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A River of Midnight Stars

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"Uh, Sorey... stop. Come on, I know you're tired... and I don't have class tomorrow anyways..."

"But..." Sorey looked down at his crotch, and Mikleo felt, more than saw, the obvious reason that was bothering Sorey.

"Yeah, hard not to notice, you think?"

I wish you'd do more than just notice it, Mikleo... Sorey was about to say, and to be honest, he had almost let those words slip out of him in a desperate whine. Not that he was exactly proud of himself for being this needy. He could at least be thankful that his better self had not completely given in to his throbbing impulse.

He sighed a little too loudly, enough to make Mikleo bristle. "Can't we do something about it? Please? I promise to be good..."

Now that pretty much sounded like real agony. Sorey could only mourn how fast his better self had turned into one, embarrassing existential joke. 

Mikleo grinned. "Don't you wish I thought of saying that first?"

"Yeah? If wishes could come true by mere wishing, I would."

"Good for you," Mikleo groaned, setting pen and paper down as he gave the grocery list he has been pondering for the last ten to fifteen minutes a final look before pushing it away. He leaned back a little, almost tipping the stool but not quite, just enough to catch the scent Sorey exuded since he came out of the bath smelling every bit like fresh meadow after a light spring rain.

Even without looking, he could tell Sorey only had a pair of boxers on and a thin, cotton-blend, V-neck shirt which he loved sleeping in every night. Mikleo was the one all covered up, but he could not help feeling a little cold despite the fact that the heater was working just fine. He would have stood up to get a blanket to wrap around himself if not for Sorey's weight crashing against him from behind.    

"Really, it's been a month, love. I'm dying..."

Mikleo gave him a slight push. "Can you keep still and listen? We're going to be on the red again if we're not careful, and I'm largely to blame. Shouldn't have let you talk me into buying those books... I mean... I'll never let you talk me into it ever again."

Sorey bent over to rest his chin on Mikleo's head. "Come on, they're books, you need them. I can get by on peanut butter sandwiches for the next few months if I have to, no worries..."

"Oh, god..." Mikleo gave a helpless sigh. "Strawberry jam would be a fine alternative every now and then. I'll make sure to get some."

"Anything you wish..." Sorey whispered, trailing lips along the curve of Mikleo's nape. For some reason, the fact that Mikleo's nape hair only partially hid that smooth, white skin from view made it even more erotic for him, and he found himself grinning like a teenager again. "I bet strawberry jam would taste better when I'm licking it off your you-know-what."

Mikleo gave him an unexpected jab and got him on the rib, which caused Sorey to yelp exaggeratedly.

Mikleo was incredulous. "Hey, I swear that didn't hurt!"

"Harsh," Sorey groans with a wounded-puppy look. "You just broke my fragile heart."

"Got what you deserve, you dirty dog!" 

"Oh, the kitty's mad..." Sorey laughs heartily, familiar with the petty exchange of insults. "But seriously, let me handle the groceries. I'll take care of them first thing in the morning."

"But you have work, don't you?"

"I just have to wake up early, run to the grocery, and be back to get dressed for work. Speaking of which, I could heat the curry omelette Rose gave us for breakfast. I've tried them before so I'm sure you'd love them..."  

Mikleo scrunched up his face at that, knowing Sorey's bad habit of switching topics to distract him. "No, that's almost like killing yourself!"

"C'mon, Rose's curry isn't that bad."

"Sorey, you know what I'm talking about! I swear, I'm handling our groceries from now on. Definitely, I'm more practical than somebody around here who always ends up buying more stuff from the second hand bookstore than what we actually need for survival... you know what I mean, don't you?"

"Let me think..." Sorey pressed himself hard against Mikleo's back as he leaned from behind.

He wrapped both arms around Mikeo's svelte waist, loving the scent of Mikleo's skin, the feel of his softness, even the way strands of silver hair clung to his cheeks, framing his perfect, heart-shaped face.

This time, though, he stopped his breath, barely touching Mikleo's ear with his lips as he wound his arms tighter around Mikleo. His heart almost skipped two beats at once.

"Tell me... have you been losing weight? You haven't been skipping meals, have you?"

Sorey had to turn him around before Mikleo could hazard a decent answer from his foggy memory. "Look, I don't even recall ever gaining weight, and besides, weight issues aren't something a proper man should bring up, all right?"

