Not as lighthearted as I thought it would be, but....well.
Bassanio/Gratiano, Antonio/Bassanio implied.
An Infinite Deal Of Nothing
The evening drew out, a haze of wine and smoke from torches, smoke from fires, so that everywhere he looked, Gratiano's eyes stung.
He was drunk enough to long for easy pleasure, too drunk to look anywhere but at Bassanio, mask pushed up off his face in the heat, grinning at some joke into his wine cup.
He hadn't laughed like that when they saw Antonio, no, no, no flippancy for the merchant, but a long sad look, as though he saw some doom in those tired eyes. Gratiano didn't believe in doom, didn't believe in anything but his own laughter for permeability, jesting words for a cloak, loving words for a jest.
Bassanio in his bed for now and a wife some day for to change the sheets, an infinite deal of nothing, and he'd be content.
Bassanio came to his bed for pleasure, as he knew would happen, as happened always and always, part of the impermeability, came there with a drunken laughing joy that would inspire love in some woman (some man) if anyone saw beyond the jests some day, saw and longed and captured
(your eyes were so sad, merchant Antonio, so very sad)
and knew they could hold as one holds sand, hold to let go, hold to let slip away, hold for one moment and be glad of it, relish it, drink it down like the best of Rome's wine, every vanishing taste a better draught than the longest drink of spring water.
"What is it?" Bassanio murmured into the dark.
"I've just thought of something."
"Not before time," he grunted, and rolled towards Gratiano, who had little room in his mind for anything else after that, beyond the touches of fingers and the slaking of that night-thirst.
"You'll never get up in the morning," he warned.
"I shall be brave," Bassanio whispered, "and do my best."
(so sad, merchant Antonio, so very sad)
(give you joy, Bassanio)
And with one relinquishment, that of pleasure, came the rest, of need and thirst and joy and - in the end - of nothing.
(It wearies me, too.)
He slept, thinking of the sad eyes, and thought, in the dawn light, when his head throbbed and Bassanio moved beside him, that he had heard a voice in his dreams -
Say that you loved me....
(so sad, merchant Antonio.)