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The sound that leaves Michael’s mouth is unlike anything Gabriel has ever heard from him. He sits back on Michael’s thighs, bringing his hands up and turning his face away to hide his smile.

“Oh my…” he murmurs, and there’s a giddiness to it that he can’t quite conceal.

Michael scrambles beneath him, and Gabriel obliges, sliding off his legs and settling onto the bed beside him to let him sit up.

His face is more flushed than Gabriel has ever seen it, but he only catches a glimpse before Michael covers it with his hands, mortified.

It’s a shame, really. Red is such a lovely color on him.

“I didn’t know you could make sounds like that, Bright Eyes,” Gabriel says, a lilt to his voice that makes Michael squeak in embarrassment beneath his fingers. It’s a struggle not to imply something more, to see just how red he’s capable of turning, to see how flustered he can get.

But Gabriel knows a thing or two about pushing buttons, and he’d rather get to see more of this than scare him off, so instead he rests his chin in his hands and coos, “how cute.”

“Gabriel, please…”

It sends a shiver down his spine, hearing Michael plead with him. He almost thinks it would be worth it, to push him a little further.

“Never mention this to anyone.”

Gabriel smiles again and it’s all teeth as he leans over his legs and takes Michael’s hands, pulling them away from his face.

“Of course not. It’ll be our little secret,” he says, lowering his voice suggestively. Michael leans away from their proximity, sputtering, and Gabriel can’t help but laugh.

“I — I’m serious, Gabriel.” He’s trying so hard to compose himself, bless his heart. There’s a ghost of his usual disapproval that doesn’t quite translate with how flustered he is, and he’s working on getting his expression back under control of that stoic mask.

“Now, now,” Gabriel scolds, ignoring him entirely, reaching out to grab his chin. “Didn’t we just go through all that trouble to help you relax? Are you really going to tense back up so quickly?”

“I—”

“If this is going to be the case with you, we’re going to need much more frequent sessions.”

“Wait—”

“Daily, I’d say,” Gabriel comments, giving him a once over.

“That’s — We don’t have time for—”

“No, you’re right. We’re quite busy. Once a week, then?”

“I don’t really think that’s nec—”

“That settles it!” Gabriel released Michael’s face to clap his hands together. “Once a week. We need to work on getting those knots out and keeping them out. Tension is terrible for your posture, you know.”

Michael flounders for a response. He’s not even sure what to say anymore, after Gabriel has steamrolled over every protest he had.

“Hesediel…” he finally says, though there’s not much else to it. He’s at a loss for articulate thoughts at the moment, but he knows he can always fall back on his bodyguard should the situation require it.

Gabriel scoffs, leaning back and waving his hand dismissively.

“If you’re that worried about it, he can come along. But I think even he would agree that you need to relax a little.”

Michael finally lets his shoulders slump a little, now that he can’t feel Gabriel’s heat radiating off of him.

“I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word,” Michael disagrees, finally feeling his cheeks cool down a little.

“Hesediel has knots in places he shouldn’t, which is probably why he’s clenched so tightly around that stick up his—”

“Gabriel!”

But when it comes to you, Bright Eyes, I think he would agree.”

Michael purses his lips, because he can’t very well argue with that. If it involved his own wellbeing, he knew that Hesediel would be all for it. Perhaps at different hands, but in support of the idea all the same.

“So?” Gabriel prompts, tilting his head. “What do you say? Once a week?”

“I still don’t believe it’s the best use of my time…”

“Oh, come on now. Ten minutes out of your busy schedule isn’t going to kill you. In fact, it might just keep you from an early grave.”

Michael hesitates, but Gabriel can tell he doesn’t have much protest left in him. He waits patiently for him to answer, already knowing he won’t be rejected.

The biggest hurdle is Michael’s firm belief that he should put Heaven before himself, but him being here now means that they’ve already overcome that. Just that little wedge in his mindset is enough for Gabriel to convince him that Heaven can’t run efficiently if its leader isn’t.