That would have been cute, but Sorey knew better than to smile at his fiance's attempt to avoid the topic, something he too was guilty of just moments ago. He peered into Mikleo's face to get a better look, which was not easy to do since his fiance of barely six months was avoiding his eyes altogether.

Mikleo tried to give him a scorching glare. "Just wondering. Am I going to get arrested?"

"Hey, don't give me that!" Sorey frowned, emerald eyes almost steely. "I know we rarely have breakfast together because you have morning classes. But you're leaving the same stuff in the freezer... like you get home pretty late and sneak into bed, and you don't even bother to wake me up... I mean, I wished you would... even if it's just to watch you eat."

Mikleo knew better than to disagree. As far as he could remember, Sorey has always been a little too keen on anything that Mikleo did around him, though he was not one to comment or complain unless it was a matter of urgency.

Though it may be occasionally cute to see this worried side to him, Mikleo would never have it at Sorey's expense. He knew all too well that Sorey had more than his fair share of troubles, like juggling several jobs in one day when they really needed the money... money for the heater, some winter clothes, and his school expenses among other things that make survival a feat on its own.

The reminder was enough to make his heart twist. This was another argument he was going to lose. 

"Fine, I'm guilty as charged, but once or twice isn't all that bad! Besides, I snack a lot in school, and I make sure to pack something for lunch as well."

"Oh, yeah? Well, I'm going to pack your lunches this time!"

"You don't have to. No need to stress over it."

"Do you hate my cooking that much?"

Mikleo shook his head. "That's not it. It's just... your servings are huge... like you're feeding bears straight from hibernation!"

Sorey was adamant. "You need to eat more, and I'm going to make sure you do."

"You know I can't eat that much!"

"Oh yeah? Well, I'm doing it starting tomorrow, and there aren't any buts or ifs about it this time!"

"Listen," Mikleo sighed, careful to lower his voice a few notches as there was little to no reason to get Sorey worked up over a silly argument. "You have work, and you barely have time to prepare your own meals yourself. It wouldn't be fair to impose."

"You're not imposing if I'm insisting, all right? I hate that you're neglecting the most important part of studying. You need to eat. You need to stay healthy... Muse... Muse was sick for a long time..."

"I'm not my mom... I won't get sick like that."

Sorey gripped his arm more tightly than he would have liked or was aware of. "Muse was a lot older when she got sick... but she had never been well or healthy either... not as much as she should be. You know how much she suffered... she was in so much pain..."

"Losing weight doesn't mean being unhealthy. I have regular check-ups, all right? And the clinic would have said something if I was that sick." 

"You went? When was this?"

Mikleo bit his lip. "I was dizzy that's all... it was months ago..." he lied.

"Don't... don't ever lie about this, all right!" Sorey's face was scrunched up, and his grip tightened on Mikleo's shoulder like a vise. "You know you're going to kill me if anything happens to you..."  

Mikleo huffed. "Oh, I see, what a brilliant change of topic we're having. It's not like you're taking good care of yourself either, you know."

"I get free lunch at work," he declares, as if it explains everything. He took a deep breath, releasing Mikleo's shoulder as he tried to keep his voice from shaking.

"Sorey?" Mikleo peered into his face. "You're all red. Just punch me if it'd make you feel better. I hate seeing this side of you."

Sorey looked away, trying to find a distraction, anything, to keep himself from blurting out things he would rather keep to himself. "Mikleo, just-just give me a minute."

Mikleo idly fondled Sorey's sleeve. "I hate worrying you, all right? Let's talk about something else... I mean, how was your day? I think I haven't asked that. Just tell me anything, I'm listening."

"Well..." Sorey pondered that a bit, though it was a struggle to shake off the cold panic sitting in his gut like lead. "The owner was wondering if I could work full time like manage the cafe on days he's not available. But I haven't really given it much thought."

"Why?" Mikleo gave him a surprised look. "Wouldn't that be a lot easier for you? Hopping from place to place to keep time with different schedules is enough to kill the fainthearted. I don't know how you manage it. And don't tell me you're immune to stress."

"Having two to three part-time jobs isn't all that hard, not when I'm already so used to it."

"That's one bad habit of yours, Sorey. There are days you look unwell, but you wouldn't even consider taking a day off."

