gift. “Thank you, Seth Aaron.”

Another of those painfully long looks. It’s like there’s a chasm between them, and not a few precious inches. If he only had the courage, he’d lean forward…

But it’s Tim who reaches out with a trembling hand. Catches it at the back of his neck. Tim ducks in for a quick kiss. At least, he assumes it was meant to be a quick kiss. Once Tim’s lips brush his, he can’t let go. He leans in. Tim leans in. His lips part. The kiss deepens. Turns passionate. The garment bag slides to the floor, forgotten for the moment, and he kisses his beloved coach, mentor and “client” as he’s longed to for months.

He forgets everything. Falls into the embrace. Slides hands around Tim’s waist. Up his back. Presses every inch of his body from knees to lips. Devours Tim’s mouth. This. Yes. This. He wants this. More than this. Damn the con--

Just as he reaches for Tim’s belt, his phone buzzes. Startled, he and Tim jerk apart. Tim flicks his eyes down. Seth looks. It’s his wife. With an apologetic look to Tim, he answers.

She wants to know when he’s coming home. He assures her he’s all ready to go. She tells him she is so proud of him, and she loves him so much. The words burn guiltily in his ears, but when he tells her he loves her too, he means it.

With a sigh, he snaps the phone shut. Looks back at Tim.

With a smile that’s more sweet than bitter, Tim slings the garment bag over one shoulder, looking more casual and at ease than either of them feel.

He opens his mouth, wanting to pour out even a fraction of what Tim’s meant to him. Of how grateful he is for his mentoring, friendship and support. Of how beautiful he looked. Of how much he wishes… SOMETHING to let this man know… But it’s too much. The words can’t seem to find their way out. Instead, he smiles at Tim, hoping the older man can see at least some of it in his face.

After a moment, Tim gives the faintest of nods. A quicksilver flash of smile, then resignation. Like everything, Tim wears it well.

“Carry on,” he says.

Nodding, Seth turns and walks away.