“I...I guess it couldn’t hurt.”

“Wonderful. I’m glad you’re finally seeing reason,” Gabriel smiles, and Michael wonders whether he should regret giving into him so easily.

“I’m not sure it’s ‘reason’ I’m seeing, but we’ll give it a shot,” he says, rising from his spot on the bed and rolling his shoulders back. Gabriel can tell he’s not quite as stiff now as he was when he had first crossed the threshold, and he considers that a win.

“Same time next week?”

“Well, I…” Michael catches one look at Gabriel’s finely arched brow, and sighs. “Yes, that sounds good.”

“Fantastic. See you then.”

Michael turns to walk out of the room, straightening out his robes and trying to smooth his disheveled appearance.

“Oh, and Bright Eyes?”

Michael stops, giving Gabriel his attention again.

“Feel free to work too hard. I’d like to see if we can’t pull some more of those sounds out of you.”

Michael goes red again, and all but flees from the room.

***

“Gabriel, now isn’t really the best time—”

“No time is ever going to be the best time,” Gabriel interrupts, tugging him along down the hallway. “We agreed, same time.” He looks back over his shoulder, and smiles at the alarm in Michael’s eyes.

“But—”

“Come, now, Bright Eyes. Surely you haven’t forgotten your word already?”

This, he knows, will make him complacent. And he’s right, because Michael snaps his jaw shut, his cheeks coloring with shame. Gabriel might have felt bad if his method hadn’t worked so flawlessly, and if getting Michael to do as he pleased wasn’t so satisfying.

“Of course not,” Michael finally says, even as he lets Gabriel lead him now, “but I still feel quite refreshed after last week. I don’t think this routine weekly is necessary.”

“Nonsense,” Gabriel counters dismissively, opening the door to Michael’s bedroom and urging him inside with a sweeping gesture. “Taking care of yourself is more than a one time commitment. Just because you’re minutely better than you were before last week, doesn’t mean you’re at your best.”

“...You seem to know a lot about this stuff,” Michael murmurs, turning back around to face him once they’re both inside.

“I make it a priority.” Michael’s eyebrows draw down into a stern expression, and Gabriel waves his hand at him. “I’m joking, I’m joking.”

“Your duties as Gabriel are no joke.”

“You see?” Gabriel sidles up behind him, placing his hands on his shoulders and squeezing. Michael tenses, then all but melts under the pressure of his fingers. “This is what I’m talking about. You’re too uptight.”

“Our responsibilities to Heaven are no light matter,” Michael protests, even as he lets Gabriel guide him to the end of the bed.

“Of course not,” Gabriel concedes halfheartedly, because Michael isn’t entirely of the state to argue the longer Gabriel kneads at the tension at the base of his neck. Michael lets his head fall forward, breathing deeply, and Gabriel celebrates another victory.

“This is—” He stops with a hitch of his breath when Gabriel hits a tender spot, squeezing his eyes shut. “This is different than what you did before.”

“It won’t do you any good if I only focus on one spot.” Gabriel punctuates his statement by working his fingers higher up Michael’s neck, rubbing deep circles into the muscle with his thumbs.

Michael doesn’t think he likes this quite as much, but he can’t deny how much lighter he feels as Gabriel grinds all the weight out of his shoulders. It’s like all of his responsibilities have accumulated there, and every firm press of Gabriel’s hands relieves all the little aches and pains that he’s ignored for so long.

He’s been carrying them for so long they’ve become a part of him. It’s surprising to him how much fades away with a little care, how much of the heaviness that he carries everyday isn’t supposed to be there.

It feels like Gabriel’s just begun when he pulls his hands away, and though Michael mourns the loss of them, the low whine that pulls itself from his throat is entirely involuntary.

Heat rushes to his face, but he clears his throat and straightens up. Thinking their session is through, he turns to thank Gabriel and is abruptly stopped by the barely concealed amusement on his face.