"I feel great. Missing you in bed drains me more than work."

The tease sounded off. Mikleo sighed. "Honestly? Is that what you really think of it?"

Sorey gave up, unable to keep to the subject. "I won't lie about missing you, but I'd worry about that later... I mean, you're not off the hook yet! I swear, if I have to, I'd come and get you after your classes... drag you someplace just to get you to eat."

"No kidding."

"Besides, eating out once in a while can be good... must be."

"It's unnecessary expense, and you know it."

"Or we can go home and have dinner."

"Sorey, look... if you have to juggle your schedule just to make way for me..."

"It's what I want to do, and it's my schedule to begin with. How about a homemade meal we can eat it in the car?"

"In the car, huh?" Mikleo caught the softening gaze. "As if you don't know what comes after..."

Sorey coughed. "Well, don't let me think about it. But seriously, you better start eating properly... or if you're craving for anything right now, we could go for a drive and grab something." Sorey gave him a look of concern while searching for his keys.

"At this hour? Thanks, but I'd really rather go to bed."

"Sure? Don't tell me you're wondering if I could afford it?"

"Gosh, I'm the stingy one, remember? I'm fine, really... I'm just not hungry right now." 

Sorey walked up to him and started massaging his shoulders. "I'm sorry love, didn't mean to get so upset. I'm not good at worrying... never when it comes to you."

Mikleo ruffled Sorey's hair when he knelt down to rest his head on Mikleo's lap. "You're like a mom sometimes. You take care of everything, I feel so ashamed."

Sorey grinned. "More like a dad, maybe, since you're the woman of the house, remember?" It felt good to tease after a fight, and they used to do it a lot... tickle fights, pillow fights, name it.

"So tell me me more about this job of yours, if you don't mind. Your boss must be nice enough to offer you a full-time work schedule, though you haven't been with the company that long, have you?"

"Company? Well, I'm not sure if I could call it that. But the place does serve decent lunch and dinner, and the cafe is frequented by regular customers. There's also a bar where we exclusively serve wine. It's not exactly that sophisticated or elegant, enough to scare someone with a limited budget, but it's got an old-fashioned, classic appeal to it that's relaxing and can put you in the mood. I might have to get myself a business suit if I accept the offer. Not like I'd hate wearing one either."

"Well, I'd love seeing you in a suit for a change. But... tell me more about your boss. Is he... I mean, I could imagine he must have tons of sex appeal."


"He must be one seductive charmer with a cool-sounding name and amazing family background. I'm stereotyping I know... but it's harder to imagine otherwise in that sort of set-up."   

"Well... I guess?" Although Mikleo's curiosity was nothing strange, Sorey found himself feeling unsure as to whether it was something he really needed to talk about. Lying is one thing, but having to talk about something that might just end in needless worrying on Mikleo's part is something he wanted to avoid for good reason. Not that his job is every bit as troublesome or stressful as one might think it is.

On the contrary, he felt lucky he was able to land one that was relatively easy to learn, a job where everything just seemed to fall into place.

And true enough, the owner-manager was a man of elegance and easy charm, a businessman capable of exuding pride and dignity in the way he moved and spoke. He rarely used more than a few words, but his graceful wit and shrewd sense of humor easily put people at ease.

If there was anything at all left to complain about his character, it would be nothing less than his infectious, hardworking lifestyle, his contagious enthusiasm that draws attention like a magnet. If Sorey were to be honest, even he would understand the insecurity it arouses.

With that kind of rival around, any comparison becomes a pointless exercise in humiliation.  

He wondered if Mikleo would understand. His boss incites that kind of feeling, that kind of petty fear and jealous anxiety possessive lovers are prone to. Just imagining how Mikleo would look good with the man... just imagining his boss catching Mikleo's interest and actually showing interest in Mikleo...

He could not help wondering what life would be if Mikleo had someone like that... a man with success written all over him, someone more dependable and reliable... a man with a stable, secure future instead, not a scrimping part-timer who has to squeeze in extra hours just to be able to afford little emergencies and occasional pleasures.

He knew he was not exactly the ideal man for Mikleo, but he kept that inner voice down, suppressed it with self-serving denial. Michael pointed out that bleak reality from the start, and it was the same reason Bartlow had threatened to take Mikleo away.