“I’m not quite done with you yet, Bright Eyes. I just thought you’d like to get a little more comfortable .” He tilts his head towards the bed, and the emphasis he places on the end of his sentence flusters Michael further.

He snaps his jaw shut and instead simply nods, spinning on his heel to sit on the edge of the bed. Gabriel clicks his tongue disapprovingly as he meets him, folding a leg up on the mattress.

He reaches for the golden collar around Michael’s neck, and Michael leans away with wide eyes. Gabriel holds his hands up in surrender.

“It’ll be easier with all of this gone,” he explains, gesturing at the fabric bunched around Michael’s shoulders and neck, a twitch to his lips. “Don’t get all stiff on me again.”

Michael visibly relaxes and Gabriel unclips the collar from around his neck, folding the material and laying it across the edge of the bed.

“I’m sorry,” Michael murmurs, clearly embarrassed for assuming the worst. Gabriel finds it endearing.

“No harm, no foul,” he assures. How cute that he should apologize for having the exact response that Gabriel’s conditioned him for for years. Riling him up is just too easy. “Now, then…”

He shifts up the bed to sit behind him and returns his hands to his shoulders. The new position allows him to provide a more thorough massage, working through the tautness with firm, deep motions.

Michael drops his head again, sighing through his nose and Gabriel feels the exact moment he relaxes under his touch, the tension draining out of him. It takes too much to get him to relax, even just for a moment, and while his devotion is admirable it’s also frustrating.

“Now doesn’t that feel nice?” Gabriel asks, and Michael doesn’t even jump at how close he suddenly is, lips at his ear. He doesn’t know if he’s disappointed or impressed with his lack of a reaction, but instead he decides that he’s quite satisfied that Michael appreciates his skill with his hands.

He doesn’t get exactly what he wants, as Michael is quiet the rest of their little session, but he considers it a win that he’s obviously becoming more comfortable.

Maybe next week he won’t have to drag him in here.

***

“Hesediel is beginning to ask questions,” Michael says as Gabriel leads him into his room.

“I’m sure he is,” Gabriel purrs, unable to keep the suggestive lilt out of his voice. Michael goes red but remains relatively unflustered, which is progress.

“I can’t keep him in the dark, but I’m not certain how to bring up what we’re… what’s going on,” he continues without missing a beat, undoing his cape and folding the material over his arm. Gabriel watches him with approval.

It’s definitely a step up.

“What’s going on?” Gabriel asks, a hand to his cheek, an eyebrow arched inquisitively.

“I — Nothi— Don’t make this into something it’s not, Gabriel.”

“It sounds like you’re the one making it into something it’s not, Bright Eyes.”

“I just don’t want him to be disappointed in me,” Michael admits, carefully laying his cape over the ottoman at the foot of the bed.

“Why in Heaven would he be disappointed in you?”

“Well… For not taking my duties as seriously as—”

Gabriel scoffs, interrupting him, and Michael looks up sharply.

“That wasn’t very polite.”

“Listen,” Gabriel says, taking up his place beside Michael, pulling him into his side with one arm around his shoulders and the other around his bicep, leading him towards the bed. “I could have sworn we’d had this exact conversation two weeks ago.”

“Yes, but—”

“As anal as that insufferable Pepto-Bismol knockoff is, we’ve already agreed he has your best interests in mind.” Michael’s brows furrow and he opens his mouth, unsure of what Gabriel was referring to, but Gabriel continues without him. “Unwinding for ten minutes once a week is in your best interests. Trust me.”

“I’m not sure that’s in my best interests,” Michael mutters, and Gabriel reels back with a dramatic gasp.

“That stings,” he says, feigning hurt and laying a hand over his heart. Michael snorts, and it’s the first time in a long time that Gabriel has heard anything like genuine amusement from him.

“What are you going to do to me today?” he asks, changing the subject abruptly. Gabriel’s lips curve, and Michael regrets his wording immediately.