He knew there was always the possibility of Bartlow seducing Mikleo with every comfort he could offer, knowing too well how Sorey's financial capabilities fell short of minimum expectations.

That no less than a chancellor was carelessly obsessing over his boyfriend only added to his scoreboard of insecurities and shortcomings.

"Sorey, you're not... avoiding this conversation, are you?"

Sorey almost jumped. "You mean about him? What for?"

"You pretty much talk about Rose, Alisha, Zaveid... even that high school kid Edna who loves hanging around just to poke fun at you, you say. But you rarely talk about the head of the family... I mean... this boss of yours. What sort of man is he? He's not into guys, is he?"

"Hmm... you think I should go ahead and ask?"

"Not funny! So... is he attractive... in a physical and intellectual sort of way, maybe?" 

Sorey could only smile, though he suddenly wished he did not have secrets to keep. "Sheesh, asking that is like asking if there's anyone else like you in the whole, wide world!"

"Flattery won't get you anywhere, Sorey! You haven't even bothered to introduce me or anything!"

"Look, he's a good guy, I'll give you that. I've heard his family owns shipping lines, and his last name does sound a bit political though that's not surprising. We've talked a few times inside and outside the office, and I ran into him once or twice in the bookstore. But I could honestly say we're not particularly close. Aside from rumors I know nothing much about him, not that I should..." 

"Oh, and do you intend to get a little closer to know him more?"

Sorey laughs. "He's married, all right?" Although that was not exactly a lie, Sorey felt a twinge of guilt nonetheless.

"If it were otherwise..." Mikleo frowns.

"It wouldn't matter, even if you leave us on an island with only sharks and coconuts. I'm not into him, and he's not into me either."

"Seriously though, how does being married explain all that?"

Sorey pulled Mikleo's left hand toward him where a simple white-gold band with tiny stones of amethyst around a small diamond shone like a halo. He gave Mikleo's ring finger a kiss.

"I'm sure this does, even though we're not exactly married yet. Unless you plan on being unfaithful..."

"Me?" Mikleo honestly wondered. "Was I ever?" 

He was stopped by a hug so tight around his waist, he almost felt crushed as Sorey leaned forward, letting the weight of his upper torso rest on Mikleo for a moment. There was nothing unfamiliar in the gesture, definitely nothing Sorey has done for the very first time, but it still made Mikleo's body react as if it was new, as if the erotic feel of Sorey's heaviness smothering him with warm, undeniable affection was both unforgettably nostalgic and refreshingly exciting.

Of course, he had always known how well-toned Sorey's body really was, how lean and perfect those muscles were as they rippled above and beneath him in panting pleasure every time... every single time Sorey wrapped his arms around him during lovemaking...

"No, Mikleo, you never were. And I won't ever be either. For as long as I live and even after that, you will always have me. You know that, right?"

Mikleo really squirmed this time as Sorey lifted him up over his shoulder then stood up, carrying him like he was as light as a feather. "Sorey, gods, put me down!"

"Not gonna happen. I'll tuck you in bed and make sure you get some sleep."

"You're the one who needs it more," Mikleo sighed as Sorey put him down gently on the bed, smiling as he held onto Mikleo's arms still wrapped around his neck. He did not want Mikleo to pull out of his embrace just yet, even though the better part of him intended to keep his word and give Mikleo the rest he needed.

"Mikleo, I'd really feel better if you worry more about yourself. I'm used to working all kinds of jobs by now, it's not like I'm doing something I haven't done when I was single."

"You still are."

Sorey looked honestly confused, making Mikleo's heart squeeze even more.

"Still what?"

Mikleo tried to keep his gaze steady. "Single."

Sorey's gaze softened. "Not anymore since we met."

"Are you forgetting we're childhood friends? We didn't start dating until high school."

"Technically." Sorey kissed him on the cheek. "But it never felt like I was ever single in my life."

"You're complaining?"

"Would I ever? I've always wanted to marry you, and that has never changed, Mikleo... nothing will or ever can..."

Mikleo felt his heartbeat race like he had been running. It was like being thirteen again, when Sorey had first let slip that he had always liked Mikleo that way.

"Shut up."

Sorey smiled happily. "I was waiting for that magic word..." he groaned, parting Mikleo's lips and opening his mouth to push his tongue in.