“Why, whatever you’re willing to let me do, Bright Eyes,” he says coyly, and Michael colors again. It’s something Gabriel is certain he’ll never tire of, since the shade he turns compliments him so nicely.

He decides to spare him today, however, and before Michael can finish processing a suitable reply, Gabriel is sitting him on the bed.

“I thought we’d return to your back.”

Michael, in a split second, travels back to two weeks prior. He struggles not to let the mortification show on his face when he recalls his improper display, and Gabriel’s almost indecent exploitation of it.

“I — Maybe we could do the neck again?” he suggests, but Gabriel only waves it off.

“As much tension has probably accumulated on your shoulders in just one short week, I’m more concerned about how much your back has suffered in two.”

“I’m sure it’s fine, in fact, I’ve never felt better.”

“And I’m sure that you’re the worst liar I’ve ever encountered. Lay down,” Gabriel instructs, not unkindly but in a tone that Michael can’t remember ever hearing from him, one that brooks no room for argument. He’s not usually one to take orders from others, but his surprise catches him off guard and he does as told without question.

He feels Gabriel climb onto the bed with much more grace than he had, and settle over the back of his thighs.

“We’re going to try something a little different.” Michael isn’t sure what to expect, but he complies when Gabriel tells him to take a deep breath in and hold it.

Nimble fingers dance over his spine, until the heels of his hands settle low on Michael’s back.

“Release,” Gabriel says, and Michael lets the breath go, amazed by how much lighter he feels already. It can’t compare to bone deep relief when Gabriel pushes down and up the moment all the air has left his lungs and his entire lower spine cracks.

He thought he had prepared himself for this very instance, had braced against it, but he’s proven wrong the very second a moan slips unbidden past his lips. He buries his face in the comforter, feeling the heat in his face go all the way to the tips of his ears.

Gabriel shifts his hands upwards, until they settle over the middle of his back.

“Breathe in,” he says, and there’s nothing explicitly in how he says it that should set Michael off, but he has known Gabriel long enough to recognize the nuances. He’s not openly mocking him this time, and Michael thinks it’s worse this way.

He listens anyways, breathing in again, and holds it until Gabriel tells him otherwise. He curls his fingers into the comforter and exhales, and though he manages not to moan when his midback is relieved of its tension, his hum of approval is only slightly muffled in the bedsheets.

“Once more,” and Michael obeys without question as Gabriel’s hands settle between his shoulder blades. He holds the breath, the tension, the ache… and then he lets it go and it all disappears under Gabriel’s palms.

Michael moans, and finds he’s unable to even be as embarrassed about it as he should be, as limbless and light as he feels.

“Well,” Gabriel says, and Michael doesn’t quite understand why he sounds a little out of breath, “I think that went well.”

***

“You were very, very wrong,” Michael says without looking up when Gabriel approaches him.

“Oh?” he says. “About what, Bright Eyes?”

“Hesediel.”

Gabriel is silent for a moment, just to take in Michael’s behavior. He was somehow both mechanical and harried, and Gabriel doesn’t think he has ever seen him quite so wound up. He raises an eyebrow, wondering just how badly the interaction had gone that it had Michael so wound up.

He perches on the arm of the chair in front of Michael’s desk and leans forward, intrigued.

“What did you tell him?”

“I told him I was taking a bit of time for myself at the end of every week.”

Hesediel has always been a stickler for the rules, but Gabriel isn’t quite convinced that’s all it took to get him in such a state of disagreement that he would upset Michael. It was quite disgusting how much he fell over himself to ensure Michael was content and that he remained in his good graces.

“And?” he prompts, after it doesn’t appear like Michael is going to divulge anything else. Michael falters, and Gabriel arches an eyebrow once more expectantly.

“And that… and that you were… present .”

“That’s what I thought,” Gabriel says, leaning back again. “Then there’s your answer.”

“What’s my answer?” Michael asks, stopping and looking up at him in confusion.

“I know you’re all about honesty, but you have to have known that Hesediel wouldn’t approve of any scheme that involves me.”