It was a slow, deep, achingly desperate kiss that said how Sorey's body wanted more... more than just a soulful kiss drunk with love and affection.

His body was pressing against Mikleo in a tight, agonizingly yearning way, making Mikleo feel every hardening muscle that wanted him, desired him in ways that seemed impossible to ignore.

Mikleo was unaware that his right hand had managed to sneak its way from Sorey's nape to his arched back, his lower hip and thigh. He nudged Sorey's hardness with the slightest hesitation, earning a deep, aching groan from Sorey.

"Stop teasing, all right? I'm so hard it hurts."

"I can make it easy for you..." Mikleo tried to sound brave but ended that with a shuddering breath. His neck felt hot, and he could not look directly into Sorey's honest face. "I missed you too, you know..."

He smiled as he bent down to kiss Mikleo and lay next to him, pulling him into a casual hug.


"Forget what I said. My body's just being selfish, as always."

Because you don't know how much I want it too, you dork! But Mikleo steeled his thoughts.

Sorey was keeping his distance, and it was almost unnerving. He ignored the casual pat Sorey gave him on the shoulder before pulling a blanket to his chin, like he was a baby that needed to be all covered up to be warm and safe. He could not help but give Sorey an irritated frown.

"What?" Sorey asked, doing his best to be casual about it yet again, though he lacked practice and he was terrible at lying.

"Don't give me that fake look, all right? It's not like we're still high schoolers who make a big deal about kissing every now and then."

Sorey was suddenly reminded of something that happened one Christmas, about six years years ago. Whenever those things slip into his memory, he could not help but smile just reminiscing those rare moments when he really, absolutely felt happy like a child.

"I still remember that party we had just before high school... that one time I got drunk after downing Zaveid's drink by mistake all in one go. It was almost a disaster, though some parts of it was really good..." He smiled against Mikleo's cheek, sniffing and nuzzling him playfully.

"Y-yeah, I remember just how stupid that was," Mikleo stuttered, secretly reminded of that part of Sorey he found out for the first time when it happened. After all, he has never seen Sorey drunk ever again since then, so the noisy, shamelessly honest side to him only revealed itself at that time.

Until now, Mikleo had not breathed a word of it, not to Sorey ever. "Well, whatever made you so nervous as to drink all that much anyway?"

Pretending not to know felt like a lie. Mikleo looked away, trying to avoid Sorey's gaze.

Sorey felt a little stupid. Thanks to Mason, what he said and did back then gave him a pretty good reason never to forget those things. "Uh, tell you some other time?"

"How can you smile like that when you're all hot and bothered?"

"Come on, I'm always hot and bothered. If you have to give in to my every whim, you won't be able to leave this room at all."

"So I'm not allowed to think that way too?"

Sorey pulled Mikleo to him, suddenly kissing Mikleo's neck, the curve of his chin, the line of his jaw. He touched Mikleo's lips and traced the sensitive shape of it with his index finger.

"You don't know how bad it gets when I think about you. If I accept that offer I was talking about, I know it's only so I could spend more time with you on my days off at least... because it gets so hard sometimes. I mean, Mikleo... I get so needy there are days I wish we could do it every day. When it gets so bad, I even start daydreaming about it at work!"

"That sure was honest. So why are you tucking me in bed when you've been dying to have sex with me all this time?"

Sorey cringed with embarrassment, neck burning. "Hey, isn't this the best time to argue? Just so I could think of other stuff than that?"

"But that's not what you really want, is it? Besides, if you're not too tired... and you really feel like doing it..."    

Sorey felt his heart squeeze. Mikleo was wearing an expression he rarely wore so openly in front of him... an expression that says how much he wanted to comfort Sorey in every way he can, in every way he knows how... and in countless ways he had done before, making Sorey fall for him so easily...

So inevitably, like a puzzle piece that would never fit anywhere else but that special place it was made for.  

He caressed Mikleo's cheek. "Having you is already more than I deserve. If I start asking for more, I might make the gods jealous enough to want to kill me."

Mikleo caught Sorey's index finger as it traced another line, this time from his right temple to his cheek, down to his lower lip and chin. "Don't you think you're overrating me when you say that?"

Emerald eyes flickered in denial. "You're perfect... everything I've ever wanted and wished for, in all my childhood dreams and wishes. But all I could give you is this. You wouldn't have to put up with any of this if it wasn't my fault."  