Michael looks even more confused now, opening his mouth to ask, “scheme?” but Gabriel cuts him off again with a smile that sends a shiver down Michael’s spine, like his body is warning him that he’s suddenly entered a dangerous situation.

“He probably thinks I’m trying to seduce you.”

Michael’s eyes widen, and his cheeks flush with warmth.

“I — Seduce — That is highly inappro— How could he think —”

“Calm down,” Gabriel says, standing and walking around the desk to settle on the edge of it by Michael’s hands. Michael pushes away a little, the proximity making him even more anxious. “You can’t fault him for the assumption.” Michael takes a second to process this.

“Are… Are you trying to seduce me?”

Gabriel smiles indulgently, lifting a hand to cup Michael’s chin.

“Bright Eyes, I’ve been trying to seduce you since the moment I met you.”

The admission comes as a shock, and Michael sputters. His mouth opens and closes as he searches for something, anything to say in response. Gabriel watches with barely concealed amusement as the gears in Michael’s head turn, and he uses the hand on his chin to bring his mouth shut.

“Careful, dear, you’ll catch flies.”

“You shouldn’t make such jokes, Gabriel,” Michael finally says, taking Gabriel’s hand from his face, though the admonishment isn’t quite as strong as he would’ve liked. Gabriel’s eyes widen in surprise, but only for a moment, because the expression is gone almost as quickly as it appears and he’s laughing to himself instead.

He slips off the edge of the desk and circles around behind Michael, who turns to follow his movements.

“Relax,” Gabriel says, putting his hands on his shoulders. “I’ve got you all worked up again.”

“I don’t have the time today.” Michael tries to shrug away from him, but Gabriel tightens his hold with a squeeze to the base of his neck. Michael’s breath shudders and Gabriel tuts disapprovingly behind him.

“All that work I did, and for what?” he asks, as his fingers find all the tension spots that he had so diligently worked out two weeks ago. Michael slumps in his chair, his grip tightening around the pen he’s holding.

“Gabriel, this is really—” He breaks off with a hum, low in his throat, as Gabriel pushes his thumbs deep into the knots that Michael has already acquired again.

“I know, it’s magnificent,” Gabriel says, with no small amount of satisfaction as Michael more or less succumbs to him again.

“That’s… That’s not what I…” Michael has trouble finding the words, and eventually he stops trying, folding over his desk and letting Gabriel work all of his stress out of his muscles, his bones, the very fibers of his being.

He’s not sure when, in the course of a month, he had become quite so dependent on these weekly sessions. All he knows is that now, the weight on his shoulders becomes infinitely heavier when he has experienced what it’s like to unburden himself at the end of every week.

He finds he can’t quite refuse Gabriel anymore, doesn’t want to, even though he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he should. Hesediel had been right when he said that Gabriel was becoming an unnecessary distraction, but it’s even worse than that.

Not only is Gabriel a distraction, he’s one Michael doesn’t believe he can give up. Not now. Not yet.

The relief he feels when all his tension is gone is too intoxicating. Before, he doesn’t believe there has been a single moment in his life when he hasn’t been stiff and unyielding with a stress that made every day seem longer and every task seem harder but now…

He feels as if he can go about his duties every week renewed, and with more vigor. He wonders, briefly, if he should tell Hesediel this, if this might convince his bodyguard that this wasn’t such a terrible idea after all, but then Gabriel is pressing on a sensitive spot and every thought he possesses flies from his mind.

Belatedly, he realizes that he’s never thanked him for this service, for helping him, no matter what Gabriel’s ulterior motive for doing so might be.

The thought makes him jerk upright again, jarring the both of them, and Gabriel stops entirely when Michael turns to meet his eyes.

“What?”

“I just... Thank you. For doing this.”

Gabriel smiles, and Michael thinks this is one of the few genuinely nice moments they’ve ever had between the two of them.

“I don’t think you’d be thanking me if you knew what my intentions really are,” Gabriel says, with a teasing lilt to his voice and his lips, and Michael deflates.

He’d spoken too soon.

“That’s enough for today, thank you,” Michael says, pulling Gabriel’s hands off of him.

“Aww, c’mon, don’t be like that, Bright Eyes~”

***

Michael finds himself looking forward to the end of the week, and when it finally arrives he’s so wrought with tension that Gabriel’s presence makes him weak with relief. He struggles not to show it, but when Gabriel meets his eyes in passing Michael knows the jig is already up.

He’s known Gabriel far too long to not recognize the knowing glint in his eyes.

“What,” he starts with a quirk to his lips that suggests Michael is treading dangerous waters, “no objections today?”

“We waste more time with protests, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to just commence with it, don’t you think?” Michael asks, suddenly the voice of reason as he turns on his heel to stalk back in the direction of his room. He knows Gabriel is right behind him, and he doesn’t dare look back at his expression.

“You’re absolutely right,” Gabriel says amenably, even though he’s more than pleased with the shift in Michael’s demeanor. He’s ecstatic by the shift he’s seen in him in little over a month, and he wonders just how far Michael is willing to let him push.

He’s giddy with the possibilities.

Michael pushes the door open to his bedroom, sweeping inside and holding it ajar for Gabriel to come in afterwards. Gabriel appraises him, from head to toe, impressed when Michael doesn’t even squirm under his gaze.

“I have to say, I’m a fan of your change of tune,” he purrs, as Michael peeks out into the hall then closes the door behind them.

“I’ve just realized it’s far easier to cease arguing with you on matters I know I won’t win.”

When he turns back around, he’s taken aback by how close Gabriel is and stumbles. Gabriel is watching him intently, and touches his index finger to the point of Michael’s chin, tilting his head up to meet his eyes.

“If only you had learned that a little sooner, we could’ve saved so much time,” he laments, and Michael finally begins to squirm a little. He holds his gaze but his cheeks warm and Gabriel finds it a truly mesmerizing shade on him.

“I apologize for taking so long,” Michael says, and Gabriel tilts his head.

“I guess you’ll just have to make it up to me, Bright Eyes.”

Michael is at a loss for words the longer Gabriel stands so close to him, his finger tucked under his chin, but he manages to get out an “of course” before he can’t find the words anymore.

Gabriel considers him for a moment, takes in the way Michael holds his gaze and his breath, despite being clearly flustered. While he loves the easily worked up version of Michael, he thinks he actually prefers this one who is willing to face him head on.

He’s always loved a challenge.

“Will you let me try something?” he asks, and Michael’s expression opens up in surprise. Gabriel has never asked for consent, for anything he’s done so far, so he wonders if he should be worried about what’s to come.

But Gabriel’s proved something to him in the past few weeks. He’s not entirely sure what he’s proved, but Michael feels more comfortable around him now than he has since he’s met him. Michael doesn’t know if he can wholeheartedly trust Gabriel, with all of his unspoken words and half truths and riddles, but he does trust himself in Gabriel’s hands.

“If you think it will help,” he says, and there’s a catch to his voice. Gabriel smiles and Michael feels like he’s signed a contract without reading the fine print.

“We can certainly try, can’t we?” Gabriel asks in nothing more than a whisper. “Close your eyes.”

Michael complies immediately, his eyes slipping closed though his back is straight and his shoulders are stiff. Gabriel wonders how much it will take to get him to melt.

He watches Michael’s face for a moment more, because he wants to remember this, whether for sentimental value or not, he’s unsure. That’s all the time he takes, because as much as he likes watching Michael squirm, he’s more intent on seeing another reaction of his.

He leans down until he’s only on a breath away. He can see Michael’s eyes fluttering beneath his eyelids, can see the unsteady rise and fall of his chest. He can see how Michael’s lips part and he exhales shakily.