Mikleo glared back at him. "Of all the things you are, it's this soft side to you I can't help hating the most. If you want me, don't regret me. I thought we were clear on that-"

"I'd never regret you, Mikleo!" Sorey finished for him, eyes shining with pained concern. "But that doesn't excuse what I did. It would be stupid if I hadn't realized by now how things would have been if I held myself back... if I didn't let us get caught that time. I got careless... and needy... and I let you get dragged into it..."

Mikleo knew right away that he had been right. Losing his inheritance and being disowned by his family after his relationship with Sorey had been discovered had bothered Sorey more than it did him. No amount of convincing, it seems, will ever change the way Sorey feels about it.

He scowled teasingly at the expression Sorey was making. "Look, how many times do I have to remind you that it was as much my fault? I couldn't wait for a better time to tell you that they meant to send me away, and maybe... maybe I was hoping it would happen the way it did... that you'd do something to stop me."

Sorey frowned. "Of course I would, but I let myself get carried away instead of thinking what else I could do to make things right."

Mikleo could never belittle those feelings, but he could not help the smile that crept into the corners of his mouth. "Sorey..."

"All I knew back then was I couldn't let you leave. I never bothered to ask about your priorities or what your family wanted for you," Sorey sighed in between breaths. "And every time you're with me, it's the same, I can't help but not be able to think of anything else but having you by my side... even if I'm not good for you."

"Shut it and kiss me, you dork."

Mikleo felt his body grow hot as Sorey lowered himself gently and slipped a hand underneath Mikleo's shirt, kissing every inch of skin showing as he lifted Mikleo's shirt with one hand and caressed his cheek with the other.

Mikleo tried not to shiver as Sorey looked up at him with beseeching eyes. "Sorey, you know I can't ever hate you. Even back then, I wanted it to happen. Maybe we did push it too far, but it's sort of funny... how we ended up in my bedroom right after that."

Sorey smiled, unable to take his eyes off Mikleo's creamy, white skin. "I know. It was my first time... and we did it until morning too."

Mikleo felt his groin react to the warmth of Sorey's swelling need against his own. "That's why we got caught."

"And no less by Michael of all people," Sorey muttered as he threw his shirt onto the floor and slipped out of his boxers. Mikleo caught his breath at the sight of Sorey's manhood and his sculptured body towering over him now as Sorey yanked Mikleo's shirt off and pulled down his pajamas. 

Mikleo tried not to be too distracted. "If it were my mom, you think the shock would have been less?"

"Muse adored me, at least." Sorey said that nonchalantly, but with an expression that was certainly nostalgic. "I miss her as much as you do... a mother I never had who always looked after both of us in every way."

Sorey's voice caught a little, but he stopped himself there, not wanting to make Mikleo any sadder than he must feel at the reminder of someone precious who had left this world... like a memory of good things and happy things doomed to remain nothing but a memory for reminiscing.

Mikleo looked away, trying his best to swallow the pain engulfing him like a sudden tide. "Nothing right has ever happened after that... nothing... except you."

It was just a momentary weakness, a vulnerability Mikleo had rarely, almost never, shown, but Sorey felt a sudden, irrepressible urge to fill the void, that yawning emptiness about to swallow Mikleo whole.

He started kissing Mikleo slowly... agonizingly slow, breathlessly yearning kisses that ached to do more but held themselves back with shivering self-control and trepidation.

But as his fingers ran down Mikleo's waist to his hip, then down that space between his thighs where he ached to touch and stroke Mikleo, Sorey paused and held Mikleo by the wrists instead, pushing them above his head and pinning them there gently.


"I promised Muse that I won't ever hurt you... that you'll have whatever you need... everything you deserved."

Mikleo saw the desperation surfacing for about three seconds before being suppressed once more. His eyes misted with a twisting ache.

"Sorey, why are you killing yourself with guilt over me when you lost more than I ever did? I took your dreams away... you had to give up your scholarship and quit the university even when you had so much potential. You're brilliant... you've worked so hard to get those recommendations anybody else would die for..."

"Stop it, all right? It's not like my alma mater's gonna run away and disappear. I just have other priorities at the moment."