“Gabr—?” he begins, wondering what he’s still waiting for, when Gabriel closes that last little bit of distance between them. Michael gasps against his mouth, though he can hardly claim to be surprised when Gabriel’s intentions had been so transparent.

Gabriel pulls away, but only enough to give Michael the break he needs to process it.

“Is this okay?” he asks, and there’s a lilt to his voice but for once his eyes aren’t dancing with mirth. He’s serious, and Michael nods breathlessly.

“Yes, I — I think so.”

Gabriel takes that as an invitation, and before Michael’s even finished the sentence he’s taking his lips again. He relaxes, and Gabriel removes his hand from beneath his chin to cup the back of his neck, tilting his head back further.

Michael sinks into his embrace, and Gabriel feels the exact moment that he just lets go. Michael clutches at the front of Gabriel’s cape, and Gabriel teases his lips apart with his tongue.

He had planned on going slow, but Michael is so responsive already and he wonders again how far he can push his luck.

Michael moans when Gabriel first tastes him, and while Gabriel’s been a fan of that sound since he first heard it, there’s something much more satisfying about it when he can feel it muffled against his mouth.

Gabriel backs him into the door while wrapping his free hand around his waist, both pinning him to the wood and pulling him closer. Michael mirrors the sentiment in the way his fists tighten in Gabriel’s cape.

Gabriel can feel the heat from Michael’s cheeks on his own and he’s never been desperate in his life but he thinks this is a special case because he wants to feel more from him. He pulls Michael’s bottom lip between his teeth and nibbles, and Michael moans again, more wantonly than before.

He breaks away with a gasp, clearly embarrassed, but Gabriel only flexes his fingers around the back of his neck.

“Is this okay?” he asks, and this time there’s more of the teasing Gabriel that Michael recognizes but there’s a certain intensity to him that is wholly foreign. Michael nods, and Gabriel tips his head back to kiss him again. It’s much more chaste than the deep, tasting kiss he’d just given him, though Michael’s not sure if chaste is the right word to describe anything Gabriel’s ever done.

When he pulls back this time, he’s got the glint in his eyes that Michael abhors, because he knows that whatever it is will likely end in him agreeing, despite any misgivings he may have about what he’s about to ask.

“Can I show you more?”

More. It’s such a loaded word. What does more imply? Michael has never agreed to something without understanding in no uncertain terms exactly what the circumstances were. He’s always read through something thoroughly and understood the finer points completely before making a decision.

Lately, though, it seems as if he’s giving into Gabriel more and more easily.

When he takes too long to answer, Gabriel quirks an eyebrow at him and Michael knows that he already knows he’s going to agree.

“Do you trust me?” Gabriel asks, just for fun, because it’s a cliche and he loves it.

“Not in the slightest,” Michael answers without missing a beat. It’s a joke that Gabriel is impressed with. Every part of Michael is open and willing to try whatever is stewing in Gabriel’s head, and it’s a new side of him that Gabriel is proud to say he brought out of him.

Gabriel grins and reaches down to take Michael’s hand, guiding him to the bed.

He pushes him down onto the edge, and braces himself on either side to kiss him again. Michael tilts his head up of his own accord, and Gabriel reaches up, unclasping the cape at the base of his throat and letting it fall open.

“Is… is this going to have the same effect as the massages?” Michael asks on a breath, in between the insistent press of Gabriel’s mouth.

He laughs in response, pulling away to look at him.

“Bright Eyes, it’s going to have a much better effect, that much I can promise you.”

“It only takes a massage to get you to guarantee me something?”

“This is much more thorough than what I usually do.”

“What is it?”

“Patience is a virtue.”

“I believe you are, in fact, the least virtuous archangel I have ever met.”

Gabriel laughs again, and Michael does, too, his eyes crinkling around the corners. It’s been a long time since he was able to have this kind of back and forth with someone.

“Allow me to show you just how much virtue I lack, then,” Gabriel says, and Michael flushes, but he remains confident in his decision to follow Gabriel’s lead.