"You could lose your one and only chance, and you know it! But I could always have my grant back. I mean, Michael can't take away everything even if he says he can. His empty threats don't mean a thing."

Sorey took Mikleo's mouth with a savage kiss, biting his lower lip and the lobes of his ears with desperate urgency. Memories came to him of that conversation he had with Michael that shocked him more than anything, to the point he could not bring himself to let Mikleo know of it.

He pulled out of Mikleo's embrace for one flickering moment just to let him know how resolved he is.

"Look, I love Muse, but I can't forgive Michael. That's why I promise to do everything I can so you don't have to depend on him or on anyone else for anything. 'Cause it hurts so bad, when there are things I couldn't give you... things that you deserve... in every way."

"Sorey, you got it all wrong!" Mikleo shook his head. "For a moment, have you ever thought about what you want? You work six days a week, you take two to three jobs every chance you get, you're spreading yourself thin, and you worry if I have everything I need? Did you even stop to think where you would be right now if you didn't have me to look after?"

Sorey's eyes glazed over. "I just can't imagine a world without you. Is that wrong for you?"

"One of these days you're gonna realize what I put you through, and you'll hate me for everything you had to give up for me..."

"Nothing I ever did could make me hate you 'cause I wouldn't have done it if it felt wrong to begin with. Besides, I didn't give up anything, I'm just putting them on hold is all."

"Even if that's true, I don't think I could repay you. Even if I live my life a million times over, I'd still owe you."

Sorey kissed him softly, tenderly. "Loving me a little every day is already a lot."

"Don't make me cry..."

"My bad, I was actually doing my best to make you smile. C'mon, cheer up, stop thinking I was such a loser for choosing you."

"What a creep, you're such an idiot, do you know that?" Mikleo had tears in his eyes, and he wiped them away angrily. "I swear, you're going to have to let me do something for you to even things out, and you can't take no for an answer."   

"Only if you really want to. Except for one thing."

Mikleo's eyes widened in surprise as Sorey fondly caressed his cheek then lowered his hip onto Mikleo's groin.

"In bed, I want to be on equal terms with you, love. Forget everything about who owes who because I never think about those things anyway. It would hurt me if you did... and it would kill me if you do things for me for any other reason than what your heart really wants."

"You're a dork like always..." Mikleo groaned in Sorey's ear as he felt Sorey's throbbing need nudge his thigh as if begging to be let in.

"You can say what you want, but I'd always want you. Every single moment of every single day of your waking life from hereon. That's more demanding than you'll ever be."

"How mean, just when I'm willing to bargain... like starting today I'm free of charge when you want to shower together... or if you want some service..."

"Service, huh? Are you sure? Like nothing in fine print I should know?" Sorey laughed a little, muffling Mikleo's reply with kisses that included teeth and tongue playfully nibbling, licking and sucking everything into a sweet bruise. "As if I'd let you anyway..."

Mikleo stroked Sorey, feeling his enormous shaft tremble so eagerly in his hand. "It's so huge I want to put this in my mouth to taste, just once."

Sorey shivered when Mikleo said that, his muffled groan arousing Mikleo as he quickened his strokes.

"Don't force yourself, though. You've never done it before, and I wouldn't want to make you cry because I let you do something weird or disgusting... or something you're not quite ready for."

"It's not disgusting. Maybe weird, but everything about you is just you. I love you too, Sorey..."

Sorey quivered as Mikleo's smile took him. "Careful, I might get used to this." 

"I don't mind. But you have to earn it." It was his turn to smile at the tease as Mikleo slowly adjusted his position, letting Sorey switch places with him as he rolled on top of Sorey and lowered himself.

Sorey's hardness stood as straight as a rod, thick and almost dripping with moist heat.

"I just want to lick it. Is that all right?"

Sorey throbbed at the question. "Seriously, just feeling your breath down there is enough to make me lose it."

Mikleo put his lips on the side of it, feeling the veins tickle the tip of his tongue. "So hot, so sticky... I didn't know it tastes like this."

Sorey trembled. "Stop teasing, I'm controlling myself right now. I don't want to get your face all dirty... oh god... oh god Mikleo, that felt good!"

Mikleo swirled his tongue a bit more playfully around the tip then down the length of the shaft to the base. Sorey smelled nice too. "Your scent is stronger here..."