Even with that conviction, he doesn’t expect the hand on the most intimate part of his body, however, and he jolts with a gasp when Gabriel’s fingers brush against it.

“O-Oh,” he says, his voice thin. “I — I hadn’t realized that you meant…”

“Oh, yes,” Gabriel purred. “Don’t think too hard about it. Just enjoy.”

Michael opens his mouth to speak again, but not even he’s sure what he wants to say. He doesn’t get the chance to, either way, because by the time he composes himself enough to form a coherent thought Gabriel is already reaching into his uniform.

The warm brush of Gabriel’s hand is almost too much for him, and his back arches into the touch without his consent. Gabriel spends a minute teasing him, stroking along the shaft, and Michael’s head tips back against the sheets, his brows drawn together in pleasure.

Gabriel thought to tease him, initially, but watching him squirm has proven to be too much of a temptation. He pulls his hand back with the intention of stripping him, but the whine that leaves Michael’s throat stops him.

It’s quite different than the one he’d heard when he’d massaged his neck, throatier and with a more obvious desperation. Frankly, it’s music to Gabriel’s ears.

He makes it his personal goal to pull as many of those out of him as possible.

“Easy there, Bright Eyes,” Gabriel scolds teasingly. “I wanted you to let go but not quite yet. Let’s get to the main event first.”

Michael blinks hazy eyes at him, not understanding. Gabriel takes it in stride, shimmying the bottoms off of him and pushing his thighs apart until there’s a gap he can settle comfortably between.

“What are you—“ Michael begins, trying to sit up on his elbows, but Gabriel is apparently keen to never let him complete a sentence. He breaks off with a gasp at the touch of Gabriel’s tongue, stars bursting behind his eyes.

His arms give out and he crashes back onto the mattress, and Gabriel uses his disorientation against him. His fingers curl into the flesh of his thighs, pushing them further apart and keeping him still as he takes him into his mouth. Michael moans, grappling at the sheets, and Gabriel has never appreciated a view more than Heaven’s leader writhing beneath him.

“I’m not,” Michael tries, pauses, and starts again after another moan, “I think that this — ahh ~”

He loses his train of thought when Gabriel runs the flat of his tongue along him, punctuating his rise with a suck on the head. Michael’s knuckles go white with his grip on the sheets.

Truly, it doesn’t take much. Michael’s thighs are trembling before long and Gabriel goes down on him with renewed vigor when he notices how quickly he’s spiraling towards his end.

He turns his attention to the sensitive head, sucking and swirling his tongue around the tip, and Michael shatters. His back arches off the bed and Gabriel has to tighten his grip to keep his hips pinned down, to let him ride out his orgasm.

He wishes he could frame the sight of Michael now.

But there’s white bursting behind Michael’s eyes and he can’t catch his breath and there are sparks shooting through every last nerve ending he possesses. When they fade all that’s left is a boneless, deep satisfaction that he’s never known in his entire life.

Gabriel sits back, letting Michael take a moment to compose himself and swiping at the corner of his mouth to make sure there’s no evidence of their activities.

He barely gives him enough time to catch his breath before he’s smirking and leaning forward.

“So what was that? You don’t think what?” he asks, a hand to his cheek, wearing that smug expression that Michael is more than well acquainted with.

Michael blushes bright red and sits up to adjust himself.

“I just — I was going to say that it had the opposite of the desired effect, but I guess patience is a virtue,” he says, not meeting his eyes. “Good things come to those who wait.”

“Yes, you certainly did come,” Gabriel says with that cheeky tone, and Michaels eyes snap to his.

“Gabriel!”

Gabriel laughs, sliding off the bed and helping Michael to his feet. Michael hesitates, before looking up at him.

There’s a lot of things he could say to Gabriel right now, but instead he settles on a simple, “thank you.”

“Anytime, Bright Eyes,” Gabriel says. Then, with a wink, “really. Any time.”

“Gabriel, please.”

“With pleasure.”

Gabriel!