"Hearing about it only makes me miss that part of you too. Wanna switch places with me?"

"But I'm not done yet..." Mikleo tried to put Sorey's cock in his mouth, but the size was too much for him, making him barely cover the entire tip. He sucked on it though, hoping he was doing it right the way Sorey knew how. Just imagining Sorey doing this to him was enough to make him come. He wanted nothing more than to make Sorey feel the same way...

Sorey finally pulled Mikleo up and pushed him down the bed, putting his weight on that light, svelte figure as gently as he could, earning a deep, yearning moan from Mikleo as their needs met. This time, he kissed Mikleo's mouth hungrily, licking his lips as his hand slid between Mikleo's legs to stroke him. When Mikleo's nails dug into his skin, and he gave a whimpering moan that told Sorey how much he wanted Sorey inside of him right now, he pushed Mikleo's legs apart, hooking one thigh over his shoulder.

Mikleo's eyes drooped with a heavy, undeniable yearning as Sorey's languid, emerald gaze spoke to him wordlessly, begging to be allowed the sheer pleasure of claiming him to his heart's content.

When he nodded, Sorey let his fingers enter first, moistening the tight, throbbing hole that swallowed him eagerly, wetly, enough to make his cock swell into a massive pain as he imagined what it would feel to have his manhood plunge into that tightness like it belonged there and nowhere else. His other hand, meanwhile, continued to stroke Mikleo fluidly, up and down, gently at first, then going faster and faster as Mikleo melted against him, arching his body to meet his hot, hard thrusts.

Sorey could only do so much with foreplay... his body ached and throbbed and it was too painful to bear. He held his cock and pushed his weight down Mikleo, sinking his hot, hard shaft down to the hilt. He could not keep himself from crying out Mikleo's name as the heat gave way to his thrusts and tightened all around him.

He bent down to kiss away Mikleo's soft whimpers against the pillow. "I love you..."

Mikleo craned his neck to kiss that soft mouth that brushed against his nape, his temple, places that burned and tickled as he lavished attention on them.

Sorey felt his manhood throb with a telling ache. "I'm at my limit, love... can I?"

Mikleo moaned. "I love you. But you already know that, right?" 

"Maybe?" Sorey bantered a little, grunting as every inch of his body, his desire, begged to be relieved. Even his thoughts quivered with a familiar yearning he could never deny even back then, back when he thought he could keep his feelings to himself and leave Mikleo alone.

I'm sorry... I don't know if you can forgive this selfish person for falling in love with you and not letting you go.

I just hope you won't regret me. Because there's nothing I'd regret ever for as long as we can be together...

With that, Sorey shuddered as he plunged himself ever so deeply, more deeply than his rapid thrusts ever could.   

Mikleo grabbed his arm for support, his body rippling with ecstasy as he felt Sorey's length shudder within him. Sorey had been holding himself back for the longest time, and all that yearning made him tunnel deeper, harder and faster with stuttering grunts and cries of pleasure.

Finally, he thrust into that hidden place with a deep, whimpering moan that spoke whole volumes of the intensity of his want. Panting, Mikleo twisted and cried out Sorey's name as he arched into an ecstasy of absolute surrender.

"You know how much I love you, don't you?" Sorey breathed out in the middle of his rising climax, chasing his breath. "I can never love anyone but you... until we're old and grey and about to leave this world."

Mikleo reached up to touch Sorey's face. "Sheesh, I hope you're aware how scary that sounds when you say it."

Sorey kissed his fingertips. Then he pulled out and started for the drawer. 

Mikleo stopped his hand with a quiver. "You don't... have to use that. I want to feel you inside me... just as you are. It's all right."

Sorey's eyes widened. "We haven't done it that way since the first time... are you sure?"

Mikleo rolled onto his stomach and pushed his hips up. "Make me feel good, Sorey..." 

Sorey leaned onto him, hands firmly latching onto his waist as his widened eyes shimmered with intense devotion. "Don't worry love, I will... I promise... and I love you so much..."

That night, Mikleo could not tell how many times he felt Sorey's overflowing desire within him fill him up and fulfill everything he might have wished to be right in the world.

For Sorey it felt more than a miracle and all the secret wishes he could ever pray for... more than all the light of those stars shining in some corner of the universe like souls aflame looking for a place to heal and a place to be born again.